The city of Texarkana announces possible cancellation of two major events

TEXARKANA, Ark. (KTAL/KMSS) – The city of Texarkana, Arkansas just announced that 2 big events may be canceled next year, Mardi Gras and Railfest.

Downtown Texarkana business owner Emily Graham said it’s disappointing that the city has lost its sponsors for two of its major events Railfest and Mardi Gras.

“There are only a few events that happen downtown so it’s always something that we really look forward to each year. It brings the community together and brings the business owners together and it’s always for  a good cause.”

Diva maintenance owner Tameka Grady said taking away the few events the city has can hurt the downtown area economically.

“It’s a little disheartening to know that. Being that myself and others have put our all in trying to revive downtown and bring that type of stuff here in our community. I am definitely interested in stepping up and taking over Mardi Gras or Railfest.”

Texarkana, Arkansas city manager Dr. Kenny Haskin says he’s remaining optimistic that someone will step-up to help.

“These two events will more than likely not take place next year if we don’t secure another sponsor, volunteer group, or non-profit that’s out there. Whos’s willing to step up and partner with us to make sure these two events come true.”

Each year, the city spends about five thousand dollars on mardi gras and seven thousand on rail fest. Sponsors usually cover more than 50 percent of the costs upfront but are later reimbursed by the A&P Commission.

Local businesses gain a lot of revenue during these events due to heavy foot traffic.

“I think it’s going to be disappointing to us as a city. I think it will impact the businesses because I know they look forward to it. Especially the parade. Especially Mardi Gras. They count on these events on these specific nights because they count on marketing their own product. Especially, in light of the efforts that we’ve made as a city to create an entertainment district,” said Haskin.

The previous sponsor of mardi gras and Railfest, Townsquare media, said the move to pull away from the events was a business decision.

a Texarkana, Texas spokesperson says they have no plans to take over either of the events. As they have budgeted no funds to do so.