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story.lead_photo.caption Janelle Jessen/Herald-Leader Emcee Tyler Carroll (center), interviewed Rhonda and Keith Rutledge during the "Dancing with the Stars" inspired competition at the Main Event fundraiser for Main Street Siloam Springs on Friday evening. Bryan and Stephanie Truitt were the winners of the competition.

A record number of people attended the Main Event fundraiser for Main Street Siloam Springs on Friday evening.

The formal event, themed "Starry Night," was held in the recently completed Brick Ballroom, located in the former Dave's Appliance Store on Broadway Street. It included dinner catered by 28 Springs, a live and silent auction, and a dance competition inspired by the hit show "Dancing with the Stars."

During the evening, Kyle Dixon and Julie Chandler were named Main Street volunteers of the year.

"This is a really great excuse for us to all get together and celebrate downtown Siloam Springs because this place is so special," Main Street director Kelsey Howard told the crowd. "We have something that no one else has. Thank you so much for showing your support of this very special place."

Howard went on to share some of the highlights of the past year. She reported that more than $1.33 million was invested in downtown Siloam Springs, including projects such as facade renovation, building rehabilitation, properties sold and public improvements.

The rehabilitation projects included the event venue, which was renovated by Jason and Heather Lanker. Main Street Siloam Springs has great support on a local, state and national level to help reclaim beautiful spaces while maintaining the historic qualities, Howard said.

The Brick Ballroom received an $800,000 loan from the local consortium of five banks to make the renovation possible. The event venue was also a recipient of a Main Street mini-grant for facade restoration, Howard said.

Thanks to the progress that has been made, the downtown area now has an 89 percent occupancy rate, including nine eateries, 26 retail shops, seven salons/barbers/spas, two dance studios and many professional services.

Another highlight of the past year was Siloam Springs' bid to be featured on the HULU series "Small Business Revolution." It was chosen from more than 14,000 small towns to be in the top 20, top 10 and finally the top 5 towns, Howard said.

The campaign to be featured on the show did much more than just help Siloam Springs advance in the competition, she said.

"What it really was, was a catalyst for us all to get together and decide how are we going to communicate why this place is special," she said. "How are we going to articulate why Siloam Springs is worth preserving and enhancing, and our downtown is a place that's easy to get behind. You've got the chamber, you've got Main Street and you've got the city. It's such a beautiful thing that we took this task, all came together and said 'how are we going to make this the very best opportunity for us to show off our town to the whole country.'"

The businesses, non-profits and residents are the real heart of downtown Siloam Springs, Howard said.

"We had a great ride with the small business revolution, but what it really comes down to is the people in this picture, it really is all about the downtowners, and we are so honored to work alongside you," she said.

General News on 04/11/2018

Print Headline: Main Event draws record crowd

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