Wednesday, June 29, 2016

5 Things to Do in Ruston This Summer

By Tori Ward, Marketing/PR Assistant

When the peaches are in season and temperatures are in the upper 90s, you know it's summertime in Ruston, Louisiana. Summers in Ruston are a great time to slow down, relax, and enjoy the charm of this small college town. While the summer months bring in a more relaxed atmosphere, there are still plenty of fun things to do and enjoy in the area! 

Here are 5 things you absolutely must do if you find yourself in Ruston this summer:

1. Try peach ice cream from the Peach Store
One of the best parts about summertime in Ruston is that local peaches are in season, which means fresh, homemade peach ice cream is available at the Mitcham Farms Peach Store! Not only is the Peach Store famous for their creamy and delicious peach ice cream, but they also carry a huge variety of peachy items from jellies to candles to dessert mixes and more. Fresh peach ice cream is only carried through August, so make sure you visit the Peach Store soon for this cool treat! Get more info on the Peach Store here

Peach ice cream from Mitcham Farms Peach Store

2. Shop the Ruston Farmers Market
The Ruston Farmers Market will be open every Saturday through August 13th for the summer season in a brand new, covered building! Come shop a great variety of fresh produce, locally-made products, homemade goodies and more! Get a meal out of the trip by enjoying breakfast tacos from Tacos the Guero and locally-roasted coffee from Railway Coffee. Find more info on the market here

Fresh produce at the Ruston Farmers Market 

3. Spend an afternoon on the beach at Lincoln Parish Park
Lincoln Parish Park is one of the most popular and highly-rated attractions in the area. While the park is well-known for its challenging bike trails and nice camping grounds, it also offers a spacious and clean beach area where anyone is welcome to swim and play. Take a dip in the lake to cool down on a hot summer day!

The beach at Lincoln Parish Park

4. Get a history lesson at a local museum
Lincoln Parish is home to three great museums, all of which are open weekdays and offer free admission! Enjoy learning about military history at the Louisiana Military Museum, local history at the Lincoln Parish Museum, or football history at the Eddie G. Robinson Museum. Get out of the house and escape the heat with a visit to any one of these wonderful, local museums!

The Louisiana Military Museum, the Lincoln Parish Museum, and the Eddie G. Robinson Museum offer a ton of history

5. Enjoy some live entertainment
Ruston is a great place to find live music and entertainment in the summertime. Sundown Tavern, Ponchatoulas, and Portico Bar & Grill are all local spots where you can regularly find live music. We add live music to our calendar of events weekly, so be sure to check frequently to see who's playing live in Ruston! 

Local favorite Chief and the Hounds performing at Sundown Tavern
Photo by Devin Dronett

We hope you give these fun summer activities a shot next time you're in the area! What's your favorite thing to do in Ruston in the summertime? Let us know in the comments section below!

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, June 17, 2016

6 Tips for Peach Fest

Written By Tori Ward, Marketing/PR Assistant

The 66th Annual Louisiana Peach Festival is right around the corner, with the festivities kicking off on Friday, June 24th and going through Saturday, June 25th! Peach Festival is a beloved tradition in Ruston, La., where locals, friends, families, and visitors come together to make fun, lasting memories. To get everyone ready for this year's festival, we're bringing you reminders and tips to make your Peach Fest experience as enjoyable as possible. 

Photo Credit: Tim Mueller Photography


Keep these 6 things in mind during the upcoming Peach Festival weekend: 

1. Cash for food
You no longer have to worry about purchasing food coupons at Peach Festival! Vendors are now accepting cash, and some will accept credit/debit cards. There will be 3 ATM's on site, but it's always a good idea to come prepared with some cash.

2. Where to park
While there is no fee to park in and around Downtown Ruston during Peach Fest, finding parking spots during festival weekend can be tough. Public parking is available at the indicated parking spots on the map below, as well as in the following lots: behind First Baptist Church, behind The Depot Coffee Shop, at the Court House, across from Newk's Eatery, across from The Dixie, at the Historic Fire Station, and behind the Civic Center. Shuttle service will be offered on Saturday from the Police Jury Complex to the Civic Center. The best thing you can do to ensure a parking spot in downtown is arrive early! 

Peach Festival map

3. Admission prices

To enter the festival you must purchase an armband, which includes access to all concerts and festival activities (food and rides not included in admission). Armbands are $10 per day or $15 for a weekend pass, children 6 and under get in free. There are 6 locations in Downtown Ruston to purchase armbands, cash and cards are both accepted. Friday passes and weekend passes can be purchased in-advance at the Ruston Lincoln Visitors Center!

4. Be social
Peach Festival is a great opportunity to snap and share fun photos! Whether you take a photo while enjoying a concert, browsing the arts & crafts show, or eating peachy foods, be sure to share it on social media using the hashtags #LAPeachFest and #RustonLA. Are you on Snapchat? Use the new Peach Festival filter when posting stories and snapchatting your friends! 

