Richton’s ‘Front Street Fest’ acts as step for economic growth

Richton celebrates on Front Street
Published: May. 14, 2022 at 8:43 PM CDT
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RICHTON, Miss. (WDAM) - Richton’s newly-assembled Front Street Association hosted Saturday its first event, Front Street Fest.

While it was advertised as a food truck festival, numerous vendors came out to get eyes on their businesses and the association held a car show.

The association drew inspiration from neighboring cities, such as Hattiesburg and Columbia, and felt it was time for Richton to have its own community event.

“When I opened my business here three years ago, I’d get a lot of business from Hattiesburg, the Coast, Jackson, even in Laurel,” Richton Front Street Association member Leslie Wade-Felts said. “They would all say, ‘Richton is the friendliest little town, but they don’t have anything.’

“Well, we did have things. They just weren’t highlighted, and that was our job., to highlight our town’s beauty and our town’s worth.”

In addition to exposure for local businesses, festivals provide a great opportunity for other business owners to consider his town., Richton Mayor Bo Ruffin said.

“You don’t know who’s walking around here (Saturday), looking and saying, ‘Oh, dang, look what they’re doing in Richton, maybe I can find me a building and put a shop in’” Ruffin said. “If they had never been here, they don’t know that, but there are people from everywhere here, so they may look down the street and say, “Man, they’ve got it going on. We need to come here,’ and we want them to”

While Richton houses less than 2,000 residents, festivals like this give these small towns a big city feel.

“If there’s any other small towns like us out there, you can do it,” said Wade-Felts. “It’s just a matter of finding the right people, being in touch with your town hall and it doesn’t take a lot of money. You’ve just got to get up and do it.”

The Front Street Association is working on quarterly community events to add to the town, with the hopes of stimulating the economy and uniting the community.

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