Hillsville looks to continue its unique mixture of music, classic cars and cooperation as it winds up the seasonal “Summer Nights Concert & Classic Care Cruise-Ins” on September 8. Organizers aren’t letting any dust settle on their sandals though, as they eye Fall’s arrival.
“Our attendance was excellent for all events, and record-setting on a couple of them. We had a lot of positive feedback from those in attendance. We’re anticipating no change to the format since this year was a great success,” said Town Marketing Coordinator Teresa Catron. “With the conclusion of the Summer Nights Series, we’re moving into the fall events such as the Chili Shootout and Pumpkin Festival on September 29. Last year was the first year we combined the events, and the results were outstanding! The Town of Hillsville and Carroll County working together on events furthers everyone’s efforts toward a successful, prosperous downtown and thriving county. We’ve seen an uptick in attendance of individuals who aren’t even from Hillsville or Carroll County—it’s encouraging to see people coming to and enjoying our area.”
More information on the Harvest Festival may be obtained online at www.harvestfestivalva.com. Hillsville’s annual Safe Halloween is set for October 31. The September 8 concert will feature the Tim Clark Band. Cooperation has proven to be one of the Town’s greatest assets as it looks to stage a variety of events in addition to its Farmers Market. In this mix are local businesses, individuals, community groups and Town personnel.
A relatively new group to the area, the Friends of Hillsville (FOH) recognized early on citizen volunteers can “borrow the keys” and drive economic success, in spite of the long-held view of leaving that all up to municipal leadership.
FOH was founded in 2014 with its initial members being Mayor Gregory Crowder, Willis Rotenizer and Jessica Talley. The first meeting was at Catron’s house. Membership grew and they started meeting in the Town Hall. The group still consists completely of volunteers centered around a genuine love of Hillsville.
“There is only so much you can get done through Town Council. It limits you on grants and events we could sponsor,” Crowder said in an earlier interview. “It’s been a way to reach people and have events without concerning the Town so much. We have received grants open only to non-profits we normally couldn’t have gotten.”
The two said FOH activities look fun but are about serious economic development to attract more foot traffic to Hillsville. He said he learned about using activities to attract business at a downtown revitalization workshop.
“We found out if a Town of our size puts on 12 good events a year, it would help support specialty, individual, mom and pop stores. The thinking is if you have these big events, one a month, they should have a weekend big enough to pay their expenses and revitalize a downtown. That is why we’ve concentrated so heavily on downtown events. It’s not just for the fun but to generate dollars for downtown businesses,” said Crowder.
Catron said economic trends are like tides. She said business seemed to go from Main Street being big in the 1970s to leaving and going to shopping malls.
“Malls are dying out now and Main Street is coming back. People are still in the mindset of nothing is going on here. The whole point of this is to bring commerce downtown. When downtown is flourishing the whole county can flourish,” said Catron.
David Broyles may be reached at 276-779-4013 or on Twitter@CarrollNewsDave