There have been signs and banners around the City of Altus with its name displayed for the community to see.
It has been talked about on Facebook and the radio, by people in the community and the members of its committee, and it has grown tremendously in the near two years since its creation.
It started out as a program the people of Altus could rally around with hopes and aspirations that it could bring more live entertainment to Altus, and it has grown into something that now has its hand in a little bit of everything.
It is Altus Live and it was started in December 2014 by the Chamber of Commerce and a group of volunteers who all held the belief that the community would benefit greatly from live entertainment events like music and movies, and that events hosted by volunteers would provide opportunities for local families to get out of the house and have fun in the city they call home.
One of the many events that Altus Live hosts for the community is Movies in the Park.
The 2nd annual Movies in the Park event kicked off May 19, with the “Jungle Book” and has since shown “Cars,” “Mighty Ducks,” “Parent Trap” and “Monster’s Inc.”
Weather has often played a factor in this event — which takes place every two weeks on Thursday evenings at 8 p.m. — but the volunteers who are there to make it all happen never let rain get them down. When it does rain, they move the movie to the Expo Center.
The movies are shown on Thursday evenings so as to not affect Heritage Park Theater show times.
Last summer, Movies in the Park had on average 80-100 people attend each movie. This summer, the turnout has not been quite what they were expecting.
“We’ve never had any more than five families show up to a movie this summer,” said Altus Live member Sophie Stoeckl. “It costs quite a bit to put this on each time and the only money made is through concessions and sometimes that’s not enough to keep the concession stand fully stocked. If it doesn’t pick up, we probably won’t be able to do this again next year.”
All of the money that comes into the concession stand is put right back into the Movies in the Park program. Without concession money, the volunteers would have to provide money from their own pockets for expenses.
There is a desperate need for community involvement for Movies in the Park to return next summer.
The next movie will be “Aladdin” on July 28, followed by “Finding Nemo” on Aug. 11, “Toy Story” on Aug. 25, “Willy Wonka” on Sept. 9 and “Up” on Sept. 16.
But Altus Live is more than just movies and in August, the annual event dubbed Crazy Days is coming.
Aug. 12-13, Altus Live and the Altus Chamber of Commerce are kicking off their annual event that promotes local shopping and there are expected to be huge sales going on at most of the retail stores.
Also, the Chamber is teaming up with Main Street Altus to provide live entertainment on the square, at Bunker Hill Shopping Center and at the Altus Plaza Shopping Center. The owner’s of the shopping centers have been very supportive and have offered financial assistance to bring this together.
There will be events with coupon giveaways, as well as bounce houses for the children in attendance. There will also be an opportunity for shoppers to turn in their receipts as proof of shopping local and earn an opportunity to win a cash prize.
The original idea behind Altus Live was to bring more concerts to the area and so far, it has been successful in doing that.
This past Christmas, country music singer Bryan White — “So Much for Pretending” and “God Gave Me You” — took the stage for the Candy Cane Cash sweepstakes.
This coming fall, “The Great Divide” will kick-off September 30’s Harvest Fest. Although the show is free to attend, there will be an opportunity for the community to purchase VIP tickets.
Bringing live music to Altus is still one of Altus Live’s main goals and they use many different avenues to do so.
Art Affair on the Square is a relatively new creation in which Altus residents can walk around the square to look at artwork from many different artists from around Altus and the state of Oklahoma as well as take part in the event’s Wine Walk — people can taste test and purchase a bottle of wine from an Oklahoma winery — and enjoy live music.
The committee works hard to bring new and exciting events to Altus so that residents have something to enjoy in town at any time during the year. They are all volunteers who have regular jobs but spend a lot of their free time hosting events for the community. It is a group effort that relies heavily on participation by residents to continue uninterrupted and is a great opportunity to show the area growth potential to citizens and to consider some events that were once thought impossible.
“One of my biggest goals in doing what we do through the Chamber and through our programs is to let people see what we’re capable of as a community,” Chamber President and CEO Brian Bush said. “We have some of the greatest business owners who are so generous and so helpful and they’re so great at what they do. The things we have to offer as a community are really, really good and it’s such a great quality of life for all of those reasons.”
For more information on Altus Live and upcoming events, visit Facebook page at facebook.com/AltusLive.
Reach Ryan Lewis at 580-482-1221, ext. 2076.