Corinth’s downtown lights will continue to brighten spirits through the doldrums of winter.

The popular lights that have drawn visitors downtown throughout the holiday season will remain up through the winter months due to the strong response from residents and tourists.

“We needed some inspiration and those lights had such a great meaning to it,” said Corinth Mayor Tommy Irwin.

Looking back to the end of 2019 when the remnants of Tropical Storm Olga slammed the region, causing major damage throughout the city and county only to be followed in the spring of 2020 with the start of the devastating COVID-19 pandemic, the mayor said the city and the region have been through some very dark times and the lights have been a source of hope and encouragement.

“This particular year was more meaningful than any other time I’ve ever seen,” he said.

The mayor said a strong response on social media to the displays encouraged everyone to work together to keep the lights up longer.

Main Street Corinth Director Angela Avent said the original plan had been to take the lights down at the start of the year, but after the huge response her agency, the Corinth Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and the city were able to develop a plan to keep the lights outlining the buildings up through the winter months. She said she’s extremely grateful for the support of the city and board of aldermen, Alcorn County Electric Power Association, the Corinth Fire Department and others who have worked so hard to make the project a success.

Avent said many have asked about keeping the lights up year round, but that’s just not economically feasible. She explained the costs of maintaining the lights, paying for the power bill, replacing bulbs and keeping them running make that impossible.

Avent said they also want to keep the downtown lights as an anticipated part of the holidays. Burns said people were so excited when the time came this year to light up downtown and they want to make that a continuing tradition for the community.

The lighting effort has grown brighter each year thanks to the efforts of all those involved. The project began three years ago and has steadily expanded. This season saw the addition of more than 4,000 new lights, lining the rooftops along the main downtown streets. The Christmas season also brought the new Christmas village at the CARE garden and more.

CACVB Director Christy Burns said the downtown lights along with the spectacular display at the home of the Frasier family have helped make Corinth a destination for those looking for Christmas cheer and holiday joy. She said they’ve gotten an enormous amount of interest on social media with people sharing photos of their visits, which helps draw even more people to the community.

“I think the whole community had embraced the light display,” she said.

Avent said the lights have brought new visitors to the community and put the best of Corinth front and center as those visitors have spent time exploring downtown’s shops, restaurants and other businesses and discovering the all the wonderful things the community has to offer. Those people will also likely return and will spread the news to family and friends of the fun they had.

With social distancing requirements amid the pandemic, Burns said the entire atmosphere downtown has provided a safe and fun way for people to get out, celebrate and enjoy the city. People can stroll through downtown or just drive through and experience the beauty and wonder while staying safe.

Burns and Avent said they want to continue to see the light displays grow and expand. Planning is already underway for this year’s Christmas season and they hope to add carolers, more lights and even possibly an ice skating rink downtown.

“The best is yet to come,” said Avent.

Banner Independent Editor

Managing editor of the Daily Corinthian’s sister newspaper, Booneville’s Banner-Independent, Brant Sappington has been a member of the Daily Corinthian family since 2001.

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