Monday, January 16, 2017

7 for '17 - What's new in Ruston!

Written by Travis Napper, President/CEO 

This year will be a busy one for #RustonLA and full of exciting new restaurant openings, events and more! Check out the list below to see what's coming to Ruston and Lincoln Parish in 2017! 

1. Biking - The Rock Island Greenway (The RIG) will be a tremendous addition to the growing biking and running community. With the first phase set for completion by the end of March and the 2nd and 3rd phases hopefully added by the end of the year, up to 6 miles of the shared-use path will run through the city and connect riders and runners to neighborhoods, parks, downtown, and campus. Bonus: MedCamps Madness is hosting its inaugural multi-level cycling tour and/or a 5K run on March 18th.

2. Restaurants - Chick-fil-A is coming! That's all that needs to be said. The people of Ruston and our visitors have been waiting on this for quite some time and this summer it will be a reality. Bonus: Jimmy John's, a second Waffle House and others are opening this year too.

3. Football - Louisiana Tech will be hosting a program-record 7 home games and unveiling a new Press Box (get your tickets here). Grambling is hosting 4 home games, bringing the total to 11 college football games being hosted in Lincoln Parish this fall. Bonus: Louisiana Tech could up their number to 8 if they were to host the C-USA Conference Championship (Fingers crossed!)

4. Hotels - With all the new activity and more football weekends, more hotel rooms are needed! Courtyard by Mariott and Best Western Plus will be opening this year bringing the total room count in Ruston to over 850! Bonus: The Courtyard will also have over 3,200 sq ft of event space that can be broken out into 4 rooms!

5. Fishing - Did you know that we helped host the Louisiana State Championship for Crappie Masters at Lake D'Arbonne for the past 2 years? Well we're at it again this year! And with the popularity of the sport and prestige of Lake D'Arbonne, we're also hosting the American Crappie Trail in its inaugural year March 31-April 1 as one of only five lakes to be chosen leading up to the National Championship. Bonus: The winner receives a brand new Ranger Boat!

6. Festivals - All aboard for Railroad Fest! On April 8th, be a part of the evolution of Ruston Makers Fair into Railroad Makers & Music Festival. Taking place in Downtown Ruston, makers will be on display throughout the day and the music set up at the Railroad Park stage in the evening. Bonus: Follow Railroad Fest on Instagram and Facebook for updates on the music lineup!

7. Murals - Two new murals will highlight Downtown Ruston with another mural being added at the interstate underpass by the end of 2017/early 2018. All three will feature different artistic styles while portraying a true sense of the Ruston community past, present, and future. Bonus: Look for at least one community paint day so you too can have an opportunity to put your mark on Ruston! 

Travis Napper is from Monroe, La., but has called Ruston home for almost 15 years. He is a LA Tech alum and devoted Bulldog fan. Travis is a proud husband to Brittany and father of two children, Emory and Stover. In his spare time, he enjoys cheering on the bulldogs and enjoying local events. 

Monday, January 9, 2017

Molly Meets Ruston: From Mississippi to Louisiana

Written by Molly Coleman, Marketing Assistant 

Hi Everyone! My name is Molly Coleman and I am a brand new resident of not only Louisiana but of the most amazing small town in the piney woods of Ruston! Before moving here, I knew nothing at all about this charming town I have chosen to call home for so many wonderful reasons.

I can’t wait to tell you what qualities led me to calling Ruston my new home, but first I would like to tell you a little bit about where I came from and what led me to Choosing Ruston. I was born and raised in the small, but growing town of Oxford, Mississippi, the home of Ole Miss, and a very historic square with lots of local charm. After high school I moved to Starkville, Miss. and attended college at MSU. I got married and moved back to Oxford, Miss. where my husband and I both grew up. Living in Oxford and Starkville definitely had its differences, especially with their long history of competition. But both of these charming college towns shared two important factors: Community Involvement and Southern Hospitality. These two traits is what made it so easy to call both Oxford and Starkville home to me.

Just a few short weeks before we packed up and moved to Ruston! 

