It’s game week for the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame’s Class of 2020 Induction Celebration, beginning Thursday and culminating Saturday evening with the Induction Warmup Reception and Induction Ceremony.
The Induction Ceremony, of course, is the focal event of the weekend, when the 11 people in the Class of 2020 officially are enshrined.
The Warmup Reception is a new event limited to those who have purchased tickets or tables for the Induction Ceremony. The reception begins at 5 in the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum, and lasts until 6:45. The ceremony kicks off promptly at 7 at the Natchitoches Events Center, as it has for years.
For tickets, and more information about the inductees and other events, visit LaSportsHall.com or call 318-238-4255. Purchases for Saturday’s events will be open through Friday.
The new reception at the museum was conceived last fall as LSHOF officials dealt with pandemic restrictions while trying to stage the 2020 Induction in mid-December. That was ultimately postponed, but the concept’s merits moved forward.
In past years, too many guests who came in only for the Induction Ceremony never saw the widely-acclaimed museum since it opened in 2013. The local museum staff opened the doors all day on Sunday, and will again this year, but many Induction Ceremony patrons headed home Saturday night or early Sunday and never saw the New Inductee Exhibit or all the other fascinating material in the two-story, 27,000-square foot museum just a couple hundred feet away from the Events Center.
When the fall pandemic protocols limited the size of the crowd able to attend the Induction Ceremony, one simple way to maximize that number was to eliminate serving a meal at the Events Center. That provided several dozen more seats for guests while capacity was limited to 250.
The limitations have long since been scaled back and capacity at the Events Center is no longer a concern. But the merits of showcasing the museum have led to the decision to serve patrons at the reception an abundant array of top-shelf hors d’oeuvres in lieu of a sit-down meal, accompanied by all the other amenities including refreshments, bar service and music.
The doors to the Events Center for the Induction Ceremony will open at 6. For guests who don’t attend the reception at the museum, there will be some light appetizers such as mini-meat pies, along with refreshments, bar service and the opportunity to view and bid on an impressive collection of auction items and experiences benefitting the LSHOF Foundation.
Cox Sports Television will go live from the Events Center at 6, and precisely an hour later, as the clock strikes 7, the Induction Ceremony tips off with the always stirring Walk of Legends, followed immediately by the inductions of each of the 11 honored guests.
Saturday evening’s reception and ceremony are the only two events during the Induction Celebration with an upscale dress code – coat and tie, or at least a blazer and open collar, is requested of the gentlemen, with corresponding-level dresses or pantsuits for the ladies.
Along with the inductees, dozens of past inductees are expected to attend. The opportunity to star-gaze is there, especially at the receptions at the museum and in the Events Center leading up to 7 o’clock Saturday night. Who knows? The 2019 guests were treated to a group shot of the LSHOF’s three father-son combinations: Billy Hardin, representing himself and his late father Slats; Archie and Peyton Manning; and Bert and Dub Jones.
There are sure to be some memorable sights and sounds Saturday night at this Hall of Fame induction.