CAPC approves $5K for pageant marketing

Thursday, November 18, 2021

The Eureka Springs City Advertising and Promotion Commission agreed to spend $5,000 to promote the Arkansas Continental Preliminary Pageant, scheduled for early January, at its regular meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 17.

Local business owner Anthony Christopher submitted the marketing support fund request, which included $4,000 for social media marketing and $1,000 for print materials. Christopher said the Arkansas Continental Pageantry System is a national pageant for female impersonators with four categories: Miss, the pageant headliner; Plus, for participants 225 pounds or heavier; Mr., focused on physique; and Elite, for participants 39 years and older.

“This pageant has been around for over 50 years. There’s about 38 to 40 states and countries that host preliminary pageants all over the world each year,” Christopher said. “This is the first year Continental has ever been brought to Arkansas and we’re really excited to make the home here in Eureka Springs.”

Christopher said the participants will compete on Sunday, Jan. 9, and Monday, Jan. 10, at the Auditorium. There will be a pride parade on Saturday, Jan. 8, Christopher said, and Basin Park is reserved that day for a celebrity entertainer. Additionally, Christopher said, there will be a meet and greet. Christopher said there’s a plan for Mayor Butch Berry to present an award at the pageant.

The pageant’s celebrity performer is Eureka O’Hara, Christopher said — a drag queen famous for appearing on RuPaul’s Drag Race and the HBO Max series We’re Here. We’re Here brings drag performers to cities throughout America, Christopher said, to make average citizens into drag queens and bring communities together. The finale for the last season took place in Branson, Christopher said.

“One of the things they have stated is if things go well with this pageant, there’s interest next year to bring We’re Here to Eureka Springs for filming,” Christopher said.

Christopher said the pageant would bring at least 1,800 people to town, possibly up to 5,000. Downtown businesses are working with the pageant to make it a success, Christopher said. Commissioner Patrick Burnett said he loves that the event is scheduled for January, because that’s a slow month for tourism.

Commissioner Melissa Greene asked if Christopher wanted the marketing support request split between 2021 and 2022, since the event is scheduled for early 2022. Christopher said the money would be spent by the end of the year and chair Jeff Carter said there’s still money left in the marketing support fund budget for 2021.

“We could take it out of this year’s budget,” Carter said.

Greene moved “that we approve the $5,000 asked for” and amended the motion to state that the funds would come from the 2021 budget. The commission unanimously approved the motion.

Earlier in the meeting, Carter reported that the new floor was installed in the office area of the Auditorium. Carter added that the check is in the mail for the new wheelchair lift.

Tourism director Madison Dawson presented the Auditorium’s recent profit margins, saying the last three shows profited $5,265. Greene asked if that money would be used for office furniture and Dawson said it would be for office renovations, as the commission already approved $5,000 for office furniture at a previous meeting.

“I’d like to paint the walls. I’d like to get some new lighting … maybe some blinds,” Dawson said. “If possible, get a better ceiling because there’s holes in the ceiling. I’d be happy to send you guys a conclusive list of all the things I’d like done. I’d take that profit and put it into the renovation at the office.”

Greene then moved “that we do the profit of $5,265.40 and designate it toward office refurbish” and the commission unanimously agreed to do so. Commissioner Carol Wright said the commission will save $1,500 per month plus utilities after vacating the office on East Van Buren, and Carter said that’s a savings of more than $30,000 per year.

In other business, Carter updated the commission on its vacant seat. No one has applied for the seat, Carter said, and he suggested reaching out to former applicants to see if they are still interested. Greene agreed to contact the applicants.

Carter announced that group sales director Karen Pryor recently retired, and Dawson suggested reworking that position into an office coordinator.

“I make a motion that we hire the office manager — I guess it’s group sales — and put it immediately out, like tomorrow,” Greene said.

Dawson clarified that the position is office coordinator and Greene amended the motion, which the commission unanimously approved. Commissioner Harry Meyer moved to include the job description in the online posting and the commission unanimously agreed to do so. The job will be posted on the city and CAPC website, Carter said.

Dawson said she’s working on staff training after finding alcohol in the office on East Van Buren.

“Alcohol is prohibited, of course,” Dawson said. “We have inventory to sell to patrons who come to shows. Otherwise, alcohol is prohibited on the premises.”

“And that is locked up?” Greene asked.

“Yes, it’s locked up,” Dawson said.

The commission’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 8, at the Auditorium.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: