There's been a debate among the downtown merchants over how often to hold Broadway Nights.
For the business operators, the quarterly after-hours shopping opportunity coupled with special activities downtown has alternated between just another day to stay late to a really good marketing occasion.
Making Broadway Nights into a quarterly event makes it special. If it happens less often, the occasion will seem like a bigger deal.
All these are good arguments. After all, the merchants foot whatever bill there is for booking live entertainers and organizing special activities around a theme.
There's another factor to be considered.
With a lack of organized entertainment in Monett, outside of school sporting events, Broadway Nights became an anticipated event. Linda Sitton at Peppers and Company has commented that even if the evening activity did not end up drawing a crowd, Broadway Nights days always represented good business for her clothing and accessories business.
A lot of credit goes to Shaun Bennett at Denali Dreams for thinking up Broadway Nights and keeping the activity going. Like anyone else, Bennett didn't ask to have an anchor tied to his neck just for thinking up a good idea.
Still, if it's quarterly or more frequent, Broadway Nights has been a fun addition to life in Monett. The coffee houses can book live entertainment for the evening on their own, but when stores do collaborate with the entertainers, it makes for a better night for everyone.
Today is Broadway Nights' Christmas installment. Broadway merchants have historically stayed open late during the Christmas season. There's nothing terribly original about what they're doing in the Broadway Nights era. But working together, sharing attractions and entertainers like carolers, or fun stuff like a scavenger hunt tonight, is most welcome by the public.
We know merchants are not obligated to provide an attraction for the public in addition to conducting business. In small towns, people wear all kinds of hats. Back in the 1920s and 1930s, hundreds of people would turn out at the car dealerships to see the new year's models.
Granted, there may not have been much else going on in Monett in those days. But businesses can even now provide a reason for getting together. Why not downtown? That's what the Main Street effort is all about.
So hats off to the Broadway Nights participants and those attending. Let's have a grand old night of it, and keep the effort going; the more who attend, and the more often, the better.