It’s shaping up to be a busy week downtown as Jacksonville is set to become the epicenter of Main Street in Illinois for a few days.
Jacksonville Main Street has been chosen to host the Illinois Main Street State Conference this year, which will commence with an opening reception tomorrow evening. The conference is just one of a few events happening or kicking off this week.
Executive Director of Jacksonville Main Street, Judy Tighe says that Jacksonville is fortunate in getting the opportunity to host the state event which Jacksonville Main Street has been trying to lure to town for quite some time.
“We’ve been trying to get it for close to ten years, maybe more. So we are thrilled they are coming and they are going to be bringing between 75 and 90 people to our town. They are going to be learning about a lot of Main Street focused things but there is also an opportunity to go out and shop and enjoy our town and so we have some fun activities planned for that. And it’s the final week of voting for the Main Street Contest quarterfinals, and the Santa Stroll hats go on sale this week.”
Tighe says members from Main Street organizations will be invited along with the public to take part in the Sip & Stroll event happening Thursday evening. 19 businesses in the downtown area are staying open till 7 pm.
Tighe says along with the restaurants and drink establishments, the event gives everyone a chance to sip & stroll while taking in all that the downtown business district has to offer.
Tighe says hosting the conference means more than just out-of-town traffic though, she says it’s a chance for Jacksonville to show off all the work that has been put into the revitalization of downtown and that the work to maintain that is anything but done.
“We won the Great American Main Street Award in 2012, and a lot of people don’t really understand what that means, even some in the Main Street circle. It does not mean that you are done. It just means that you’ve done really good work thus far, and you’ve accomplished a lot of goals, keep going.
We really want to show off to people that no town is perfect, no town is ever done. You’ve always got something you have to do, work to be done, and new projects to take on, and you know, life happens. But this is showcasing how our community has come together and stayed together with the focus being downtown revitalization, and we’ve been successful doing it for over twenty years.”
Illinois Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton will also be coming to town Thursday to
attend part of the conference, and visit local businesses in the area to see a Main Street Illinois community in action. Stratton will take part in several events, including moderating a panel on the economic and cultural power of our Main Street communities. Stratton will be the guest on WLDS AM 1180’s AM Conversation Show at approximately 7:50 Thursday morning to talk about her visit.
Tighe also wants to remind that this week is the last chance to vote for Jacksonville in the America’s Main Street Contest. Jacksonville Main Street has reached the finals several times but has never won the contest. Tighe asks that the public dig in and help Jacksonville get to the finals.
For more information about these and other Main Street events, go to Jacksonville main street dot com or on social media at Jacksonville main street on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.