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Street Talk

Low Cost Entertainment Right Here At Home

By Mickey Howley

Last week Lance Herrington was in town. You might not know Lance, but he has been a regular visitor to Water Valley. His day job is with Ole Miss and he has a joint appointment as instructor of non-western art in the Art Department and as Coordinator of Instructional Support for the ESL (English as a second language) Program. Well, it is a big title and what he was doing in Water Valley was job related. This summer he is teaching an intensive English language course for visiting foreign students as part of Ole Miss’s Outreach Program and last week he put all of his students in a van and drove them to Water Valley.

These kids, I should say “young people” as they were called by the afternoon coffee crew regulars at Turnage Drug Store as they trooped in, are from all over. This class has students from South America, Africa, Asia and Europe. Lance was looking for an authentic Mississippi experience to show these students — and did he drive them around Oxford? No. Water Valley, for him, and for lots of us, is the real deal. Genuine people, real accents, and a great soda fountain.  His students loved it, he practically had to force them back in the van because they wanted to stay and look around a lot longer.

Another load of kids, in a Suburban not a van, going to Turnage’s last week was driven by Pam Taylor. I had a conversation with Pam and she had some great ideas on some free or low cost things to do this summer if you have a crew of kids needing to get out but not go far. Here are her suggestions:

One – Music in the Park.  Every Friday night in Railroad Park the Chamber is sponsoring a band. It is free and fun for the whole family. (This Friday’s show is the last for the season.)

Two – North Mississippi Fish Hatchery and Visitor Education Center. Long name, but only a short drive out to I-55 where there are plenty of cool fish to see. Admission under two dollars.

Three – Blackmur Library. Get those kids doing some summer reading. There is a kids reading room, plenty of variety in reading materials, a nice air conditioned space, and it is free.

Four – Tennis Courts. Look for some garage sale racquets and get a few balls. We’ve got some great courts around town waiting to be used.

Five – Vacation Bible School. A number of churches are doing this, and it will get the kids out of your hair for some time. Cost varies.

Six – Watermelon Carnival. Okay, it will be hot this year, but kids love it. Put it on your calendar: July 31st and August 1st.  There will be a special event on Friday night. Surprise.

Seven – Movie On Main. This Saturday, June 13th at sunset, Main Street is showing the film “ The Sandlot,” a baseball story for children, on the corner of Panola and Main. Coming in July is “Independence Day.”  All films are free and popcorn is available.

Eight – Farmers Market. It’s every Saturday from eight to eleven under the big magnolia on Main Street. Get those kids trained to shop local and fresh.

Nine – Turnage Drug Store. Follow Lance’s and Pam’s lead and hit the soda fountain. Cool refreshments priced right. My favorite is the Purple Cow, a little taste of paradise on a hot summer afternoon.

Ten – Railroad Museum.  A great insight into what got this town going. Kids and adults should know and see the exhibits. Check for opening hours.

Last week’s survey on parking had near 60 percent loving the parking situation on Main Street. Visit for this week’s survey on your favorite low cost local summer things to do.

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