Kiwanis Club inducts new member and prepares for Fall Festival

Don Helms sponsors Amanda Dubois, Branch Manager at Regions Bank, Ponchatoula. Also pictured Bill Poland, Kiwanis President (Photo courtesy of Liz Anderson)


Special to The Times

The Ponchatoula Kiwanis Club inducted Amanda Dubois, Branch Manager at Regions Bank, Ponchatoula as its newest 2017 member.  Ms. Dubois was sponsored by Don Helms, long-time Kiwanis member. Kiwanis is always looking for new members interested in serving the community as well as having great fellowship at its weekly Wednesday meeting and luncheon.

At last week’s meeting, Kalle’ Siekkinen, the artist who designed the 2015 Strawberry Festival poster, spoke about his growing fame since creating the controversial poster. Kalle’ has since opened his own gallery on St. Ann St. in New Orleans and his artwork has been in numerous TV shows and movies.  Kalle’ considers himself an “outsider artist” because he’s had no formal training. He enjoys using recycled materials and experimenting with a variety of styles and materials.

Shelley McNemar, Kiwanis President-Elect, welcomes presenter Kalle’ Siekkinen, Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival Poster artist 2015 (Photo courtesy of Liz Anderson)

The Ponchatoula Kiwanis will be holding its annual Teacher Appreciation Breakfast, 7 a.m. Wednesday, August 9 at at the Kiwanis Log Cabin for all interested Ponchatoula public school educators.  “We feel this is one of the most important support events we hold during the year,” stated Bill Poland, Ponchatoula Kiwanis President.  Kiwanis will serve sausage, eggs, grits, and biscuits.

Preparations are being made for the Ponchatoula Fall Festival to be held Friday, September 29-Sunday October 1, 2017

Members are actively seeking sponsors for the event.  Sponsorships begin at $100 and top out at $5000.  Brian Steib is coordinating sponsors.  He can be contacted by emailing

Eddie Barker is also spreading the word about the BCA BBQ competition to be held Saturday, September 30 during the Fall Festival.  “We will need plenty of judges for all categories.  The three categories will be chicken, brisket, and ribs. Being a judge is a great way to taste some of the best BBQ in the South by some of the best cooks,” said Eddie Barker.

“To register as a BBQ judge, you can contact me directly by emailing We are also looking for backyard BBQers who would be interested in competing.  We will have $5000 in prize money, so it’s a great way to have fun and maybe even win a significant prize.”

Live music has also been arranged for the festival.  On Friday Jubilation! will perform in the evening.  Saturday, Impaired Faculties, the Dominos Band, and Clifton Brown and the Rusty Buckets will perform.  The last day of the festival has been designated Gospel Sunday. Voices of Excellence and Chronicle gospel groups will perform.

The Fall Festival is designed to be family fun for all ages.  Besides live music and a BBQ competition, the fair will feature rides, craft vendors, food vendors, the Kliebert Alligator Petting Zoo, and the PHS FFA petting zoo.  This is the fair’s second year and the organizers, members of the Ponchatoula Kiwanis Club are looking forward to a great turnout.  Monies raised will go to support local organizations and the public school system.