WILLCOX — Sparkling lights greeted visitors as they sipped hot chocolate, decorated caramel apples, and perused craft vendors Saturday in Railroad Park.
The annual Light Parade and Craft Fair incorporated the efforts of a plethora of organizations within the community, including the City of Willcox, the Willcox Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture, Apple Annies as well as the Willcox Historic Theater.
The Encore Dance Studio held a recital before the parade, and the LDS Church performed a nativity scene after the parade. Multiple local craft vendors sold their handmade goods throughout the day.
“I believe in building up the downtown. I feel like this is a really good idea. We had a ton of food traffic but we didn’t have as many vendors. There’s usually a lot more vendors at Apple Fest than this, so it’s just going to be the vendors getting comfortable with being outside,” said vendor Larae Harguess, of Harguess Handcrafts. “Being a vendor here, I just got a lot more people interaction. Being here is a totally different market.”
Spectacular Sparkles: Valley Telecom
Spirit Award: Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative,
Frosty Award: Stronghold Feed
Mayor’s Sweepstakes: Extended Hands Ministries
Magical Elf: Encore Dance Studio
Patriotic Award: Nuturien Ag
Emergency Vehicle Award: Bowie Fire Department
WILLCOX — Downtown historical buildings, grant opportunities and what the community hopes for in the future were discussed last Thursday.
Christopher Cody, deputy state historic preservation officer, spoke to the large group gathered at the Willcox Commercial Building last Thursday night. Cody spoke on tax credits for commercial properties, commercial state historic tax credits and grant programs for certified local governments.
“What’s really exciting is what’s happening now. All the energy behind the theater, all the energy behind the wine industry, there’s definitely an opportunity in this community for some preservation-oriented growth,” Cody said.
After Cody’s presentation, the crowd was separated into discussion groups to list concerns, goals and ideas for the future of the Willcox downtown area. One question posed to the discussion groups was how the community could balance historic preservation with the needs of the present.
“Our group doesn’t believe that there is a balance between preservation and the needs, it (preservation) is the only way forward. Either you demolish the buildings here and they’re gone, or you don’t take care of them, they’re gone anyway. So we need to build interesting businesses that cannot be the same thing. They need to be varied and distinct. Whether you are 75 or 10, you need things to do. We need to add modern appeal to historic character,” said community member Wesley Schofield.
Although no actions were taken Thursday night by community members, Willcox Business Engagement Specialist Jordan Parrish told attendees that this would be the first of multiple meetings regarding downtown development.