Downtown events draw in community and outsiders

Downtown Seymour was bustling with many events for all ages Saturday, bringing in local residents and people outside of Jackson County.

Before Crossroads Acoustic Fest began in the evening, featuring local and out-of-town artists, people headed to the Knights of Columbus building at 118 E. Second St. to see a variety of guitars at the Larry McDonald Memorial Guitar Show.

More than 100 guitar and music enthusiasts in general were present to share their collections and crafts and share love for music to honor the memory of Larry McDonald, former owner of This Old Guitar Music Store, and support the Larry McDonald Band Fund.

The fund, recently established by the Community Foundation of Jackson County, will provide financial assistance to students for the purchase or rental of band equipment at Seymour High School.

Vendors, collectors and music enthusiasts set up their booths full of stringed instruments that could be played, bought, traded or just displayed.

Logan Barnard, a music teacher at This Old Guitar Music Store, enjoyed seeing the many different types of instruments and being able to play some, too.

“I wasn’t expecting it to be this big. It’s pretty awesome,” he said.

McDonald’s son, Matt McDonald, who is now the owner of This Old Guitar Music Store, and Jordan Richart, a family friend and guitarist, said they spent months planning the event and were proud of the turnout and positive reactions received.

“We still have to tally up the total figure of how much we raised, but we were blown away by the support,” Richart said. “Larry would be proud.”

As the guitar show began to wrap up in the late afternoon, the day still wasn’t over.

Crossroads Acoustic Fest began setting up around 4 p.m. at the Jackson County Visitor Center and then later at Brewskies Downtown, Fraternal Order of Eagles and Knights of Columbus, and the Downtown Spring Festival bloomed to life with activity on the west side of the Louisville and Indiana Railroad tracks on West Second Street.

This was the first Spring Festival hosted by Jenna Martinez, owner of The Magic of Books Bookstore, and Tonya Pacey, owner of The Pacey Apothecary.

Despite the fear of rain and a little high wind, they said the turnout was great.

“We wanted this to be a community event, so we didn’t make a penny off of this festival,” Martinez said. “Any money we did receive all went to the bands and advertising.”

Martinez and Pacey said the idea behind the festival is to bring something fun for not only the community of Seymour but to bring in people from out of town to share the beauty of Jackson County.

With this idea in mind, they both started the first Fall Festival in 2022, and it turned out to be a huge success.

“We hope to bring something like this every fall and spring as it continues to grow,” Martinez said. “Events like this will bring in more people and businesses in efforts to fill the empty storefronts and spaces downtown.”

Pacey said festivals like these bring the community together to connect in a world that sometimes feels divided.

“With COVID-19, politics and the ever-changing world we live in, we just want people to connect,” Pacey said. “These festivals will help with that.”

While Stephanie Strothmann said she was running a little behind due to tending to her bees, she was grateful for the opportunity to set up a tent to support her business, Purple Shamrock Farm LLC.

“This is great and exactly what this community needs,” she said.

Jeanette Hawkins, owner of Hawkins Holler Produce and Holler Girl Blossoms in Scottsburg, was a vendor during the Fall Festival last year and again Saturday. She said she always loves coming to Seymour to do business.

“I love coming here, and it’s always a good crowd,” she said.

Hawkins sells locally grown produce and flowers, especially dahlias and sunflowers.

She also said one day, she would love to set up shop in Seymour if given the opportunity.

With the success of numerous downtown events Saturday, community members and business owners look forward to bringing people together to enjoy this small town.