When the Excel! Estherville Arts & Culture Committee and Estherville Area Chamber of Commerce saw there were going to be 21 vendors at the Downtown Market at the start of this year's season, they were excited.
Now there are 35.
That's what Stephanie Neppl, chamber executive director, told chamber members at Business After five Tuesday night at Citizens Community Credit Union. And that's one heck of a great start toward what could be a great venue that could draw people regionally.
There are communities that depend on similar events, and for good reason. Downtown markets, flea markets, bazaars - whatever you want to call them - are a fantastic way to draw people into your community to see what you have to offer.
And Library Square is a great venue to hold it. And throw in the monthly music, and you can start to envision the Thursday Downtown Market as a great prelude to any of a number of three-day celebrations that Estherville could host to draw more and more people into the community.
Besides the market, more and more people are taking advantage of our local features.
A great example of that is the Paddle For The Cure canoe/kayak float starting at 1 p.m. this Sunday at the swinging bridge. We can probably look for a lot more people getting in on such events on the river.
Estherville and Emmet County parks are seeing increased traffic too, with visitors to Fort Defiance State Park at least quadrupled over the last five or six years. Camping at county parks is at an all-time high and the disc golf course is seeing more and more use all the time.
And with the new pavillion, Thoreson Field is hosting teams from out of town. Add to that a very active summer rec venue through the Regional Wellness Center and the City of Estherville Parks and Rec Department and you can start to see some huge difference from the sleepy little town Estherville was just 10 or so years ago.
And we can thank the volunteers and community-minded groups that have made it all happen. Things have been changing in Estherville - for the better. And they're only going to get even better.