The large photo frame is back by popular demand and will be located next to Railroad Park on the Trenton St. side. There will also be smaller Instagram photo frames traveling throughout downtown. We'll be sharing some of our favorite Peach Fest photos, so be sure to include the official hashtags in your posts!

Make sure to take and share a photo using one of our photo frames

5. Bring your appetite

Where there's a festival, there's bound to be some delicious food, and Peach Fest is no exception! There will be several food vendors serving up carnival-food favorites, Cajun classics, and peachy items like peach funnel cakes, peach lemonade and tea, peach cobbler, and more. All restaurants in Downtown Ruston will also be open during their normal business hours if you'd rather have a sit-down meal!

Tasty festival foods

6. Stay hydrated 
Louisiana summers are hot, and the weather for Peach Festival weekend is forecasted to be sunny with temperatures in the upper 90s. To make your festival experience as enjoyable as possible, we strongly recommend drinking lots of water and wearing sunscreen. Food vendors will have water available for purchase, and paper fans will be passed out to help keep everyone cool! While we want you to have a blast at Peach Festival, don't forget that your health and safety come first. 

We hope you find these reminders helpful, and we're looking forward to seeing everyone for another exciting Louisiana Peach Festival on June 24th & 25th! If you have any questions at all, please feel free to comment below or call 318-255-2031.

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, June 13, 2016

Holiday Arts Tour selected as ‘STS Top 20 Event’

Provided by Amanda Quimby, Marketing Director 

NCLAC’s Holiday Arts Tour selected as ‘STS Top 20 Event’

RUSTON, LA (June 13, 2016)The Ruston Lincoln Convention & Visitors Bureau is excited to announce that SoutheastTourism Society has named Holiday Arts Tour one of the STS Top 20 Events in the Southeast in December!

The STS Top 20 Festival and Event Awards have highlighted programs around the Southeast since 1985. Travel industry experts select 20 events per month to publicize throughout the United States.

“The Southeast Tourism Society’s Top 20 Festival and Event list is an excellent guide for the Southeast’s visitors and residents. Events selected represent the best, and often most unique, activities in our region,” said Bill Hardman, president and CEO of the Southeast Tourism Society.

The 19th Annual Holiday Arts Tour will be held Friday and Saturday, Dec. 2-3, 2016 in Downtown Ruston. Hosted by the North CentralLouisiana Arts Council (NCLAC), this event spotlights Ruston’s art community by showcasing artists and their work in 30 local shops, restaurants and other various businesses. 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 local business community.

“We are thrilled to be included in Southeast Tourism Society's Top 20 list for December,” says Jessica Slaughter, Executive of the North Central Louisiana Arts Council. “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!”  

For more information on Holiday Arts Tour and other events, visit

Amanda Quimby is a native of Franklin Parish, a University of Louisiana at Monroe alumna and now a proud Ruston resident. As the marketing director for the CVB, she has a love for travel and tourism and showcasing #RustonLA. Follow her on Instagam and Twitter to see a lot of posts about food, wine and coffee.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Juneteenth Fest Kicks off Festival Season

Written By Derek J. Amaya, Guest Blogger

Festival season is fast approaching in Lincoln Parish with the first festival starting less than a few days from now.

Juneteenth Festival, the city of Grambling’s biggest annual event, will take place the week of June 12-18. The city will celebrate its 44th annual celebration with the theme “Building our Future … Honoring Our Legends.”

photo provided by Yanise Days

Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States. On June 19th, 1865, Union soldiers, led by Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger, landed in Galveston, Texas with news that the Civil War had ended and the enslaved were now free — two years after former United States President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.

Ask anyone who knows me and I am unabashed about it. I love festivals.

What separates Juneteenth from most festivals in the state is the format of the festival. This festival is not one, not two, but a whopping seven days long. During the week-long celebration, there are plenty of events for all ages to enjoy. Though the festival’s opening ceremony typically takes place on a Wednesday, there are still major events going on during the days before the festival.

This year, the Black Poetry Contest will take place at 3 p.m. on Sunday, June 12th at the Grambling Community Center, located at 127 King St., Grambling. 

On Monday, June 13, the Kirby Kangaroo Financial Reality Fair will take place from 10 a.m.-3 p.m., followed by the much anticipated History of Grambling program at 6 p.m. at the Grambling Community Center. This event will be a special one as the city begins to wrap up its efforts to have an official history record of Grambling. This event will bring “legends” and historians of Grambling together to speak about everything Grambling.

photo provided by Yanise Days

The festival’s opening ceremony is Wednesday, June 15 at 5:30 p.m. To kick off the ceremony, residents will gather at the Grambling Community Center for an Old Fashioned Prayer Meeting followed by the annual Watermelon Feast. 

The festival’s Health and Wellness Community Health Fair will take place on Thursday, June 16 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. followed by an Economic Empowerment Workshop at 6 p.m. at the Grambling Community Center.

Now comes my favorite part.

