Labor Day Weekend Glo Fest Returns to Riverview Park

Join local artist & publisher Mimi Rankin Webb & student Zion Washington & enjoy their light shows!

By Publisher Mimi Rankin Webb Macaroni KID Shreveport Bossier ~for Moms In the Know August 26, 2023

This coming Friday evening, I'd like you to join me at 7:30pm down in Riverview Park here in Downtown Shreveport as we kick off Labor Day Weekend with a VERY special ONE TIME SHOWING of my light show programmed especially for the newly re-lit Texas Street Bridge.

Year before last, I had the pleasure of working with the #LightItUP project alongside 3 other area artist as we taught area school students how to work with and program light shows for the Bakowski Bridge of Lights.

You can check out one of our students' light shows this Friday evening as well and enjoy the beautiful work of Green Oaks student Zion Washington.

As a part of the same project, I was commissioned to create a 20 minute specialty light show which eventually evolved into two seperate shows.

The first show featured all of the Adopt-A-Lighter's who adopted a light to help fund future incarnations of our program so that we can continue to teach area students how to learn to program and create shows of their own for the bridge.

Check out this specially created show here featuring a locally commissioned remix musical adaptation of the Close Encounters of the Third Kind theme song created specially for this show by local artist John Lomax who worked with me on creating this project.

If you would like to see a little about how exactly these shows are created, click HERE to check out the video that shows you how it's all done.

Screen captures show first the actual programming itself in the Pharos Lighting Design Software, then the preview of the design running on the bridge template which is what the artist sees as they create the program and finally followed by footage of the actual show itself at its debut of the design on the Bridge to put the entire process into perspective.  

Note that the artist generally does not have the ability to see the design play on the bridge before it debuts and must work off of the template only to visualize the final product.

You'll have to come out this Friday evening to check out my second light show that I created especially for Labor Day Weekend! Working with the bridge has been one of the most exhilarating projects I have ever been a part of.

The Glo Fest Event will also feature live music, an arts markets, a kids area, food truck court, street performances by Spinner Entertainment, and more!

Arts Market Vendors: Createithannah, Adriana Rios, From Mother to Daughter, Rudeboyz Artworks, Love Medley Accessories, Keeta Bee's LLC, Abbye Lynne Falkner, Tenisha Bullock, Healing Water's Candles, and Jacorrian Jackson. 

Food Vendors: No Teeth BBQ, Miami Latin Kitchen, Mi Meza, LLC, Latin Cuisine, Cotton Candy Crush LLC, and WonderStick.

Bring your own lawn chairs and head down around 7:30pm to enjoy the festival, or if it's too hot for you, head down around 8:30pm when it gets dark and catch the Glo Show portion and maybe have some dinner with us!

You can check out more of my work on my website here if you like and be sure to come out and visit me and my family this Halloween Season as we collaborate with our friends at Necromanor at the Boardwalk as well!

Some of you may remember how, back in 1993, the bridge was adorned with neon and lit for the first time in a static design by the late artist Rockne Krebs using neon and glass tubes at a time when even public art wasn't all that common much less the thought or notion of lighting bridges.

This catapulted the Texas Street bridge aka "The Neon Bridge" straight into icon-status and temporarily into history as a symbol of unity between the two cities of Shreveport - Bossier at a time when the casinos had yet to even arrive in the area and before the boardwalk was built. 

Neon shines only as bright as the glass that contains it, and over time, the vibrations from heavy traffic snuffed out the lights and along with it, the original design. 

Eventually, about 2014, the bridge went dark entirely after it was determined that there literally was no safe or easy way to restore it back to its former glory.

Even before the bridge went dark, there were people hard at work, searching for a way to relight the bridge. 

Lessons learned from the first installation along with new innovation and technology meant that much sturdier LED lights would work well for the purpose, however money still was needed to make it happen.

Grants were written, donors came on board and the project began to take shape. Local artists and educators joined the project and on the evening of Tuesday February 22, 2022, years of hard work and anticipation was shared with locals across the area as we relit the Texas Street Bridge once again.

Along with the lighting of the new LED installation, the event was memoralized with a group wedding ceremony at the bridge. 

Just like the 1993 celebration, brides and grooms gathered in front of the bridge at Riverview Park, ready to tie the knot and commemorate this historic Shreveport/Bossier City moment.

The Texas Street Bridge has been re-lit in large part due to a $1M donation from Dr. and Mrs. George Bakowski that allowed installation of 13,000 LEDs which interactively illuminate 2,982 feet of what opened in 1934 as the Long/Allen Bridge. 

The new interactive LED lighting heralded a transformational era of urban design pairing artists with technology experts to harness the power of artful lighting. 

You will see the team working on overall long-term bridge project, meet area students who are in the process of learning to design shows for the bridge as well as enjoy food trucks, an arts market, music and MORE!

TONS of FREE entertainment and glow artistry of all sorts will be on hand to deLIGHT you as Shreveport Bossier joins together as we #LightItUp!