Weekends like this make the difference

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 17, 2003

This weekend, when nearly 100 dragboats and their race teams descend on Demopolis, this city will be put to a new test.

Over the past few years, people in this community have discovered a way of appreciating and supporting certain events. Despite poor weather at this year’s Freedom on the River weekend, it was clearly evident that our citizens supported the event &045;&045; both with money and attendance.

And obviously, we support this city’s shining event &045;&045; Christmas on the River.

Like any small town, we tend to pick and choose what we will support. When new events come to town, we sometimes ignore these opportunities in order to sit on the couch or fix up the yard.

While we don’t believe it is the newspaper’s responsibility to set any sort of agenda, we do believe we have a duty to make suggestions, and we strongly suggest that people get behind the events of this weekend and make time to attend the ODBA dragboat races scheduled for Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Our reason is quite simple:

Most people in this community haven’t seen a dragboat races. In fact, there may be a number of people in Marengo County who don’t know the first thing about racing and who really don’t care about the sport.

At the same time, we believe there are thousands of residents who care about making this city a better place to live. We believe people want better jobs, more restaurants and bigger businesses. In terms of quality of life, we want Demopolis to become a bigger and better city.

Events like the OBDA races this weekend &045;&045; believe it or not &045;&045; represent the ways our city can make progress.

This weekend, we’ll host more than 1,000 visitors. Some of those visitors will tour our local stores, eat at our restaurants and drive on our streets. Most of the time, they will camp out somewhere near the river and watch dragboat races.

While watching boats zip by, those visitors also will watch the faces and smiles and hand shakes of the people who live here. They’ll notice whether or not we support and appreciate the visitors who come to town. They’ll notice if we open our arms to an outsider.

If they don’t like what they see, they’ll get back in their cars and go home. If they like what they see, they’ll still get in their cars and go home &045;&045; but they’ll say something good about us, as well. They’ll tell friends that Demopolis is a great place to visit. They may even suggest our city to a couple looking to make a move.

How we handle weekends like this one upcoming may have more to do with the future prosperity of our city than any tourism advertisement we distribute.