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Rayne Chamber Open House, projects discussed at board meeting

RAYNE - Returning from a summer hiatus, the board of directors of the Rayne Chamber of Commerce faced a full agenda for its September meeting.
The first topic address was the Chamber’s Open House planned for Thursday, Sept. 11, in observance of the 20th anniversary of the Chamber office completion.
Chamber President Jeremy Lavergne announced a day-long open house will be held for Chamber member, businesses and the public, along with a special Business After Hours at 5:30 p.m. when the Business of the Quarter will be announced and awarded.
Executive Director Fran Bihm added that an historical section will be on display, along with special dedication paid to past Chamber presidents and Board members.
Committee reports included a report from Frog Festival Chairman Jeremy Lavergne from the 2019 Frog Festival held in May.
“We had a great line-up but you can’t control Mother Nature,” Lavergne stated concerning the weather interference of the weekend event held May 9-11. “We exceeded our sponsors goals, had a great parade line-up and entertainment was great. We just didn’t have the people in attendance because of the weather.
“But on a good note, we did make a little money and stayed in the black. We will just have to work hard on our other fundraisers of the upcoming year to stay afloat.”
The 2020 Frog Festival budget was approved as submitted by Lavergne, who also noted that summer meetings have taken place and chairmen have been named for an early start for next year’s festival.
Rayne Marketplace Chairman Marietta Leonards Sikat gave an update of the September 14 event to be held once again at The Depot. Chamber members were noted of who will assist with the September market.
“We have a good number of vendors signed up for this month’s market,” stated Sikat. “We will also have a football theme day, complete with football players and fun for the kids.”
Sikat also noted a change for the annual holiday market to coincide with the “Shop Small Saturday” event slated the Saturday of Black Friday in the downtown area of Rayne.
Dr. Eddie Palmer gave an update of the OST Committee as plans are being finalized for the 4th Annual OST Day Celebration on Saturday, Nov. 2, at and around The Depot Square. Antique cars, period dress, displays, food and many other activities have been planned. More definite plans will be announced as they are finalized, according to Palmer.
Palmer also reminded everyone of another OST Dine and Dance to be held at the Legion Home in Rayne on Friday, Nov. 1, to kickoff the weekend.
“We have a number of commitments who will be in attendance for the event,” Palmer noted, “including speaker Stella Tanos better know as the Louisiana History Lady. We have also received a number of donations and things are looking good.”
Chamber Executive Director Fran Bihm gave a report of summer activities she attended including the Miss Rayne Pageant, Chamber Summit and a number of ribbon cuttings held throughout Rayne.
Special guests in attendance for the meeting were Dineen and David Constantin. They gave a report of the ongoing Scouting project of the frog pond area at the Chamber. In addition to cleaning and restoring a number of devices, the Scouts have renovated a number of areas of the frog pond and re-landscaped the entire space. Special thanks were expressed to the adult leaders and the Scouts for this long, overdue project.
New business discussed:
• re-landscaping of front yard of Chamber Office in time for the special Open House;
• Committee meeting for Mardi Gras events and announcements;
• new Chamber sign by Rayne High Ag. Department;
• new Board members sought to replace outgoing members; and
• Tri-Parish event to be held Sept. 25, at LSUE by area chambers.
Reminders included Hand To Hand grand opening Sept. 7, Chamber Open House Sept. 11, Rayne Marketplace Sept. 14, KBON Music Fest Oct. 4-6, Germanfest Oct. 5-6 in Roberts Cove, and Tuscany Italian Restaurant opening Nov. 1st in downtown area.

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