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Crow-Luther Cultural Events Center Making Major Changes in 2024


By Administrator

May 3, 2024

On Wednesday the board of directors of the Crow-Luther Cultural Events Center (CLCEC) met and finalized a number of major changes to their 2024 schedule of activities. First and foremost, the board voted to postpone the annual summer street festival known as the Maine Street Bash until 2025. They also established the schedule for this year’s Children’s Summer Theater production and finalized plans for the construction project to take place within the two empty buildings south of the Plains Theater that will be the future home of the Kiowa County Library District.

After considering a number of issues, the board’s decision to postpone the annual Maine Street Bash until 2025 did not come easy. The Bash has been a staple summertime event in the community since 2007 and has also been one of the main fundraisers for CLCEC. Unfortunately, it requires a great number of volunteers to successfully host such a large event. Different people have been in charge of different aspects of the Bash in the past and, unfortunately, those people are unable to help this summer. In addition, a wedding and some other area events will take away more volunteers than usual.

The CLCEC board invites everyone to attend the annual Kids’ 4th of July Parade, an event held at the Eads City Park and Courthouse that is always held on or near Independence Day. That celebration has turned into a quasi-Bash with DJ music, a cornhole tournament, kids’ games, fair food and food truck, and other special features such as a face painter and water games.

Board Chairman Betsy Barnett said of the decision, “We are examining where we want to go with the Maine Street Bash into the future. We hope to update and improve that fundraiser next year when we are back to normal, and construction has been completed.”

Barnett is referring to the construction that will begin this summer in the two empty buildings on Maine Street that are attached to the Plains Theater on the south side. The building closest to the theater is the old pool hall and the other building, nearly the same size, housed a jewelry store in the late 1950s and early 1960s. When CLCEC was formed as a non-profit organization in 2006, their main mission was to save the Plains Theater and the two buildings to the south. The roofs had fallen on the two empty buildings and over the years it has taken a lot of work to slowly bring the two buildings into a space ready for renovation. When the work this summer and into the next year is completed, the two spaces will become one larger space that will house the Kiowa County Library. Currently, the library is housed in the basement of the courthouse and is hard to access for some citizens due to the courthouse schedules, and the physical inaccessibility. Moving the library into the new space on Maine Street is an idea that has wide support with funders from across the state.

Construction on the two buildings that will house the library begins soon. Currently, the Town of Eads, owner of the buildings, is advertising for a potential general contractor. The Town is hoping to hire a general contractor that is local or as close to local as possible. (see the Invitation to Bid in the Legals section of the Kiowa County Independent.) CLCEC provides financial and organizational assistance for the work that will be performed in the two buildings. Upon completion, CLCEC’s mission to save the two historic buildings will be accomplished.

Finally, at the CLCEC meeting on Wednesday, the board approved their annual Children’s Summer Theater event but with a local twist they hope will bring more interest and theater skills to not only the children in the local communities but also adults in the area who are interested in promoting the arts.

 

For the past two years CLCEC has brought the Missoula Children’s Theater acting troupe to Eads to handle a week-long children’s theater that resulted in a production at the end of the week. This year the CLCEC board has hired Merena Lowe and a team of volunteers including Debi Derby, Claire Prince, Colin Nelson, and Deborah Gooden to bring the Children’s Summer Theater opportunity to Eads—this time with a local flair.

The Children’s Summer Theater production will be The Wizard of Oz and has a number of roles for children ages Kindergarten – High School. Students from across the area are invited to attend the auditions on Friday, May 31 at the Plains Theater in Eads located at 1304 Maine Street. The auditions will be much like the ones used in the past as the child merely needs to show up and be themselves.

Practice schedules will be varied depending on the role the child receives. Two productions are planned to include one on Friday, July 5 at 4:00 pm and the other on Saturday, July 6 at 4:00 pm. Costumes, sets, scripts, and music will be provided by CLCEC’s theater team directed by Lowe.

Merena Lowe is well-known in Eads as she’s one of the friendly employees at Crow’s Stop & Shop Grocery Store. She has been involved in theater since she was 16 years old when she joined the Trailblazer Theater Group in Lamar. Merena says, “I started out just acting in their productions, but then I became involved behind the scenes. I was co-director with Teri Jobe for a show called the Edgar Allen Poe Afterlife RadioShow, produced a production called Clue, performed in another production entitled Alice in Wonderland, and most recently was co-director and stage manager for a production entitled Café Mocha Murders.”

Lowe is excited to be able to bring the Children’s Theater production of the Wizard of Oz to the Plains Theater stage this summer. She encourages others who might want to be involved in a local theater group to talk with her or show up at the auditions on May 31.

There is no cost for children to get involved with the summer production of the Wizard of Oz. The CLCEC will be selling tickets for the two July productions and are currently seeking sponsors for the event.

This summer is going to be different for the CLCEC but the board hopes it signals the beginning of a new and exciting era for the Plains Theater, the Kiowa County Library, and the citizens in southeastern Colorado.