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We want everyone to appreciate the treasures found downtown

Sunday, the riverboat Queen of the Mississippi will make another stop in Vicksburg.

It is scheduled to arrive at 1:30 p.m. and leave just after midnight. And while it may not be at full capacity when it arrives — the number of passengers and crew are restricted due to COVID-19 guidelines — it still will bring a large group of visitors eager to visit Vicksburg, learn our history and take in all they can of our noted southern hospitality.

But when those visitors venture off the boat and into our city, what will they find? 

Because it is Sunday, they may very well find many of downtown Vicksburg’s iconic shops and destinations closed.

They will find eateries open, offering great food and beverages, but there is more to downtown than just food. 

When riverboat cruises were shut down due to the spread of the virus, local retailers, museum operators and restauranteurs noted the loss of business tied to those who hop on and off the riverboats in their near-daily visits to our riverfront.

Now that they are back, are we as a community taking the steps to fully maximize the impact these riverboats — especially when they arrive and leave on a Sunday — can have on the bottom line? 

By no means is this meant to criticize the business operations of our downtown business owners. They have fought and scraped to get by during an incredibly tough year. Instead, this is to encourage and walk alongside their efforts.

Visit Vicksburg provides an in-depth schedule of upcoming dockings, giving local retailers a running start to prepare for these visitors. And, it gives retailers the chance to be flexible in how they attract these customers and secure their business.

For those of us who live in Vicksburg, we know of the treasures that are found downtown  — whether it be the quaint shops, the astounding history or the decadent food options. It would be a shame for those who only visit Vicksburg once to miss out on what we cherish just because they happened to come on a Sunday.

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