Our opinion: Great things going on in downtown Americus

Published 2:00 pm Saturday, December 3, 2016

On the heels of a successful Downtown Christmas Open House earlier this month, the Thanksgiving holiday weekend was a real hit in Americus. With a huge Black Friday and Small Business Day on Saturday, downtown was full of people from near and far. Many visitors were natives of Americus, coming home to visit friends and family. Many were people who live here in Sumter and surrounding counties who wanted to “come to town” and check the great deals. Restaurants, those which were open, were full of happy, excited people.
And Americus is still gearing up for more excitement to herald the official Christmas holiday season.
The traditional Americus Christmas Parade starts at 7 p.m. Thursday and includes almost 70 units including marching bands, floats, cars, and Santa himself riding on a firetruck. Mild weather conditions, after much needed rainfall, promise to bring out crowds — young and old — to line the streets of downtown Americus.
Then on Friday, First Friday for December will attract lots of people — both locals and out-of-town visitors — to downtown from 5-8 p.m. Many of the shops will remain open until 8 p.m., offering special deals, samples, and refreshments. Local artwork will be displayed throughout downtown shop windows, and local musicians will be playing at various venues. “First Friday After Dark” will continue the festivities into the night after 8 p.m. The Americus Trolley will provide transportation throughout downtown, making a loop of the event and is provided by the City of Americus free of charge.
There will also be opportunities to get hands-on experience in the arts at the Americus-Sumter County Arts Council and at Mobile Glass Blowing Studios. Downtown eateries will also offer special deals Friday night.
The Rylander Theatre will screen “The Muppet Christmas Carol” during First Friday. The Rylander Theatre has drawn lots of people downtown recently what with the Sumter Players’ production of “Miracle on 34th Street”, comedy, and music acts, and more.
With Sumter on Ice opening soon in Rylander Park, even more people will be drawn downtown!
It’s so refreshing to see the downtown streets of Americus thronged with people on a Friday night! We see families walking together. We see couples strolling along. It’s a great time to catch up with friends, or make new ones.
There was a time, and not so distant, when the streets of downtown were marred by empty storefronts and no cars parked along the streets. Not so today. Thanks to a new, energized downtown structure approved by the Americus Mayor and City Council, Americus is an even more vibrant destination, and not just for local citizens, but is gaining a reputation as a great place to visit!