By Mickey Howley
The National Main Street convention was in New Orleans last weekend thru Wednesday. The conference focus was “Cultural Economy” and how main streets across the country are the place where local culture and economy intersect. Main Streets are where the culinary arts, creative spaces, and local retail really shine.
That kind of economic activity works best downtown. And in this aspect of economic development Mississippi has been one of the leaders in figuring out this works.
Led by an initiative started by Malcolm White when he was at the Mississippi Arts Commission and along with the Mississippi Development Authority, these two state agencies have analyzed how – as they call it – the “creative economy” impacts the state.
And at the National Convention, Mississippi’s creative economy was a big part of the first day – a three-hour panel with many voices as to how that benefits the state. In a wide-ranging panel with folks from state agency heads to small town business owners, all described and detailed how doing business downtown on Main Street works. Water Valley was on this panel as an example of how the combination of a small town with creative businesses function in the overall economic story. MDA asked Julia Ray of Julia Ray Designs and Kagan Coughlin of the BTC Grocery to speak about their experience and success on our Main Street.
There is still time to train for the World’s Largest Crappie Festival 5k race and two mile walk. Get out and start easy, but keep it steady and do it regular! Borg Warner is sponsoring this event and it is part of Borg Warner’s overall health initiative. Here at the National Main Street conference one of the key buzz themes is “walkabilty.” Walkability is the idea that it is easy and safe to go by foot in town. Walking downtown is smart, healthy, easy, and costs nothing but shoe leather. It is Borg Warner’s idea is to create fun community wide event as a key part in getting that walkablity message across. Borg Warner is really fostering an effort that – even though they are in the business of developing and making automobile driveline components – that regular walking is the best thing one can do for personal health.
The Crappie Fest also has the Magnolia Crappie Club holding fishing tournament at Enid Lake, prizes and bragging right are there to be had for the best crappie fisherman or woman. Be sure to check out www.magnoliacrappieclub.com for information.
And mark you calendars for May 4 for the Crappie Fest.
Check out Fiddler’s Loft this Friday at 7 p.m. as Water Valley’s acoustic showcase presents its final show of the spring season with Oxford duo Buki & Immie and New Orleans acoustic axemonster Jimmy Robinson. Plus special guest electronic composer Reiko Yamada!