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 www.experienceruston.com!





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.”

Monday, November 28, 2016

Tori’s Travels: Saying Goodbye

Dear Ruston,

Even though I’ve only called you home for the last year and a half of my life, I feel like I’ve been part of your community for years. I can’t express how thankful I am that you welcomed me with open arms when I moved here last summer.

Coming from a larger city, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect of this “small town.” But after a short time here, I realized that you are the epitome of a charming, Southern college town. In just a few days, I’ll be packing up my car and heading off to my next adventure; however, your unique charm and spirit will stay with me long after I leave.

As I prepare to move, I can’t help but think back on all the fun memories I’ve made in my time here. I’ve cheered on the Bulldogs at the Joe, enjoyed countless meals on the Sundown patio, and spent numerous afternoons soaking up the sun in Lincoln Parish Park. I’ve sung along to live music at The Revelry, eaten my weight in peach ice cream at Mitcham’s, and walked the charming streets of Downtown Ruston more times than I can count. These experiences and so many more have made this past year one of the best and most fun years of my life. 


Thanks for all the memories, Ruston!

If the priceless memories weren’t enough, you also provided me with the most amazing people to call neighbors, colleagues, mentors, and friends. I have truly never met more warm or welcoming people than Rustonites. I’m pretty much convinced there’s something in the peaches that makes your people just downright pleasant. To everyone I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in my time here, thank you for your kindness and hospitality.

More than anything, I just want to say thank you, Ruston. Thank you for being calm, yet exciting. Thank you for all the breathtaking sunsets and starry nights. Thank you for the food, music, and art that give this town its incredible and unique culture. Above all else, thank you for giving me a year and a half of my life that I will truly never forget. I’ll be seeing you soon!

Sincerely,

Tori Ward 




Tori is a proud Louisiana native and social media nerd. She has a passion for travel, food, and all things related to tourism promotions. Tori is an avid movie watcher, coffee fanatic, and lover of the outdoors. Still want to know more? Head over to her website.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Experience Ruston's Holiday Arts Tour

Written by Tori Ward, Marketing/PR Assistant 

Ruston's holiday festivities will be kicking off this year on the first weekend of December, with the always-popular Holiday Arts Tour taking place on December 2-3 in Downtown Ruston! Holiday Arts Tour is one of Ruston's most beloved and celebrated holiday events. Named one of the STS Top 20 Events in December by Southeast Tourism Society, this unique holiday art crawl is a must-attend event in Ruston, La. 

Holiday Arts Tour is a great event for the entire family

Holiday Arts Tour spotlights Ruston’s art community by showcasing artists and their works in 30 local shops, restaurants, and other various businesses. Hosted by the North Central Louisiana Arts Council (NCLAC), this two-day event also features artists’ demonstrations, children's art activities, and live musical and theatrical performances. With more than 1,000 people in attendance in 2015, the event only continues to grow and bring together the arts and the local business community. 

“We love offering Holiday Arts Tour to our region each year, and are excited for more people to come experience the talented artists in North Louisiana,” 
said Jessica Slaughter, Executive of the North Central Louisiana Arts Council.  

Live theatrical performances in Downtown Ruston during Holiday Arts Tour

On Friday from 5-9pm and on Saturday from 10am-5pm, visual artists will be in the stores to meet shoppers. Additional exciting elements for the weekend include Sprout Hour for children, an Art Battle at Railroad Park, performing artists on both evenings, and demonstrations by artists. The full schedule of events is featured below and can also be found here

Holiday Arts Tour 2016 schedule 

We hope to see you in Downtown Ruston on the first weekend of December for the Holiday Arts Tour and more exciting holiday events! For more info on Holiday Arts Tour, visit www.nclarts.org, and for more info on Ruston's holiday events click here






Tori is a proud Louisiana native and social media nerd. She has a passion for travel, food, and all things related to tourism promotions. Tori is an avid movie watcher, coffee fanatic, and lover of the outdoors. Still want to know more? Head over to her website


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Holiday Events in Ruston, LA

Click here for 2017 holiday events!


