What do you get when you combine glorious weather with fabulous sales, lively music, festive paintings, gifted authors, delicious Italian Ice, and even a sweet little lemonade stand? The answer is the Super Saturday Sidewalk Sale. A partnership between the Hope Downtown Network and multiple organizations, the sidewalk sale occurred in the downtown Hope area on Saturday where many shops opened their doors and offered big sales and special treats.
Hebrews proprietor, Arnetta Bradford, provided the music for shoppers and pedestrians by positioning big speakers outside her store on the sidewalk. Upbeat, cheerful tunes could be heard all over the downtown area, and Arnetta treated the crowds later in the day by singing a few songs. More music was showcased at Vintage Girls Boutique & More where one of the book signings was held. Author Pat Taylor promoted her book, My Bag is an Omnibus, while her daughter Jennifer strummed the guitar and sang sweet songs. In between visits with patrons, Pat joined in the singing, as well. Another book signing was held at Bob’s Antiques by author Lenora Daniel McWilliams promoting her work, A Sharecropper’s Daughter.
The Southwest Arkansas Arts Council (SWAAC) presented A Paved Paradise: A Painted Up Parking Lot in the Art Park in the 100 block of East Division. They supplied the paint and utensils for local youth to create their own personal murals in parking spots and surrounding sidewalks. Bright colors and compelling designs provided the backdrop as children of all ages let their imaginations out to play. Lily Allen, a ninth grader from Blevins High School, began her newest mural, a magnolia blossom, and while sketching and painting she shared with SWARK.Today her appreciation for SWAAC’s creative inclusion. Lily said, “I think it’s an excellent opportunity for artists in the area and provides us with a sense of community.” Lily has previously painted two other murals in the Art Park: an owl and a wolf, both in striking detail. SWAAC will schedule more dates in the future for community members to paint individual designs and leave their own personal touch on the city of Hope. Area residents can find more info at swarkansasartscouncil.org about the Art Park and other SWAAC activities.
The Italian Ice truck was a huge draw Saturday, and not just for the kiddos. That cold, sweet crushed ice was the perfect complement to the beautiful weather. Sherry Ammons from Queen City made her first trip, as a vendor, to Hope for the day’s events. A huge line could be seen in front of her truck all day long. Sherry praised Hope and its residents for making her feel so welcome and she hopes to come back for more community functions.
The Hope Visitor’s Center and Museum was open Saturday, as well, with Niya Wooten at the helm. The Visitor’s Center, newly reopened after last year’s COVID19 shut-down, is available to all tourists and locals who want to learn a little history about the town. Niya’s daughter and three grandchildren came out for the day’s events and made a little trip to the Italian Ice truck, too. The little ones sat on the benches eating their tasty treat and were mesmerized by the colors, sounds, and smells of the day.
The sidewalk sale even featured a good old-fashioned lemonade stand. Eight year old Emma Johnson felt the call to serve her community and decided to raise money for a local charitable organization. She asked her best friend, Salem Short, to help and these girls raised a whopping $86! The stand sat in front of Vintage Girl’s Boutique & More and the lemonade was sold for donations. This delightful concoction was the ideal refreshment for patrons as they took a break from shopping those awesome deals in the downtown shops. Emma and Salem will travel to Hope-In-Action this week to donate those proceeds.
Beckie Moore of the Hope Downtown Network, a Main Street Program focusing on downtown business revitalization and historic preservation, shared the importance of events such as this one for the town as a whole. “Downtown revitalization is critical to the growth of our community,” Beckie said. “Downtown events and activities are a key part of economic vitality!” The Super Saturday Sidewalk Sale brought more members of the community into downtown Hope, boosting sales of local businesses while simultaneously building connections between local residents. A little something for everyone could be found around every corner: shopping, singing, painting, eating, contributing to a good cause, and even people-watching like Niya’s little grandbabies. All who attended are excited to see what the next downtown event brings!