Photo by Sue Watson
Sandra Young (left) tastes some smoked turkey and ham prepared and served by Tyler Clancy, owner of Clancy’s Cafe.
Photos by Sue Watson
Susie Hill (left) serves cake to Alisea McLeod.
Molly Kate Carter entertains at Little Women, a gift and antique shop that just opened in downtown Holly Springs.
Robin Seale and Becky Cupp visit shops during the Holly Springs Holiday Open House November 15.
Downtown Holiday Open House a huge success
Friends, family, visitors and guests gathered round the court square Tuesday night, Nov. 15, to share food, fellowship, and the holiday season.
This is the sixth year Holly Springs has held downtown Holiday Open House where friends gather round to catch up on the talk, walk about the square eating food, and do some early shopping for Christmas gifts.
The crowd this year, consisting of in-town community members and out-of-town guests and shoppers, was larger and there was more to see and do. Open House is sponsored by the Holly Springs Main Street Chamber.
Christy Owens, executive director of the Main Street Chamber, was very pleased with attendance this year and grateful for the businesses and organizations that kept their doors open while shoppers strolled around the square.
The courthouse was open and chancery clerk Chuck Thomas and wife Sue honored the community with a collection of favorite recipes employees and friends offered to the community. Courthouse visitors got to taste the recipes and take home the free cookbook for holiday cooking.
This time 160 recipe books were handed out and there were not enough to go around. Comptroller Susie Hill said if people will call and request a book, a second edition will likely be published.
“It’s a great kick-off for the Christmas season,” Owens said. “There is the courthouse cookbook and music fills the air with a nice spirit. My hat’s off to all businesses and organizations who participated, as well as those who came to visit.
“We look forward to it every year. It is a great time to showcase what our community has to offer and people see they do not have to leave town to shop. And we have great gift wrapping, too. We want our people to shop locally, when they can.”
A group from Red Banks had set out painted rocks in town, outdoors and in the shops. There was lots of excitement as people showed their coveted finds to each other.
This was the first time Century 21 held open house, Nancy Hutchens said. Her daughter-in-law, Carri, served free decorated cupcakes, and displayed her collection of woodwork – Santas and snowmen.
“We had a blast,” added co-worker Marsha Taylor.
In prior years the duo were guests and did some shopping about. This time they opened their office for visitors first.
“I wanted our office to be open,” Taylor said. “Carri came up here and set up and served wassail and cupcakes and we gave away a door prize.”
Hutchens added, “I wish the Thomases would set that music up and let it play all season long. You meet people in the street and the weather was perfect.
“Everything doesn’t have to be about buying. It’s about enjoying the season. I wish the city would do a little better job on lighting. To me, it was a little dark in spots.”
At Connie’s Flowers, Lisa Childers and Jan Cooper expressed similar sentiments.
“It’s fun, food and fellowship and it is giving back to our customers,” Childers said.
“A lot of people were out and it was a wonderful night of fellowship and a lot of our friends came out,” Cooper said. “We look at it more like feeding everybody. It was a good night. I was well pleased. It’s a lot of fun when everybody’s on the square.”
Bobby Bonds enjoyed mixing and mingling with friends.
“It’s just everybody getting together and shopping small businesses,” he said. “Working people don’t get to see a lot of people in a day because they are in their businesses. I think it ought to happen more often than once – once more closer to Christmas. It gets people out. It is the night life in a small town. The square was packed. I think it was a larger crowd this year.”
And he noted that there are sales and special prices during Open House. Booker Hardware does a brisk (Case) knife business, he said.
“His knife business is the biggest thing since sliced bread,” Bonds said. “A lot of people don’t know that until they walk in Booker’s, and bam. Marshall Academy had a bake sale set up at the corner of Retro Rooster. People come out and walk and see things they would have missed.”
The courthouse is packed and the dishes are set out on the tables. Lines of people come through to get something to eat and shop. Many come in just to say hello to friends they have not seen in a while.
“I felt like it was a bigger crowd this year,” Chuck Thomas said.
He gives credit to organizing the event to his wife Sue.
“She doesn’t like to take credit but she is the hub,” Hill said.
This year there were fewer vendors inside the courthouse so there would be more space to walk and to mingle.
“I saw more people come by this year,” Hill said.
“I think it was a little different set of people this year,” added Gwen Gipson.
Chuck Thomas said word gets around one year and people come the next year to participate more fully. A supervisor and his wife from Benton County came this year, he said.
“Of course, we are not selling anything,” Thomas said. “We are just promoting unity.”
“Unity in the community,” Hill said.
“And Debbie Stone won the door prize this year.”
There were tables and tables of food presented. And Sue Thomas served her coffee punch, which went over well with lots of guys who kept coming back for a fill-up.
Bobby Joe Mitchell came to the courthouse twice, first to fellowship and the second time for food, Thomas said.
Dana Lynch from Olive Branch brought her survivor’s blanket. She made the blanket during her recovery from cancer and the blanket had faces filled with emotion, Thomas said.
“A thread runs throughout,” he said. “She was just displaying it just to be a part of the event.”