Written by Amanda Quimby, Marketing Director 

We're excited about this year's holiday calendar! Ruston, LA has events happening all season long to keep you in the Christmas spirit. Experience abundant shopping opportunities, ice skating in Downtown Ruston, drive-thru Christmas lights and so much more!    

Nov. 10-12 - Holidays in CedarTown
Christmas shopping gets kicked off with North Louisiana’s premier holiday shopping market! Knock out your gift list or pick up some decorations for the home. Special events include a Brunch Blitz, Holiday After Hours, Jingles and Jammies. 
Ruston Civic Center | Ticket & admission prices vary

Nov. 17-19 - “Shop for Good” Downtown Christmas Open House
In the spirit of giving, downtown merchants have gathered together again this year to support local nonprofit organizations! During this time you can take advantage of extended shopping hours and seasonal sales with a portion of the proceeds going to a charitable cause.   
Downtown Ruston | 5-8PM

Nov. 25-27 - Big Creek Trade Days
Check out this marketplace for unique gifts! Event features hundreds of vendors in one location, and even a “man cave” for the gentlemen to relax while their ladies browse. $5 for parking.
Dubach | 9AM-4PM

Nov. 26 - Shop Small in Ruston
Don’t forgot to shop small this holiday season! Small Business Saturday beginning at 10AM, the CVB will be in Downtown Ruston with coffee and breakfast snacks and giving away Shop Small tote bags to the first 200 customers! Supplies are limited so get shopping early!
Downtown Ruston | Business hours vary

Dec. 1 - Kickoff to Christmas
Watch as Downtown Ruston comes alive with the sights and sounds of Christmas! The lighting ceremony will be at 6PM sharp then stick around for music, festivities, late shopping hours and ice skating!
Downtown Ruston | 6-8PM

Dec. 1-3 - Lincoln Lights Up the Pines
You won’t want to miss Ruston’s premier drive-thru Christmas lights display though beautiful Lincoln Parish Park! This year is certain to be bigger and better than the last with hundreds of new lights!
Lincoln Parish Park | 5:30-8:30PM

Dec. 1-4 - “It’s a Wonderful Life”
Relive this holiday classic! Ruston Community Theatre tells the story of George Bailey, a compassionate but despairingly frustrated businessman, being shown by an angel what life would have been like had he never existed. Tickets can be purchased at the Dixie box office - $12 for adults, $6 for students. 
Dixie Center for the Arts | 7PM Thurs-Sat, 2PM Sunday


Dec. 2-3 - Holiday Arts Tour
This holiday art crawl features unique shopping opportunities, live music, street theatre, children’s activities, demonstrations and more! Get out and celebrate the arts and shopping local in Downtown Ruston!
Downtown Ruston | Fri 5-9PM, Sat 10AM-5PM

Dec. 1, 3, 10 & 17 - Santa in Downtown Ruston
Don’t forget to tell Santa what you want this year! Santa will be at the skating rink located in the Historic Fire Station parking lot during Ruston’s Kickoff to Christmas on Dec. 1 from 6-9PM and every Saturday before Christmas Eve!
Downtown Ruston | 10AM-2PM  

Dec. 1-30 - Ice Skating in Downtown Ruston
Ice skating is back! What better way to enjoy the season and Downtown Ruston than skating in Ruston’s own artificial ice rink! The rink will be located in the parking lot of the Historic Fire Station. Sessions are 45 minutes and costs $10 per person.
Downtown Ruston | Mon-Fri 4-9PM, Sat 10AM-9PM, Sun 1-9PM


Dec 5-17 - 12 Days of Christmas Shopping
Shop local this holiday season for chances to win cash prizes and more! Stop by the Ruston-Lincoln Chamber of Commerce or any participating retailers to pick up your shopping passport. Fill up the passport to win prizes!