So now I know you are wondering how my husband and I ended up from Mississippi to Louisiana and why we chose Ruston. My husband was offered advancement in his career and that meant re-location to southern Arkansas. I will be completely honest with you, when he informed me we would be moving, I cried. Leaving Oxford was not in my plans. After days and hours of researching communities close to where his office is located, I stumbled upon Ruston and this exact Experience Ruston blog and the Experience Ruston Facebook page. This accidental stumble led me to choose living in Ruston.

As I came down for multiple visits during the months we were given to prepare for the move, I noticed these same traits of Community Involvement and Southern Hospitality in Ruston as I experienced in Mississippi. It suddenly made me feel this was the right place to call home. Not only did I experience these qualities then, but I have seen them in the few short weeks we have been living here. As we have joined this community we have been taken in with open arms by every local business we have encountered and by every individual that we have crossed paths with.

Findings of a really unique wall at Sundown Tavern!
Exploring Downtown Ruston! 

I not only love the small town charm that comes with Ruston’s local eateries, shops and the beautiful downtown area. But I also love to see the community come together for their local events and the support of the universities in town.

Follow me as I meet Ruston, watch me grow with the community as I plunge in and fully involve myself with all aspects of this incredible community. I cannot wait to attend events, shop, dine and cheer on the Universities in Ruston. As 2017 gets started, I am extremely anxious to dive in, and to fully experience Ruston!

Meet me in Ruston!

Molly is an original native of Mississippi and a proud current resident of Ruston, LA! Molly is a coffee addict and a self-proclaimed foodie. She loves running, traveling and college football. Molly is passionate for local charm and bringing others to love #RustonLA. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Joshua Mitchell Wins Hospitality Award

Written by Amanda Quimby, Marketing Director

Joshua Mitchell Wins Hospitality Award

The Ruston Lincoln Parish Convention & Visitors Bureau is proud to announce the 2016 recipient of the Lincoln Parish Hospitality Award is Joshua Mitchell, owner of Jodami Design and creator of Ruston Makers Fair.

“We’re thrilled to be able to present this award to Josh,” says Travis Napper, CVB President & CEO. “Not only is it well-deserved for the work he’s already done, but we’re certain his success and direct impact on our area is only just beginning.”

Throughout 2015 and 2016, Mitchell has made significant contributions to the tourism economy of Lincoln Parish by hosting the Ruston Makers Fair. Twice a year, under the organization of Mitchell, more than 70 local artists, designers, crafters and makers of all kinds have gathered in Downtown Ruston to provide a truly unique marketplace for residents and visitors alike to purchase works and support North Louisiana’s arts community. Complete with live music, food trucks, and activities for the kids, this festival of local talent has grown in popularity, bringing in visitors to Ruston from across the state, Dallas, Little Rock and Jackson.

Mitchell has been a part of the arts community for many years and saw the arts presence steadily growing in the area. Mitchell says that he felt like there needed to be one event that gives a wide range of artists the opportunity to show their passions to the public, and without a doubt, Ruston was the perfect place to host such an event.

“I am truly and deeply honored to even be considered for this award. There are so many hardworking individuals striving to better our community in so many ways,” says Mitchell. “First and foremost I have to thank the CVB for this award. I couldn't make any event happen without them. They work diligently to facilitate and promote all of the great things happening in the area. I also want to thank my family. They are always there to support me and they are never afraid to jump in and help where they're needed. I want to thank the NCLAC team who have been a constant source of inspiration for me and so many through the years. Last but not least I have to thank the City of Ruston and this beautiful community that I am a product of. I have grown to love this area so much and it is a dream come true to be a contributor to its beauty. I couldn't imagine doing what I do anywhere else and working alongside any better group of people.”

After the triumph of the past two years, Mitchell’s plans for the future of Ruston Makers Fair are ever-growing. “I've already been overwhelmed by the success of the fair, but I know that this is just the beginning for the event,” Mitchell says. “I have plans to expand and grow the fair to make it an even better experience for everyone and to continue developing events that help the arts flourish. There are different aspects being added and changed for the Spring Fair that will greatly improve the event and make it even more enjoyable. I look forward to seeing what 2017 holds for the future of the fair and other endeavors.”

