OUR VIEW: Candy Crawl creates community

Paula Merritt / The Meridian Star

Candy Crawl drew hundreds of families to dowtown Meridian on Tuesday.

Here’s a treat: Hundreds of people of all ages walked downtown sidewalks on a pleasant, warm, Tuesday evening in downtown Meridian.

They walked up 22nd Avenue, down 23rd Avenue, over Fifth Street, over Front Street, past the MSU-Riley Center, past the Lauderdale County Courthouse, over to the front lawn of City Hall.

They entered shops and restaurants, talked with merchants, took home treats.

They lingered on the City Hall front lawn to ride ponies, to climb inflatables and to make crafts.

They came as families, wearing smiles on their faces and many colored costumes.

This, of course, was the sixth annual Candy Crawl hosted by the City of Meridian.

The event gave children and their parents an early taste of Halloween trick-or-treat activities. It gave us all a taste of what is possible.

Meridian residents sometimes lament empty city streets, citing empty buildings, fear of crime or lack of activities.

Candy Crawl is a great example of what can happen when citizens leave their homes and celebrate together as a community. Too often we lock ourselves in our homes, limit ourselves to familiar churches, schools or clubs.

Rather, we need community.

We salute the city for sponsoring a fun activity and thank the many merchants that participated to create a fun evening. We salute area residents for participating.

We all can get hung up on the causes that sapped downtown of its vibrancy, but events such as Candy Crawl remind us that with effort we can all restore life to the city and celebrate together.

The Mississippi Arts & Entertainment Experience will add to the city’s vibrancy in the spring, but we don’t need to wait for a home run. Smaller efforts such as Candy Crawl go a long way, too, toward rebuilding a community.

People went home from downtown with smiles on their faces and, we hope, a favorable impression.

We urge the city and businesses to continue to look for ways to welcome them back.

We hope those hundreds who visited on Tuesday will return soon to dine at restaurants, attend concerts, purchase a gift, play on the City Hall lawn or eat a popsicle on a Dumont Plaza bench.

How do we continue to keep the downtown streets alive with people? Now that’s the trick.

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