My 117-year-old house has been under renovations since mid-May. This is the second renovation my family has endured while living inside the construction site, the first time with a two-year-old and this time with a six-year-old. This week, just in time for us to open our home on the 2019 Carrollton Pilgrimage, work is wrapping up.
Both renovations came from the need to replace floors and floor joists due to water leaks under the house. Of course, the leaks were small, and we didn’t notice until the hardwood floor began to rot and the kitchen tile began crumbling. While the contractors were there the first time, we decided to do a few more things to make living in an old house a little more convenient – primarily the addition of a walk-in closet and bathroom in the master bedroom.
The current renovation started with the need to replace crumbling kitchen tile, however, once the contractors dug into the project, they discovered that not only did the subfloor need to be replaced but also the joists and the seal. This caused the project to expand to not only include the kitchen and small living area connected to it but the laundry room and guest bathroom.
The work forced us to install new hardwood floor (no more cracked tile), repaint the walls and kitchen cabinets, replace the countertops, and completely gut the guest bathroom.
Back in 2015, during the first renovation, I was lucky to have my father oversee the project and lend his expertise in making big decisions. This time, with Daddy no longer with us, Keith and I were on our own. I never realized how much time and effort it takes to pick the perfect paint color or cabinet pulls or bath tub.
Now, we are wrapping up the project and putting the house back together just in time for pilgrimage tours to start Friday morning. I live my entire life by tight deadlines, so this last minute crunch to get everything ready is just another day for me. We always finish – stressed and usually as the first guests are approaching the driveway – but we finish.
In the 10 years we have lived in our historic home, Wayside, this is the sixth time we have opened our home for the pilgrimage. It is something the majority of those who own a historic home in Carrollton agree to do at some time or another – kind of an unwritten expectation in support of the largest event in the community.
Opening my home for tours was something I actually got excited about when I first purchased the home. Back in 2009, the day I closed on the house was on the Friday of the first pilgrimage held after it was resurrected from the 1990s. I looked at it as doing my part in supporting the historic town I chose to call home.
For the Town of Carrollton, Town of North Carrollton, and Carroll County, the annual pilgrimage is a big deal. Not only does it showcase the towns and the rich history of the county, but it is a huge economic boost for local businesses.
According to a study done by Dr. Alan Barefield, extension professor for the Department of Agricultural Economics at Mississippi State University, conducted on behalf of the town detailing the economic impact the pilgrimage has on a three-county area, the pilgrimage has a “substantial economic impact” on the community.
The study summarized, “The 2018 festival continued a long trend of substantial economic impact for Carroll, Leflore, and Montgomery Counties. Sales occurring as a direct result of the festival were $75,083 that resulted from 806 parties that contained almost 2,500 visitors. These sales represented the sale of food, gasoline, general merchandise retailers, hotels/motels and maintenance work on the town’s community buildings. These direct sales led to $21,118 in spillover effect sales and $5,431 in increased labor income that represented the additional economic activity generated by the festival. These effects will be significantly increased as the festival focuses increased marketing efforts on attracting visitors from outside the three-county area and recruiting area vendors of food and merchandise to participate.”
For a town with a population of 190 people, a $75,000-plus economic impact is impressive.
I always try to participate in every community event because, well, I am part of this community. Not only am I the editor and publisher of the two county newspapers, but I make my home and raise my family in this community.
I want this community to thrive and continue to be a great place to work, live, and raise a family in the future. I want to preserve the wholesome, small-town atmosphere that I fell in love with when I relocated here nearly 13 years ago.
I participate in community events, not for my own benefit but for the benefits it brings to OUR community. My community. Your community.
In doing so, I do get something in return. I get new friends, an experience I can share with my child, a feeling of pride for my community, and a renewed sense of gratitude for the place I call home.
Things are just getting kicked off in the Crossroads this week with the pilgrimage and the Mississippi John Hurt Festival, set for Saturday and Sunday in Avalon. Next Saturday, the Vaiden Heritage Festival will be the place to be, and coming soon, the Winona Fall Festival and Trunk or Treat. As we get closer to Christmas, your weekends will be full of fun things going on in the Crossroads.
I hope to see you Friday and Saturday at the 2019 Carrollton Pilgrimage and Pioneer Day. It really is a unique event that has something to peak the interests of everyone.