Friday night in downtown Milledgeville is all about celebration.
In honor of Milledgeville receiving the 2014 Great American Main Street Award (GAMSA), the City of Milledgeville, Main Street/ Downtown Development Authority and community partners have come together to host a hometown celebration.
The event is slated for 6 to 10 p.m. Friday. The 100 block of West Hancock Street will be open to pedestrians for the celebration. "We've been excited and gearing up for it for a while now," said Carlee Schulte, executive director.
The National Main Street Center announced that Milledgeville was chosen as a 2014 GAMSA winner in May. There are a lot of activities set up for the event. Local band Reunion will perform and the Rotary Club of Milledgeville will host kids' activities. Local groups and downtown businesses are joining the celebration, too. Organizations will have booths and tables set up with information and downtown businesses will have sidewalk sales and outdoor dining options. "Becoming a Great American Main Street is an amazing honor that should be celebrated in a big way," Schulte said.
The celebration is not just about paying homage to the city, said Schulte; it's also an opportunity to share community pride with visitors. "The celebration hits right at the same time parents and college students are here getting settled. It will be nice for them to see the community pride that's present in Milledgeville and experience it for
themselves."
Linda Bailey, tour coordinator for the Milledgeville Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB), feels the national award will open up a bigger door to tourism to the city. "This town is just great and through the award now the whole nation will realize just how great it is too," she said.
As part of the hometown celebration, the CVB will introduce a new member to the bureau's family. Milly, a brand new, custom-made trolley, will be introduced to the community Friday night during the festivities. "The trolley has been a Milledgeville icon for several years. We are very fortunate to have been able to purchase a new trolley just in time for the celebration,"Bailey said. Free trolley rides will be offered from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
"She will be dressed up and ready to ride. Just come to the corner of West Hancock and Wilkinson Street and she will be waiting for you." Tour guides will be on hand to answer any questions about the new trolley. "This has really made our guides so happy to see a brand new trolley at the visitor's center. They volunteer so much time to be guides that these trolleys start to become another member of their family," she said. The CVB has 10 tour guides who give two-hour tours on the history of Milledgeville.
To welcome Milly to the city, Main Street is holding a contest, asking users of Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to share their love for Milledgeville using #ilovemilly. Pictures will be streamed during the celebration and one lucky picture will win $50 in Downtown Dollars. "The visitor's center has played a huge part in planning this event and I don't think we could have done it without all their support,"Schulte said.
For more information contact the Main Street Office at 478-414-4014.