HOMINY — Decorated shop windows and strings of Christmas lights zig-zagging over Main Street represent an effort this holiday season to build the sense of community here.
“It literally turned out to be Christmas magic,” says Celia Lanham, who owns property in downtown Hominy and has been laboring to fix things up and attract business. She’s a grandmother, but she’s not sitting at home with her knitting — she’s a bundle of energy.
“It started small,” Lanham says, with a handful of people working together and reaching out to others around them.
Thomas Slamans, 29, a native of Hominy who started a hair salon along Main Street in September, says his business is already where he imagined it might be by the end of the first year. He shares Lanham’s excitement about the Christmas decorating project, and she credits him with raising money for the strings of lights over Main Street.
“I’m loving it,” Slamans said. “The whole community has come together like I’ve never seen it.”
Slamans said people are walking and driving along Main Street to take a look at the decorations, and he sees the activity bringing back a sense of Christmas tradition in Hominy.
“We’re just going to grow from it,” he said.
Lanham said the decorating began before Thanksgiving, with some folks getting started around Halloween. There was a lot to do, she said.
“It just kind of aggressively came together,” she said. A community Christmas tree for the downtown area was kind of a last-minute addition, Lanham said. She wanted a real tree, and had someone cut a tree from the yard of her ranch east of Hominy, she said.
The annual Christmas parade, held Dec. 7, was well-attended, with some 400-500 people showing up, Lanham and Slamans noted.
“It was more fun that it was work,” Lanham said with a smile. “It brought the community together. You didn’t see all that crappy stuff on Facebook.
“People are still doing stuff,” she added. “We’re a pretty happy little town right now.”
But Lanham is already thinking about next Christmas.
“We got a bunch of stuff built this year, so all we have to do is store it,” she said. There are three and a half to four blocks of Main Street to decorate, and the effort this year targeted two blocks on the west end, she said, estimating it might be possible to add a block per year, and to do some things at the old train depot.
“I can’t wait until next year now. It’s going to be even better,” Lanham said. “We’re going to be the go-to place at Christmas.”