Banners welcome Wilson visitors

Nash Street display promotes whirligigs, downtown district

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After months of behind-the-scenes design work, historic downtown Wilson debuted new banners recently that exemplify the area’s tagline: Crossroads of charm and innovation.

“More than anything, the banners serve a purpose,” said Susan Kellum, downtown marketing and communications coordinator. “They are not just pretty banners. They also help visitors find more information about the town and we have a lot of visitors now.”

Previously, the downtown district had banners that were hung in 2013 and lasted about five years. Kellum said she started the process of designing and ordering replacement banners about six months ago, eventually spending less than $6,000 on 50 banners. The four designs, each including a whirligig and a streetscape, span a six-block stretch of Nash Street.

“We wanted to reinforce our #DowntownTurnaround campaign while highlighting the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park and some of our streetscapes,” Kellum said. “Our tagline is the ‘Crossroads of Charm and Innovation,’ so the streetscapes give a nod to the charm of our historic buildings while the whirligigs give a nod to our future based on art and innovation.”

In the past, banners had been placed on poles throughout the downtown area, but with projects on adjacent streets, the decision was made to confine the display to Wilson’s version of Main Street.

“The feedback I have had has been extremely positive regarding the color and the content,” Kellum said.

Crews put the banners up on the weekend of Aug. 25 with 25 banners on each side of Nash Street.

“When people come to a city that promotes itself as having North Carolina’s folk art, they expect to see whirligigs, so we wanted to make sure they did see them and feel welcomed,” Kellum said. “We also wanted to provide the hashtag, so they could find information more easily regarding our downtown and events happening here as well as the web address to find even more information.”

Kellum said the banners go along with several other efforts underway, including the launch of a community calendar, the second printing of a downtown business guide and the addition of wayfinding signs.

“We’re working on numerous ways to provide visitors with information, including the wayfinding signs that will include digital kiosks,” she said. “The banners are part of a broader information campaign.”

For more information on downtown business, available properties and events, visit www.historicdowntownwilson.com/.