Dec. 6-31 - Bank of Ruston Holiday Art Exhibit
Stop by to enjoy works from the A Sense of Place: Contemporary Images of Lincoln Parish at Bank of Ruston’s 13 Annual Holiday Art Exhibit. Exhibit kicks off with an open reception Tuesday, Dec. 6 from 5-7PM, and the photographs will be on display throughout the month during regular business hours. 
www.senseofplacephoto.com
Bank of Ruston | Mon-Fri 9AM-5PM

Dec. 8 - Ruston Christmas Parade
Another event you won’t want to miss – the annual Christmas parade! This year’s theme is White Christmas. Bundle up and bring the family out to enjoy the festive floats, beautiful lights, and of course, candy for all! Parade starts at the Thomas Assembly Center and runs through Downtown Ruston.
TAC - Downtown Ruston | 6PM

Dec. 9 - Winterfest
Come out to Railroad Park to hear area school choirs sing Christmas carols for the community! Concert is free and open to the public!
Downtown Ruston | 6PM

Dec. 9-11 - Big Creek Trade Days
It's your last chance to shop this marketplace for Christmas gifts! Find unique items for friends and family or a few goodies for yourself! $5 for parking.
Dubach | 9AM-4PM

Dec. 15-17 - Live Nativity at Emmanuel Baptist Church
Take a step back in time with Emmanuel Baptist Church's live nativity! Scene will be held at the Family Life Center.www.facebook.com
Emmanuel Baptist Church | 7PM

Dec. 16 - Russ-Town Band Christmas Concert
Certain to boost your holiday spirit is the Russ-Town Band performing your favorite Christmas tunes on the Dixie stage! Admission is a nonperishable food item or a toy donation for Toys for Tots!
Dixie Center for the Arts | 7PM

Dec. 17 - Cookies with Mrs. Clause

Come join the fun and decorate cookies with Mrs. Clause! Little one will also have a chance to visit with Santa and receive a photo! $25 per child, proceeds benefit Samaritan's Purse.
www.facebook.com/event
Social Bites of Ruston | 10AM &11:30AM

Dec. 17 - Dixie Dancers Christmas Program
Watch as the always-delightful Dixie Dancers take the stage for their annual Christmas performance! This event is open to the public with donations for the Dixie Center for the Arts accepted.
Dixie Center for the Arts | 7PM

For more information on these events and more, visit www.experienceruston.com






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, October 26, 2016

Seafood Gumbo Recipe

Nothing compares to the flavors of Louisiana cooking, especially when seafood is involved! We want to share with one of our favorite recipes for Louisiana Seafood Gumbo. Bon app├ętit! 


Photo credit: George Graham (acadianatable.com)

Recipe by: George Graham - AcadianaTable.com

Prep time: 1 hour

Cook time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Serves: 6

Ingredients
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 large yellow onions, peeled and diced
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced bell pepper
2 tablespoons minced garlic
12 cups shrimp stock
4 bay leaves
4 gumbo crabs, cracked and quartered
3 pounds large raw Louisiana Gulf shrimp, peeled
1 pint raw Louisiana oysters, with juice
1 pound white Louisiana crabmeat
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cajun seasoning
Dash of hot sauce
Gumbo file’
6 cups cooked Louisiana long grain white rice, such as Supreme
1 cup diced green onion tops

