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Street Talk

Downtown Provides Beautiful Holiday Setting

By Mickey Howley

By the time you read this article there will be two weeks of shopping left until Christmas. If your holiday shopping is like mine, you have some gifts already bought, wrapped and shipped; some gifts still in process, and for some people not even a clue as to what to do.

Think about shopping locally. Let me quote Vicksburg Main Street director Kim Hopkins who said: “Shopping locally helps put food on the table of our local merchants and it helps our police, fire and sheriff’s departments keep our downtown and city vibrant.”  What Kim says for Vicksburg applies in Water Valley as well. Money spent here benefits the town as a whole and keeps our business district busy.

Some of our Main Street merchants have mentioned to me that they have been to Germany in the winter and seen what towns (even small ones) do this time of year to keep money local.  

Every German town has what they call either a Weihnachts-markt or a Christkindlemarkt. Going by either name it is basically an outdoor Christmas market. Set up right in the middle of downtown, it is a series of open huts operated by local merchants and regional artisans who sell small hand-crafted gifts. You’ll find ornaments, toys, art, and other handicrafts at these markets and you can sample Christmas cookies and chocolates. People literally travel from around the world to go from town to town to attend these markets. Winter weather in northern Europe is cold, but if you bundle up, wear warm shoes and a hat, and drink lots of hot liquids, you can shop as hard and long as in any mall. These small German towns have figured out a way to both compete and co-operate with each other at the same time so that each participating town benefits.

Water Valley may be a long way from Germany, but it provides a beautiful Christmas setting. During the holiday season, the lighted up the downtown district looks every bit as cute and inviting as the Christmas markets far away.  Even though the leaves are off the trees and the weather can be cold and dreary, having downtown lighted up at night brings welcoming warmth on the coldest winter night. Our city and electric department put much effort into keeping the downtown lights up, and this effort is really worth it. This is a special time of the year when Water Valley looks “simply charming.”

The Water Valley Arts Council Chair-ity Auction was mucho fun. Auctioneer P.J. Blount had the crowd laughing and sometimes even bidding against themselves. All of the 24 ArtChairs were auctioned off and brought in over $1,700 dollars in the process. Every penny will benefit the summer art camp for children. This whole project was a great group effort. Kudos to the Water Valley Arts Council! If you attended the auction you know this: the Arts Council is really bringing the power and the fun of the arts to our downtown.

Last week’s survey asked how many hours you sat in front of the TV on Thanksgiving. The largest slot was 3 hours, but sizable amount of respondents answered from 12 to 20 hours. See for this week’s survey on holiday habits.

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