The Lincoln Parish Hospitality Award began in 1999 to reward and recognize members of the community who provided a significant benefit to the tourism economy of Lincoln Parish during the past year. This award will be presented to Mitchell at the Ruston Lincoln Chamber of Commerce Annual Awards Banquet on January 19th at the Ruston Civic Center.

Full time destination marketer, part time gardener. Amanda has a love for travel and tourism, event planning and showcasing #RustonLA. She’s also very serious about coffee, cocktails, true crime novels and The Walking Dead. Follow her on Instagam to see mostly pics of food, wine and inspirational quotes. 

“Be the Leslie Knope of whatever you do.”

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Top Blog Posts for 2016

Written by Amanda Quimby, Marketing Director 

2016 has been a great year for showcasing Ruston, LA on our blog! We're incredibly excited to be able to share our most viewed blog posts of the year! Thank you for following along with us!

1. 5 Fun Kids Activities in Ruston
Entertaining kids can be tricky business, especially when traveling. We want to make your time in Ruston, La. as family-friendly as possible, which is why we've put together a list of the top 5 kids activities to experience in Ruston & Lincoln Parish!

The 66th Annual Louisiana Peach Festival is right around the corner, and we're bringing you everything you need to know about attending this year's festival on June 24-25! Peach Festival weekend is packed full of fun events to appeal to people of all ages. Live music, food, children's activities, a peach cobbler eating contest and more exciting events are on the Peach Festival agenda this year! 

3. Loyal Blue Weekends: A New Gameday Tradition
There are few things we like more than Louisiana Tech Football season here in Ruston. It’s a special and fun time when students, alumni, and locals all come together to socialize, eat great food and, most importantly, cheer on the Bulldogs. Different players and coaches have come and gone, but one thing always remains the same: Louisiana Tech fans’ loyalty. 

4. 30 Things to do in Ruston Before You Graduate
Ruston is first and foremost a college town, where students spend some of the best and most exciting years of their lives. College is a time to explore, try new things, and make memories. With this in mind, we're challenging students to get out of their dorms and experience these 30 things in Ruston before they graduate!

5. Most Share-Worthy Spots in Lincoln Parish
Between charming downtown streets, scenic views, and iconic Louisiana landmarks, Ruston & Lincoln Parish has several spots that lend themselves to being photographed and shared. Next time you find yourself in the area, be sure to snap a photo at one of these spots and share it on social media!

Full time destination marketer, part time gardener. Amanda has a love for travel and tourism, event planning and showcasing #RustonLA. She’s also very serious about coffee, cocktails, true crime novels and The Walking Dead. Follow her on Instagam to see mostly pics of food, wine and inspirational quotes. 

“Be the Leslie Knope of whatever you do.”

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Holidays Specials

Written by Amanda Quimby, Marketing Director 

It's that time of year - time for a house full of friends, family members and guests. Need some extra room? Several hotels in Ruston, LA are offering discounted rates for loved ones traveling in for the holidays!  

Comfort Inn 
$80 per night during Dec. 24-Jan. 1
Call (318) 242-0070 for reservations

Country Inn & Suites 
$95 per night during Jan. 1-Mar. 10
Spend 2 nights and get one free
Call (318) 513-9777 for reservations

Fairfield Inn & Suites 
$99 per night during Dec. 21-Jan. 1
Call (318) 251-9800 for reservations

Hampton Inn Ruston 
$99 a night during Dec. 21-Jan. 1
Call (318) 251-3090 for reservations

Sleep Inn & Suites 
$99 a night during Dec. 21-Jan. 1
Call (318) 232-1100 for reservations

For a complete list of accommodations and things to do around town, visit!

Full time destination marketer, part time gardener. Amanda has a love for travel and tourism, event planning and showcasing #RustonLA. She’s also very serious about coffee, cocktails, true crime novels and The Walking Dead. Follow her on Instagam to see mostly pics of food, wine and inspirational quotes. 

“Be the Leslie Knope of whatever you do.”