Instructions
  1. That’s right, first you make a roux. Over medium-high heat, combine the oil and flour in a black iron pot or heavy dutch oven. Begin stirring and don’t stop until you reach a peanut butter colored roux. You will smell it as it cooks, and it is a nutty aroma you seek that is perfect for a seafood gumbo. Darker roux is for heavier wild game dishes so don’t go too far past this point.
  2. Stop the roux from cooking by adding the onions, celery, and bell pepper. Continue stirring until the vegetables turn translucent and then add the garlic. Combine all the vegetables and then add the stock along with the bay leaves and the gumbo crabs. Bring the liquid to a slow boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and let it cook for 1 hour. Check it and give it a stir every 15 minutes and be sure to skim off any fat or foam from the surface.
  3. The key to this gumbo is not to overcook the seafood. You can stage the base gumbo to this point and hold it there indefinitely. Actually, it gets even better the longer it sits. When you are ready to serve it up, add the shrimp, oysters, and crabmeat and cook until the largest shrimp are done, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper along with a light hand on the Cajun seasoning. Don’t over season seafood gumbo. Your guests can always add their own hot sauce and gumbo file’ at the table.
  4. Ladle the gumbo around a mound of rice and garnish with a sprinkle of diced green onion tops. Ice-cold beer and hot French bread are a given.
Photo credit: George Graham (acadianatable.com)
Find the original recipe post for this Seafood Gumbo here, and check out our Louisiana Cooking Pinterest Board for more yummy recipes like these! 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Most Share-Worthy Spots in Lincoln Parish

Written by Tori Ward, Marketing/PR Assistant

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!

1. The Dixie Theatre


Built in 1928, The Dixie is a Ruston landmark. You can’t pass through Downtown Ruston without noticing its brightly lit marquee adorned with the famous flashing star on top. While the attached courtyard is perfect for daytime photos, the Dixie's iconic sign makes for a great shot at night. 


2. Lady of the Mist 


Photo via Instagram @rthhan
The Lady of the Mist is one of the most beloved and recognizable landmarks on Louisiana Tech University's Campus. The fountain is located in the Quad and symbolizes "Alma Mater," welcoming new students and bidding farewell to graduates. The Lady of the Mist is super photogenic, so be sure you get a photo with her when you're in the area. 


3. Mitcham Farms Peach Store and Orchard


Photo via Instagram @codyalbritton
The Mitcham Farms Peach Orchard is the site where Ruston Peaches are grown, processed, and sold. Mitcham's Peach Store has become a must-visit location in Ruston, where you can get homemade peach ice cream & more peachy products. The Mitcham Farms sign on the processing shed has become quite the spot to snap a photo during a visit to the orchard or Peach Store. 


4. The Piers at Lincoln Parish Park 


Photo via Instagram @raeshirl
Lincoln Parish Park has numerous scenic views that are downright picture perfect. While the park offers several different photo ops, people love taking and sharing photos from the piers on the park's lake. Complete with a sunset through the trees, it's hard not to share something this pretty!


5. The Ruston Farmers Market Mural


Photo via Instagram @bringthestew
The new Ruston Farmers Market building has quickly become one of the most share-worthy spots in the area. The beautiful mural, painted by LA Tech art students, is the perfect place to snap a fun photo. 


6. Fountain at Railroad Park

Photo via Instagram @therealjoshmac
Nestled in the heart of charming Downtown Ruston, Railroad Park is an ideal location to take photos. In February 2016, the original, historic fountain was brought back to Railroad Park, making it an even more appealing spot to snap a pic. 


7. Architecture at Huckleberry Trails Park

Photo via Instagram @ cassidyakeim
This amazing metal structure is located in Huckleberry Trails Park and was built to serve as an outdoor classroom for a local elementary school. The piece was designed and built by LA Tech architecture students. This structure is definitely one of the most unique and share-worthy spots in Ruston. 


8. Dubach's Dog Trot Welcome Center 

Photo via Instagram @ razorturf
Known as the Dog Trot Capital of the World, Dubach, LA offers several unique photo ops. Take a step back in time as you visit the Dog Trot Welcome Center in Downtown Dubach, which is one of two dog trot houses in the area. Be sure to snap and share your photos!


9. Eddie the Fighting Tiger 

Photo via Instagram @ giftedandsmart
This 17-foot tiger statue is located on the Grambling State University campus. Students named the tiger Eddie, presumably after Eddie G. Robinson, the university’s legendary head football coach. The ferocious sculpture has quickly become a prime place to pose and take a photo. 


