MARION, La. (KTVE/KARD) — A Louisiana town is competing in a state contest, which it has won several times before, all while continuing an annual tradition during the month of May. On Wednesday, May 4, 2022, the Town of Marion La., Mayor Danny A. Smith hosted the Louisiana Cleanest City Contest Judging Reception. According to Mayor Smith, three judges attended.

“We enjoyed them, and they seemed to enjoy being here too,” Smith said. “The reception was at 9:00 a.m., this morning at our Marion Fire Station.”

According to Mayor Smith, the town’s garden club, town employees, some town trustees and citizens all worked extremely hard to get the town ready for the reception.

“I think it went really well,” Mayor Smith said. “I think we had the town in good shape.”

The Town of Marion has won the Cleanest City Contest district competition 10 consecutive times, except for the COVID break. It has won the State Cleanest City Contest nine times, according to Mayor Smith.

“Today was state, so it may be the 10th time. We’ve won the cleanest city of all six out of nine times. And that’s regardless if it’s Shreveport, Baton Rouge, or if it’s now a place with 200 people… and this time could be seven out of ten. We’ll see,” Mayor Smith said. “It’s a great feeling, but it comes with a price. It’s a lot of commitment that goes into that, a lot of dedication and a lot of just pure work.”

According to Mayor Smith, during the contest participants must learn the system of what judges are looking for.

“I’m real grateful and real proud that our town has been this successful with the cleanest city contest,” Mayor Smith said.

Mayor Smith said that businesses and people look for cities that are attractive and clean before they move there. According to Mayor Smith, Marion’s four-acre walking trail is nice and includes a bridge.

“But if you can do enough things like that in my opinion, you stand a chance of people wanting to move to your town,” Mayor Smith said.

For the Cleanest City Contest judges to be interested in a place, it must meet their criteria. The Town of Marion has things those other small places do not have, including a medical center, a pharmacy, a Dollar General and a food mart.

“We have some things going for us,” Mayor Smith said. “We just need to keep building and growing to where it’s more attractive to more people.”

Town of Marion hosts 39th Annual Mayhaw Festival 2022

Photo courtesy of the Mayhaw Festival Facebook page

A popular town tradition will continue starting on Friday, May 6, 2022, through Sunday, May 8. The 39th Annual Mayhaw Festival starts with a new event addition this year. The Town of Marion will host the 1st Annual Marion Mayhaw Fest Banquet. It is scheduled for 6:30 p.m., on Thursday, May 5, 2022, at the First Baptist Church Family Life Center.

“It’s nice. It has a lot of parking, and we appreciate them letting us use that facility,” Mayor Smith said.

According to Mayor Smith, internationally known artist and author Don Cincone will be the guest speaker.

“He’ going to bring some of his books and sell those, and he told me that he would contribute $10 of every book he sells to us for our town causes,” Mayor Smith said. “He’s going to be a great speaker. We are going to be having some awards, one being Citizen of the Year.”

The two causes include the Marion Volunteer Fire Department and the Marion Community Center. According to Smith, the main thing he wanted to do was to honor the Marion Volunteer Fire Department.

“They’re all volunteers and I want them to know that it’s not unnoticed. That it is appreciated,” Mayor Smith said.

The Marion Community Center Board of Directors will be honored as well.

“That’s the former Marion School property and what we’re trying to do is save some of the buildings there,” Mayor Smith said. “We want to flip those buildings and we can use those for some community needs.”

According to Mayor Smith, he has talked with the Union Parish Librarian about having a satellite library in Marion.

“She likes the idea. She said she would certainly work with me on that,” Mayor Smith said. “We want to take that auditorium and restore it and have events there again.”

The Town of Marion is looking to have a tutoring lab, and according to Mayor Smith he knows where to get computers for it, which would be provided as a contribution from a business. The mayor also wants to have a community wellness workout facility. The banquet will have music and of course food.

“A really good friend of mine is very talented. He can sing and play,” Mayor Smith said. “We have a good caterer. It’s going to be fun. We sold 200 seats.”

According to Mayor Smith, on Friday, May 6, the same group, Robin Cox will perform at the old Marion School Gym or the Marion Community Center for 6:00 p.m.

“I named this group the Mayhaw Pickers,” Mayor Smith said. “It will be a small admission for them to come in. We’ll have some drinks and light refreshments, and they’ll probably go from six until nine.”

The admission is $5 and children 12-years-old and under can enter free.

This year another the town added another a new event to the Mayhaw Festival, which is the Louisiana Trust for Historic Preservation “Mine Ramble Tour.” This event begins on Saturday, May 7, in Farmerville, La. at the Edgewood Plantation, then goes on to the Union Parish Museum of History and Art, continues at the old Union Community Action Building located on Highway 33 (Marion Highway) and a stop is planned at the Historic Liberty Hill Primitive Baptist Church (between Farmerville and Marion) at Liberty Church Road. But, after arriving in Marion, the remaining tour sites will be the historic Circa 1850 Hopkins House, home of Ann and Mayor Smith, then the Pristine Methodist Church located at Taylor Street and finally the old Rosenwald School (also located on Taylor Street).

To register for the “Mini Ramble Tour” visit this link.

The Mayhaw Festival events continue on Saturday, May 7, 2022, with a parade, live music, a kiddie horse carousel ride, food, craft and business vendors, a car show, ATV rides for the children, face painting and much more. All festival activities will be at the Marion Community Center (former Marion School Property) located at 3602 Taylor Street in Marion, La. Again, all proceeds benefit the Marion Volunteer Fire Department and the Marion Community Center.

“We hope they come Friday night to the singing,” Mayor Smith said. “But then on Saturday morning, there’s going to be plenty of vendors. Different types of food. There’s going to be fried fish plates, seafood, shrimp, barbeque, hot dogs, just a variety of foods.”

The Marion Garden Club will be selling a variety roses, something that Mayor Smith said is good for Mother’s Day on Sunday, May 8. There will even be livestock sold, which will be chickens and ducks. The organizations of DART, Union General Hospital, Marion State Bank and other business vendors will also attend.

The parade lineup will be at 10:30 a.m. and it will roll out at 11:00 a.m.

“What we’re really targeting this year is the children,” Mayor Smith said. “Something for them to do that they can enjoy.”

For more information about the Mayhaw Fest visit their website and Facebook page.