Bunkie Trade Days fills Main Street with vendors, shoppers

It was a bit warm for a Fall festival, but there weren’t any complaints from the vendors or the shoppers at this past Saturday’s Bunkie Trade Days on Main Street.

“We had over 30 vendors selling a variety of goods,” Bunkie Chamber of Commerce President Lele Soileau said. “There was jewelry, arts and crafts, food and we had a ‘pumpkin patch’ like we have had in the past.”

Soileau said most of the vendors were from the Bunkie area, but there were also a few from neighboring communities.

“We even had some 3rd graders selling handmade rosaries,” Soileau noted.

As many as 1,000 visitors passed through the line of vendors booths on Main Street during the day.

POPULAR IN THE PAST

“Trade Days was a popular tradition in Bunkie back in the 1940s into the ‘60s,” Soileau said. “We decided to bring it back.”

This was the fourth edition of the “new” Trade Days tradition.

“The main purpose is to boost economic development and encourage people to shop at their local stores,” Soileau said. “It is not a money-maker for the Chamber. It is part of an overall effort to revitalize Main Street.”

Soileau said it is not only Bunkie’s Main Street that needs help in today’s society.

“Marksville, Mansura and many other towns also need help in bringing activity back to their Main Streets,” she noted.

Bunkie is fortunate that its Main Street -- U.S. Hwy 71 -- still has a lot of businesses open.

Other communities located away from a major highway have seen their once vibrant commercial districts dry up into economic ghost towns.

“This year’s Trade Days was very well-attended,” Soileau said. “Some vendors said it seemed like there was less foot traffic than last year, but then they said last year’s sales were so good they brought more merchandise.

“We (Chamber) are super-pleased with the turnout,” she continued. “We have only received compliments. Everybody had a good time.”

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