10. The Carriageway

Photo via Instagram @ julian_jones
The Carriageway is a whimsical breezeway in Downtown Ruston that runs along the side of The Fashion and Chartreuse Pear. With twinkling lights, exposed brick walls, and delicate tables and chairs, The Carriageway provides a quaint and rustic backdrop to any photo. Strike a pose, snap a pic, and share this charming scene. 


We hope you enjoy these share-worthy spots in Ruston & Lincoln Parish. Don't forget to use the hashtag #RustonLA when posting photos on social media so we can see and share your Ruston photos! 





Tori is a proud Louisiana native and social media nerd. She has a passion for travel, food, and all things related to tourism promotions. Tori is an avid movie watcher, coffee fanatic, and lover of the outdoors. Still want to know more? Head over to her website

Friday, October 7, 2016

Experience Gameday in Ruston

Written by Tori Ward, Marketing/PR Assistant

If you’re a fan of small college towns where football takes over the entire weekend, then Ruston, La. is the place for you! Here in Ruston, gameday festivities last all weekend long, with events for the entire family. The City of Ruston, the Ruston Lincoln CVB, and the Louisiana Tech Alumni Association have partnered together to bring fans and visitors a weekend-long gameday experience called Loyal Blue Weekends.

LA Tech Cheerleaders performing during Rock the Railroad
Photo credit: Buie Photography

Loyal Blue Weekends take place every home-game weekend and feature family activities, spirit groups, live music, and more football fun. This is the perfect event for the out-of-town visitor who doesn’t have a set gameday plan, but wants to get out and have the Louisiana Tech Football gameday experience.

Loyal Blue Weekends kick off on Friday night in Downtown Ruston, where all football fans and visitors are invited to come out and Rock the Railroad. Starting at 5:30pm in Railroad Park, families can come out and take part in kids’ activities, including inflatables, face painting, and more. At 6pm Champ and the LA Tech spirit groups get the crowd pumped up with some fun and interactive performances. 


Enjoying kids activities at Rock the Railroad
Photo credit: Buie Photography

Stick around after these activities for some great live music from 6:30-8:30pm. This is also the perfect time to visit downtown shops and grab a bite to eat at one of the local restaurants in Downtown Ruston. The fun doesn’t stop there! Everyone is invited to come watch a movie in the Quad on LA Tech’s campus after the band wraps up at 8:30pm.

Did we mention that all of these activities and events are totally free and open to the public!?

Grab some cotton candy from the Social Bites cotton candy cart while you're downtown
Photo credit: Buie Photography

The festivities continue on Saturday, as fans and visitors are encouraged to shop and eat in downtown before the game. Avoid game day traffic and the hassle of stadium parking by leaving your vehicle downtown and catching the Tech Trolley at Railroad Park, which transports fans to and from the stadium free of charge. The trolley will run continuously 2 hours prior to kickoff, giving fans plenty of time to tailgate, and 1 hour after the game.

Don’t have a designated tailgate spot, but still want the tailgating experience? Bulldog Village, located at the bottom of the Thomas Assembly Center steps, offers live music, inflatables, a photobooth, interactive X-box play station and other games, a cell phone charging station, the Barnes and Nobles Bookstore, and much more! Everyone is welcome to come enjoy these free pre-game activities.

Come join us in Downtown Ruston for a fun Gameday experience!
Photo Credit: Buie Photography

We invite you to visit us this fall in Ruston to enjoy a weekend packed with football fun and small town charm. Whether you’re traveling alone, with friends, or with your family, Ruston has a gameday experience waiting for you; all you have to do is show up!






Tori is a proud Louisiana native and social media nerd. She has a passion for travel, food, and all things related to tourism promotions. Tori is an avid movie watcher, coffee fanatic, and lover of the outdoors. Still want to know more? Head over to her website