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Licking Downtown sponsors Christmas in July

                                                                                                                                 Photo by Shari Harris
Funds raised for the mill are currently being used to replace rotted boards and for painting. Plans are to get the mill operating on a limited basis at events. Fundraisers like the Christmas in July event help maintain this historic landmark. Pictured are Kaleb Pritchett, left, Suzie Blackburn center and Jamie Maxey right.

By Shari Harris
Publisher

Licking Downtown Inc. is in its 16th year of helping with the infrastructure of Licking. The organization has undertaken many projects in the decade and a half since then. Currently they are preparing to celebrate “Christmas in July at the Historic Licking Mill,” July 25.
It all started in February 2005, when the bylaws were adopted. Brian Carlson was President, Conway Hawn Vice President, and Joan Brannam, Ellen Reynolds, Mary Stone, and Wayne and Twyla Hackman were some of the members. Then-City Administrator Myrna Van Deusen approached the team regarding the need for a non-profit organization that would have access to grants, which could be used to improve the city. One of the first projects was a drainage system to stop the flooding of downtown businesses that occurred with heavy rains. The result of those grants is the sidewalks, streetlights and drainage systems along Main Street.
Over the years, Licking Downtown has sponsored the 3-on-3 Basketball Tournaments, the Vietnam Wall Memorial’s trip to Licking, the Memorial for the Fallen (which was then turned over to the City), fundraising for a K-9 officer for the police department, fundraising for flags to display at holidays, and the annual Licking Calendars with pictures from Licking days gone by.
In September 2009, Licking Downtown Inc. took over the Licking Mill from the Licking Community Betterment Association. Currently, Licking Downtown does maintenance and upgrades to the Mill, sponsors community events at the Mill, continues the annual calendar and the display of flags for holidays, and is sponsoring a Walking Trail grant and a City art project.
Fundraising to maintain and improve the Mill is ongoing and other fundraisers are undertaken as needed.
If you would like to see your old Licking photos included in the annual calendar, bring them to Joan Brannam at TJ’s Flowers or The Licking News so they can be scanned. The photos will be returned to you.
The walking trail would provide a safe path for walkers, joggers and bicyclists in the community. A grant application has been submitted; this project is pending approval of the grant.
The City art project is in the initial stages, with display of the first piece to be announced soon.
Annual events remaining this year include the fall festival, “Pickin’ on the Porch, which is held in October. And beginning in 2019, a summer festival was added.
Saturday, June 25, is the second annual Christmas in July at the Historic Licking Mill. This year’s events will begin at 10 a.m., with the craft show. Vendors will be displaying their crafts for those early Christmas gifts or for your own enjoyment. Mill tours will be held at 10:30 a.m. and noon, so take a tour and learn about the historical treasure Licking has sitting in its midst. The Bushwhacker’s band will entertain from the porch at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.; bring a lawn chair and enjoy their music. Don’t miss some good Ozarks storytelling at 1 p.m. And it wouldn’t be Christmas in July without Santa. Summer Santa will greet the kids and probably tell a tale or two at 4 p.m. The day wraps up about 4:30 p.m. or until the last shopper leaves.
There will be games for the young and the young at heart. Also, the Wildcat Travel Club will have a BB Poker fundraiser.
Vendors crafts will include silk flower items, wood crafts, jewelry, crochet, dolls, scratchies, pot holders, wood burning, lariat baskets, gourds, fabric crafts, ceramics, redone furniture, home décor, signs from old mill boards, cookbooks, books, novel notes and bookmarks.
Rada gift sets, Mill t-shirts and hoodies, and Licking t-shirts will be offered.
Concessions will include homemade ice cream, pulled pork, hot dogs, nachos, squealing nachos, sodas, chips, kettle corn, pork rinds and other drinks.

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