The Juneteenth Bake Off will take place from 9 a.m.-1 p.m., which will be accompanied by a Fish Fry from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. on Friday, June 17th at the Grambling Community Center. Gramblinites cook up something serious when celebrating and we haven’t even reached Festival Day yet. To cap of the day, the Miss Juneteenth Pageant will be held from 7-9 p.m. at the Floyd L. Sandle Theatre on Grambling State University’s Campus. These lovely ladies will get the chance to compete for one of the festivals biggest honors.

photo provided by Yanise Days

Finally come the big celebration — Festival Day.
photo provided by Yanise Days

Now, I will warn readers, be sure to bring some sunscreen, chairs and an empty belly — but I don’t know how that will be possible from Friday’s meals — because Festival Day bring hot weather and even hotter food.

A parade will ride down through Main Street, ending near Grambling City Hall, that features cartoon characters, candy and great dance routines that will get you out of your chairs. Following the parade, there will be live entertainment — and when I mean live, I mean shake your grove thing live — vendors, a car show and plenty of food that will make you second guess your cooking skills.

If there’s one thing the City of Grambling knows, it’s how to celebrate. And if there’s one thing Grambling’s even better at, it’s inviting the whole community, regardless of color, to come out and celebrate this powerful celebration.

It’s something I look forward to every year and it’s a joy for me to go out and cover the festival for the Ruston Daily Leader. For those looking for good music, good food and a good time, this festival is a must do.

Derek J. Amaya grew up a proud Southern gentleman in Metairie. He graduated from Louisiana Tech University and works for the Ruston Daily Leader. He loves the finer things like waiting for the Kansas City Southern train to pass when he has to be somewhere, Tech parking tickets and voicemails. Follow Derek on Twitter at @DerekAmaya or on Facebook.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Peachy Summer Recipes

Written By Tori Ward, Marketing/PR Assistant

Peach season is officially underway here in Ruston, La.! There's nothing quite like a sweet, juicy peach on a hot summer day, and Ruston peaches are known for being some of the tastiest around. Here in Ruston, when we aren't eating fresh peaches whole, we like them in pies, cobblers, cakes, cookies, smoothies, and even salsas. 

To kick off peach season, we're bringing you three of our favorite summer peach recipes from our Pinterest board dedicated to delicious peach recipes. For ultimate enjoyment, we recommend using fresh Ruston peaches, which can be purchase at Mitcham Farms Peach Orchard or at the Ruston Farmers Market on Saturday mornings. Below are the recipes for Peach Salsa, a Peach Smoothie Cocktail (which tastes just as delicious without alcohol), and Peach Scones with Vanilla Glaze. Bon appétit! 

Recipe & photo via
Peach Salsa
1½ cups ripe peaches, diced (4-6 depending on size)
1 cup tomato, diced (about 2 medium)
1 tablespoon jalapeño, finely minced (about ½)
¼ cup yellow pepper, small dice (substitute red or green pepper if you'd like)
¼ cup red onion, finely diced
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
¼ teaspoon ancho chili powder or other chili powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed

Juice of 1 lime
Salt and pepper to taste

Like your salsa on the spicy side? Add more jalapeño, cayenne powder or other ground pepper to taste.

Mix all ingredients together well. Serve right away, or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Recipe & photo via
Peach Smoothie Cocktail  
2 cups fresh orange juice
1 cup peach greek yogurt
2 cups frozen sliced peaches
6 oz Peach Schnapps (optional)
2 oz vodka (optional)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon nutmeg

Blend all the ingredients until smooth. Serve on tall cocktail glasses with fresh peach slices (refer to picture).

Recipe & photo via
Peach Pie Scones with a Vanilla Glaze
Scone Ingredients
2 cups + 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter, cubed and cold
1 egg
¼ cup heavy whipping cream, plus more for brushing
¼ cup sour cream
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup fresh peaches, diced

Vanilla Glaze Ingredients 
½ cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1-3 tablespoon heavy whipping cream

Scone Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a bowl, mix together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Once combined, cut in the butter with a fork or pastry cutter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

3. Whisk together heavy cream, sour cream, egg, and vanilla extract. Slowly add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and mix until just combined.

4. Stir in the peaches, and mix until just combined.

5. On a well-floured surface, turn out the scone dough and pat into a small disk that's about a 1/2" thick. Cut into 6-8 slices, and transfer to the baking sheet. Brush each scone with just a bit of heavy cream.

6. Bake for 16-18 minutes, or just until golden brown. Allow to cool. 

*Yields 6-8 scones.

Glaze Instructions
Whisk together powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and 1 tablespoon of heavy cream. If the glaze is too thick, continue adding in heavy cream, one 1 tablespoon at a time, until it has reached the desired consistency. Pour over warm scones and enjoy!

We hope you try and enjoy these peachy recipes this summer! Visit our Pinterest for more tasty peach recipes.

Tori Ward is a proud Louisiana native, born and raised in Shreveport, La. She is a Louisiana State University alumna and has a passion for all things PR. Tori is an avid movie watcher, coffee fanatic and lover of the outdoors. She is currently attending Louisiana Tech to pursue a master’s degree in business administration.