Ripley welcomes Main Street director

RIPLEY – A full schedule of events through the fall will keep the new Ripley Main Street director busy as he gets used to his new role.
Ripley native Craig Miller acknowledges he has a lot to live up to with the many successes of former director Allison Windham in the job, but he is already well into planning for the Oct. 29 Spirit of Ripley Festival.
The daylong celebration around the courthouse square includes a chili cook-off, a costume contest and trick-or-treats.
“I’ve just been on the job since Aug. 24, so I’m still feeling my way around,” Miller said.
The Oral Roberts University graduate returned to Tippah County after graduation and served as chairman of Blue Mountain’s historic preservation commission for about a year.
He went back to his college town of Tulsa, Okla. to take a job in marketing, but again came back to Ripley to work with a friend who started his own business.
“When this job came open it seemed like all the things I’ve been doing were preparing me for this job,” Miller said. “When I was with Blue Mountain historic preservation I worked with the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, and in the job in Tulsa I learned about marketing strategies.”
Even before the Spirit of Ripley Festival is wrapped up, Miller and his board members and volunteers will be busy preparing for the Nov. 7 Faulkner Heritage Festival.
“This county has an important William Faulkner connection, so we want to keep building this event,” he said.
The festival commemorates Faulkner’s great-grandfather, Col. William Clark Falkner, whose colorful story includes being shot down on the courthouse square by R.J. Thurmond, a former business partner.
Ripley Main Street’s end-of-year event is the Christmas Parade, whose date hasn’t been set yet.
“There are some great activities in downtown Ripley through the end of the year, and we’re hoping for great turnout for all of them,” Miller said.
Bringing new business into downtown and doing everything possible to inject more vitality and entertainment are among the goals Miller has in his new job.
“Everybody has been really supportive, and I’m trying to listen and learn as much as I can,” he said.

Contact Lena Mitchell at 287-9822 or lena.mitchell@djournal.com.

Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal