By Mickey Howley
Often an event that was postponed doesn’t have the turnout you would have wished for. That rescheduling thing just throws everybody off. But that was not the case last Friday with the late night downtown and Main Street Carriage rides.
Originally scheduled for Friday, Dec. 5, Chamber president Tyler Hill made the right call to postpone the event a week because it would have been a total washout. And the big surprise was not that the weather co-operated the second time, but the crowds came out. Main Street was fully parked up, people on the sidewalks and in Railroad Park and going in and out of all those businesses that stayed open late – like it ought to be this time of the year. The horse and carriages clomped and rolled, Frosty the Snowman made his way in and out of stores. I saw dozens of folks take selfies with the big Frosty one. It was a lot of fun and that’s how Main Street can be, everybody relaxed and enjoying it.
So this week don’t let up, keep that shopping local. Don’t quit, even if you have most of your Christmas shopping done. And for those you who believe you have that “task” completed, isn’t it a bit anticlimactic? I mean you hustle and bustle and then you have to wait a couple of weeks. Get back out there and keep the season going!
And in all this you should eat out in the Valley. Just downtown alone there is a whole group of locally owned eating establishments where you can have a great lunch or dinner. Between Friends, Main Attraction, The BTC, D&D House of BBQ, Crawdad Hole, El Charrito, Nallie’s, China Star and Hometown Pizza. That’s eight local eating places just in downtown and a big jump in downtown options from 5 years ago—and don’t forget the take out/quick options at Sprint Mart, Sonic, Piggly Wiggly, and Subway. That’s a pretty good concentration for a town this size, lots of places our size or much larger would be jealous.
I’ll tell you there are a 100 other towns jealous of Water Valley and only three others like us. Ocean Springs, Hattiesburg, and Kiln (which technically isn’t a town) along with Water Valley are the only towns in the state that have craft breweries and the only towns where you can enjoy the locally produced brew on tap downtown. Guess what jealous big boys wanna to be like us? Gulfport, Tupelo, Jackson, Starkville, and Oxford. That’s right, they all have plans and some are constructing breweries now, but we’re setting the pace in the north half of the state. So after a hard day of shopping, you can dine out and relax and have a local draft with your meal. Don’t get much better.
If you have been watching the daily transformation of the five buildings that make up Mechanics Bank downtown you can’t help but notice scale of the work. It is a really big undertaking and facelift. I’d say the work and commitment Mechanics is making to downtown… you know they could have moved to the edge of town and built something new…is a strong statement about the confidence they have in the future here. And in the future of downtown Water Valley. So if you bank with them, just know the current inconvenience will be replaced with a structure meant to last for time, function on a modern level, and be contributing part to the downtown’s historic commercial character. It is looking great.