Streets of Franklin facilitates robust line-up

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Carolyn L. Higgins – Contributing Writer

The order-of-business for the Streets of Franklin meeting was just that – busy – same as the line-up of events coming to downtown Franklin. With such a robust agenda, it was quite an accomplishment to work through the agenda in less than two hours.  The March 20 meeting led by Gwen Taylor, president of Streets of Franklin Heritage Association, was a collaborative effort among a determined group of merchants, organizations and individuals.

“It may look easy, but much planning and cooperation takes place,” said Taylor. To make it all fall in place by the time partakers enjoy what appears to be seamless, Taylor was already giving thanks to leaders, merchants, teachers, volunteers and other stakeholders who help to keep Franklin’s heritage alive.  

By the time attendees arrive at the upcoming events, many are unaware of every beat that goes into orchestrating music, signage, marketing, promotion, safety, funding and many other intricate details.  

Activities fast approaching 

National Tartan Day is Saturday, April 6, and all are invited to enjoy activities at the Scottish Tartans Museum, downtown Franklin. The Scottish Tartans Museum is a nonprofit heritage center dedicated to the history and traditions of Scottish Highland Dress, especially tartan and the kilt. It opens from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m.

A unique twist was introduced this year to enhance National Tartan Day. Each Streets merchant located on Main Street will wear a piece of tartan as a pin. The idea is to promote Scottish Tartans Museum for this event.  

“It is one of the most interesting exhibits and tours you will ever see and more people need to visit,” said Martha Holbrook, a longtime downtown business owner on Main Street.

National Stress Awareness Month will kick off by Streets on April 14, with the theme “Retail therapy is good for the soul.” Along with fun shopping, more serious health activities will be available at different locations, ranging from mini-massages to blood pressure checks by Macon County Health Department, and, of course,  sales.

Airing of the Quilts set for Saturday, May 12,  received a $500 Grassroots grant from the N.C. Arts Council and will coexist with the Garden Club sale.

Events still developing

Relay for Life coordinator, Julie Lucas, provided details and signed up teams for the annual cancer awareness/survivor celebration event. A free survivor’s luncheon will be held on May 14 with guest speaker Jay Seltzer from WLOS. The relay will take place on June 1, with this year’s theme, “There’s no place like hope.”

Taste of Scotland will host again this year the Highland Games. These contests, scheduled to begin June 16, bring in athletes and visitors from at least four states.

Town of Franklin Fourth of July Parade will pull out the stops to celebrate.

The Appalachian Heritage Festival is shaping up with applications coming in, music and logistics being finalized.  Advertising and promotion will be “big and strong both locally and regionally,” said Taylor.  Vendor applications are still being taken for this July 14 event.

Progress in the Making

Meeting attendees expressed concerns about the 90-day trial parking. Conversation turned to their parallel parking skills and some had humorous recollections of their trials. Others thought it great that the town was having a trial but still had some of the slanted parking.  “I never quite got that parallel parking,” said Lucas. Having joined Streets that night, she was easily given a pass.

A new website is being planned as an interim communication tool while Streets awaits funding for a robust website.Tony Angel has offered to gift Streets a professionally designed website for $300. “This is my way of giving back to my community,” said Angel.  Taylor said Angel is anxious to get started to upgrade Streets’ online presence and to host the site.   

 “We are involved in any activity downtown whether it is sponsored by the Chamber, community or merchants,” said Taylor.  “We want to be an active part in all that goes on downtown by being opening and inviting.” It is a misconception that you have to be a business to join Streets. This nonprofit organization actively enrolls year-round and has a small fee of $20 for individuals and $40 for businesses.

For information or to participate, contact gwentaylorstreetsoffranklin@gmail.com

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