This year’s Change for Main banquet and piccadilly auction ensued last Saturday, at Saint Michael’s Catholic Center in Leesville.

The annual event is a major fundraiser for the Friends of Leesville Main Street non-profit group. “All of the monies that we collect, we put back into the Main Street district for different projects,” said Tammy Anderson, Main Street manager of three years.

The group plans to put funds to good use by enlarging the farmers’ market and improving Polk Theatre/pavilion, among other projects. “We want to use the money for beautification-- more flower planters, hanging flower plants, seating in the Main Street area, especially around the book nooks that are down there. Maybe one or two more murals, possibly,” said Anderson.

The Change for Main banquet does more than raise money for improvement projects. “It also provides an opportunity to recognize individuals in the city who help and support us,” said Anderson. “We like to make sure they are recognized each year.”

Five new businesses opened up in the Main Street district this year, so they each received a New Business Award for that.  

Tony McDonald, of GALLERY ONE ElllEVEN, received the Main Street Project Award for his involvement through the art gallery. “He was instrumental in spearheading the book nooks on Main Street, and the 100 crepe myrtle trees project on Main Street and surrounding areas in the city,” said Anderson.

Stacey Chadwick was recognized for her regular contribution to Main Street. “She works for the city, on the crew that goes around and cuts the grass and cleans up,” said Anderson. “All I have to do is pick up the phone and she immediately has a crew out there. Stacey is very dedicated to the appearance and care of our Main Street area.”

A Partnership Award was given to to the City of Leesville; but more specifically to Patti Larney, City Administrator. “She worked very closely with us on many projects and other things,” Anderson said.

Grant Bush, City Development, was awarded an Appreciation Award for his support of the Friends of Leesville Main Street. Specifically for planning and implementing the Downtown at Sundown, food truck park and live music summer series.

The Change for Main banquet was catered by Deep South Catering, with live music from the Jordan Anderson Band of Baton Rouge. “The people who come have a good time. It’s a nice catered meal, live music, and cash bar. It’s just a lot of fun,” Anderson said.

Between sponsors, attendants, and merchants who donated items for auction, the fundraiser was highly successful; possibly their best year yet. “It did very well; raised quite a bit of money, and it will all go back into projects for Main Street,” she said.

The Friends are looking to improve the green spaces of the Main Street district. “We want people to realize there are lots available for rent downtown. There’s some housing in that area too,” said Anderson.

They are looking forward to the next big fundraiser, the Armadillo Motorcycle Rally. It will feature bike and car shows, live bands, food vendors, and shopping. This event will take place 12 p.m. - 7 p.m. on Saturday, September 23 in Downtown Leesville.

Leesville Main Street Facebook page for more information.