Each one of us is a living version of the phrase, “Remember when?...”
There will come a time in your life when you say or hear, “Remember when we started the first New Year’s Eve ball drop block party?” Or, “Remember when the ‘Tour de Pines Ride’ started out at the old Sports Complex?” Or even, “Remember when we all met at the Auditorium for the first clean up?” We are “Remember whens” because Crossett is in a transition from a sleepy little mill town to an alive-and-happening destination town.
Your hometown has turned over a new leaf. The place that tucks you in at night, that sits you down around a dinner table, that cozies you up under blankets on the couch is evolving into not only a wonderful and safe place to live but also a fun place to visit...a destination town.
Crossett Parks and Recreation — along with your help — has tasked itself with ushering this evolution along. Just this summer, Crossett played host to several out-of-town guests who flocked to the City Pool. Destination: Crossett.
We are in the middle of plans for a New Year’s Eve Block Party Ball Drop that is already attracting people from as far away as Jonesboro. Crossett Police have agreed to block off the first block of Main Street so we can dance to a DJ, sing karaoke, do Zumba, eat Big Daddy’s and count down at midnight while our very own ball drops. Destination: Crossett.
Our Crossett High School football boys, cheerleaders, band members and fans kept visitors coming for nearly a month’s worth of weekends with their talented winning streak. And this town put its kind face forward with a warming welcome tent for all of those out of town guests who then went home and talked about Crossett. And you can bet that someone, somewhere, said, “I want to go back,” or even, “I want to go check that town out.” Destination: Crossett.
The Crossett Farmers’ Market has erupted into life the last Saturday of every month with its crafters fair that has pulled out-of-towners into town. Destination: Crossett.
Come Oct. 3, our population will blossom by 200. That is the number of cyclists we are planning to host as we unveil the first ever Tour de Pines bike ride. Starting at the Sports Complex, these bike enthusiasts will get an eyeful of Crossett as they ride a 62-mile route, a 20-mile route or a 10-mile route. You are welcome to line Jim Shoulders Road or Cedar Street to cheer them on as they speed by. This is a massive undertaking that will take practically all hands on deck. After the first of the year, we will be reaching out to businesses, civic groups, churches and just individuals who love to volunteer. This is a chance to show-and-tell your hometown; get in on it!
While Tour de Pines takes off, there will be an additional route that will tour some of Crossett’s historical sites. We will stop at places like still-standing company houses on Cedar Street, the site where Cap Gates’ home stood, the First United Methodist Church — whose overnight building prevented liquor sales on Main Street. At each stop, riders will hear a brief description of its history and importance to Crossett. And this ride will end with a picnic at one of our parks. Destination: Crossett.
We are growing into a place to be, Crossett. As with any growth there comes responsibility. We need you to pitch in, help out, show up and show out. And while you do that keep your eye out for people loving Crossett. Snap a picture or take video and send it to 870-500-0303 or message it to the Crossett Parks and Recreation Facebook page. These acts of homegrown love deserve to be heralded. Acts that would warm the hearts of Crossett legends like Janice Clark.
Crossett Parks and Recreation will start the new year off with this award for people who show a passion for Crossett that matches Clark’s. It will be named the Janice Clark Millwhistle — if you know anything about your hometown history you will get the “millwhistle” part. If you don’t get it, visit the Crossett Public library’s history room; it is full of Crossett facts and stories.
Do you know someone who deserves this award? Do you know someone who out of Crossett love inadvertently makes this town a great place to live and a place worth visiting? Let us know about it.
Call me at 870-500-0303 or visit with me at the next event, our first ever ball drop block party. It will be 10 p.m. to midnight-ish Dec. 31 on the first block of Main Street by Big Daddy’s. I’ll see you there!