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By Todd G. Dickson
Las Cruces Bulletin
The Las Cruces City Council gave the go ahead Tuesday, Jan. 20, for officials to begin talks about the Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) resurrecting the White Sands International Film Festival.
Organizers of the film festival recently announced that the volunteer-driven annual film festival couldn’t afford to keep going. The film festival was started 10 years ago in Alamogordo, but soon movedto Las Cruces to draw more films, audiences and visiting stars.
After hearing the news, Las Cruces Mayor Ken Miyagishima quickly drafted a resolution to have city officials begin talks about CVB backing the event, which he said draws visitors and attention to Las Cruces. Miyagishima even suggested changing the festival’s name to clarify it is held in Las Cruces.
“I think having White Sands in the name was part
of the problem for the festival,” he said. “People confused it with White Sands Missile Range.”
Mayor Pro Tem Greg Smith said he opposed the name change because the White Sands film festival had gained a following and the name made it a more regional event. But Smith added he was concerned the city may run into the same financial difficulties that plagued the festival in the past Councillor Gill Sorg said he felt the festival supports the regional efforts to attract more of the film industry to southern New Mexico and Las Cruces. Perhaps the name of Las Cruces could beadded to the White Sands festival name, he said.
When asked about the cost of putting on the film festival, David Dollahon, director of the city’s Community and Cultural Services Department, said he didn’t have that answer, but talks with former festival organizers should provide those figures, which would be shared with the council at a later date.
Councillor Nathan Small said he felt the film festival complemented the city’s other events, such as the Country Music Festival. Dollahon said CVB sponsors the Country Music Festival and aims to sponsor four “signature” events a year, and the film festival could be one of those.
Dollahon said he’s not ready to say what time of year the film festival wouldbe put on. That will depend on what works best in terms of room and venue availability, he said. It took a year and half for the CVB to plan the first Country Music Festival.
Councillor Ceil Levatino said she agreed it is a good idea to not rush into setting a date for the festival until officials know more.
Councillor Miguel Silva said he was only agreeable to looking into the possibility of the city taking on the film festival, but he wants to learn more about why the original nonprofit group had to discontinue the event.
Miyagishima said felt strongly that Las Cruces has to find a way to continue the film festival as part of its efforts to attract more film industry “It was great to have stars and filmmakers visiting the city for the festival,” he said.
Mark Steffen, a city resident, said putting on a successful event would require having paid staff committed to the project, in coordination with local volunteers. He encouraged city officials to talk to the film festival’s past directors, RossMarks and David Salcido, as well as seeking corporate sponsorship.
KC Cherkasky, a teacher at Alma d’arte Charter High School, said the film festival was an important educational opportunity for local students.
Todd G. Dickson may be reached at 680-1983 or email@example.com.
‘IthinkhavingWhiteSands inthenamewaspartofthe problem for the festival People confused it with WhiteSandsMissileRange.’
MAYOR KEN MIYAGISHIMA
Saying why he thinks Las Cruces should be added to the name of White Sands International Film Festival if the city resurrects it.
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By Marissa Bond
Las Cruces Bulletin
When the Las Cruces Bridal & Special Events Showcase returns for its fifth year from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 25, the Las Cruces Convention Center will fill with cakes, photographers, chocolate fountains, elegant gowns and sharp suits – and you don’t need an exclusive invitation to get in.
Staci Delvin, event director for Helping Hands event planning, said, “Dawn Starostka, the original owner (of Helping Hands event planning) saw that there was a good market for this, there wasn’t really anything like it. … You know, we have beautiful areas, beautiful places for weddings and receptions, so it kind of just made sense to have something like that in town.”
The event will feature more than 50 vendors and include a fashion show put on by Men’s Warehouse and Renee’s Bridal.
Roxanne Kidd of Renee’s Bridal said, “People enjoy coming to see the dresses and find out what’s trending for the year. It gets brides excited about getting the gown.”
Trying on the gown, Kidd said, is a pivotal moment for most brides.
“It makes the experience more real,” she said. “Finding the right one is a special experience.”
The fashion show is for far more than brides, however. It will open with quinceñera dresses, as well as gowns for the damas and outfits for the lucky charms. This is also where some of this season’s prom dresses will be shown.
“We also like to do a sneak peak on prom, so girls have an idea of what’s coming out in 2015,” Kidd said.
Following the quinceñera and prom dresses, the models will showcase the tuxedos, the bridesmaiddresses and, finally, the wedding gowns.
If a bridal show attendee falls in love with a gown, Renee’s Bridal has a booth set up to book a time to come in and have a personalized experience.
The runway show will feature more than clothes, though. Dj Woosah will invigorate the show with music and lights, giving the attendees more vendors to consider for their own special days.
“We also have some side music entertainment that will be going on throughout the day,” Delvin said. “We have a cello duo that will just be in the hallway just putting on some music and people can come up and listen to them for a while.”
“We have a new piece in the middle of developing – a green wedding reception,” Delvin said.
“That idea was really sparked by Lucas (Herndon) over at Positive Energy Solar.
“He’s interested in reaching out into the community more, and mentioned that he had a solar trailer that they can hook up and that they have used for some events.”
If you aren’t looking to get hitched but still want to get fancy, the special events aspect is gaining attention.
“We’re definitely getting a little bit more that are not necessarily categorized by something specific to a wedding or quinceñera,” Delvin said.
Pre-sale tickets are $5, and available online at www.helpinghandsevents.com, or in person at Renee’s Bridal, 855 Spruce Ave., and Enchanted Occasions, 1333 E. Amador Ave. Tickets are $7 at the door for $7.
There is another way to get a ticket – each year of the showcase, Helping Hands event planning has partnered with the Cinderella Dress Project, which collects new and gently used prom dresses to redistribute to high school girls free of charge. Those who donate a new or gently used prom dress will receive free admission to the event.
Dresses may be brought to La Tienda de Jardin, 355 La Colonia St.
For more information, visit www. lascrucesbridalshowcase.com or the Las Cruces Bridal & Special Events Showcase Facebook page.
Marissa Bond can be reached at 680-1845 or marissa@ lascrucesbulletin.com.
‘People enjoy coming to see the dresses and find out what’s trending for the year. It gets brides excited about getting the gown.’