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Saltillo expands Main Street events, hosts Lucky Leprechaun 5K

 

By Cristina Carreon

Daily Journal

 

TUPELO – Lindsey Hines was hired to the Downtown Main Street Association to help revitalize Saltillo, and two years later, area events are starting to pick up along with city development. In late 2016, a representative from the DMSA came to survey the city.

 

“Becoming a member of the Mississippi Main Street Association opened us up to all of their resources when it comes to things like design, organization, promotion economic vitality. So, instead of us having to start from scratch, it’s kind of like a marketing and development model, people think it’s just about events, but events are just part of the program,” Hines said.

 

Hines has looked to cities like Baldwyn and New Albany, who have also become Main Street certified in recent years, for inspiration.

 

“It takes time, it’s taken them seven or eight years to really see the fruits of their labors, and I think that is encouraging for us because we are going on our third year since we were designated,” Hines said.

 

Hines says she enjoys the work, but because it is a brand new position, she has done a lot of learning on her own.

 

“It’s been a learning process, and with that comes ups and downs, but I feel like this where I’m supposed to be," she said. "It’s kind of intimidating, especially in a smaller town, because you’re more under the microscope, but you have to be open. Yes, it’s my job; but it’s a team effort."

 

Hines said the association is focusing on hosting just a few quality family-oriented events each year as opposed to having multiple events and not getting as big a turnout.

“We’re trying to figure out what people here want to do, and there’s a lot of feedback," she said. "People have great ideas, but getting people to the events is the difficult part, so we want to be selective in what kind of events we do.”

 

One thing Hines said has led to greater event attendance is recent rapid downtown revitalization. Eight downtown buildings previously belonging to an absentee owner living in Ohio, were recently sold to the city, and several new businesses will open soon as a result.

 

“At the end of 2016 when the four buildings were donated to the city, someone else purchased the other four on the south side," Hines said. "That was huge, now all of the buildings are occupied or have been purchased.”

 

Kinfolks restaurant, a new antiques mall and a hair salon are opening soon downtown. The city is looking to open a coffee shop soon as well, and DB’s Floral Designs ‘N' More recently purchased a 3,000-square-foot space from the absentee owner to move the shop into larger quarters.

 

“You can sense a little bit of excitement from everybody," Hines said. "I feel like people are excited and there’s interest even from people that aren’t living in Saltillo, that are now looking to move their business here.”

 

On April 2, Saltillo will host its third annual Downtown Git-Down Car and Bike Show, which will feature events all day and three food trucks, as well as more room due to the recent reclamation of downtown space.

“If we do something well and slowly grow it in the right way, it can be successful and I’m proud of that; we had more people last year than the year before,” Hines said.

 

This summer, Saltillo will host a Dinner & Music in the Park event, which was once held over a three-month period, but Hines observed other Main Street Association communities that just hold the event once a week during a one-month time period. The Association is also working on putting up a new “Welcome to Saltillo” sign.

 

Hines said her experience, so far, has shown her one can never prepare too early, as well as how to take constructive criticism and work effectively with others – relationships with city and business owners, and social media.

 

“I’ve become a sounding board for people, for what they’d like to see or get done,” she said.

 

Saltillo hosted the city’s first Lucky Leprechaun 5K and pancake breakfast Saturday morning with more than 50 local runners showing up in green tutus, shirts and hats to join the community-wide event celebrating St. Patrick’s Day.

 

“This is something, you know, the 5K and the pancake breakfast, that families can come enjoy together on Saturday morning and maybe linger around downtown at our shops," Hines said. "So we like the idea of focusing on family-friendly events.”

 

Weather during the city’s Mardi Gras Party 5K in February led to cancellation, so a St. Patrick’s Day made up for that this weekend.

 

Co-owners of Kinfolks restaurant, Seth Copeland and Jeremy Lewis, grew up in and around Saltillo, and decided to offer their restaurant space and kitchens to prepare the pancake breakfast for Saltillo runners as well as folks with tickets. Copeland is also a co-owner of Neon Pig restaurant in Tupelo.

 

“We want to do anything we can to support Saltillo," Copeland said. "The city asked us to do it and make money off the tickets, but we told them if they'd buy the stuff, we’d just cook it for them.”

 

The owners dished up 100 servings of pancakes, sausages and eggs after the race; others stopped by for breakfast during the race.

 

Kathryn Murf and her three daughters waited at the finish line for her husband to join them for a well-deserved, post-run breakfast.

 

“I don’t run, but my husband’s in the race,” Murf said.

 

Fire services and law enforcement officials parked a block from the finish line to high five and encourage runners near the end of the race, while family and friends waited outside Saltillo’s newest eatery, Kinfolks, which will officially open Monday.

 

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Mississippi Main Street Association
P.O. Box 55747 | Jackson, MS 39296
Phone: 601/944-0113
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District Offices:
P.O. Box 445 | Columbus, MS 39703 | 662- 364-0435
426 Northpointe Lake Dr. | Oxford, MS 38655 | 601-941-5409
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Mississippi Main Street is a program of the National Main Street
Center and the Mississippi Development Authority