By Kristin Kane
MARTINSVILLE (Aug. 1, 2014) - The very first edition of “Your Town Friday” takes us to Martinsville!
You’ll find the Morgan County city about 30 miles southwest of Indianapolis. Population is about 12,000.
“(Martinsville is) a small town in Indiana where the people are friendly, there are a lot of fun things to do for the family, people of all ages and we do our best to make people feel at home," says Jamie Taylor, executive director of the Greater Martinsville Chamber of Commerce. "Our location makes a big difference, we’re between Indianapolis and Bloomington, if you have to be between both for work or activities but you just want to relax in a small town atmosphere.”
Downtown Martinsville is set up like a square with the courthouse at the center. The Main Street Organization recently obtained a grant to get six facades redone downtown to attract new residents, visitors and investors.
Along Main Street you’ll find an adorable little shop called “Berries and Ivy Country Store.” They sell everything from antiques, collectibles and candles to rugs, stained glass windows and wood furniture.
Co-owner Ann Lankford says her customers always seem to find a little something special,
“They can find what they’re looking for, they don’t have to go to four or five different places to look and we try to provide the things people would normally buy,” she tells FOX59.
Just a few feet away, along Main Street, you’ll find Martinsville Candy Kitchen. It’s been around for 95 years…founded back in 1919! It used to be attached to a restaurant and there have been several owners over the years.
Right now John Badger and his wife run the store. They bought it a few years ago because they didn’t want to see the Candy Kitchen close. John’s mother actually works in the back and makes most of the candy. Fifty percent of what you see is made in-house; they purchase their sugar-free items and creams.
Flavored candy canes are a huge draw, and customers can take tours during the holidays so kids can see how the candy canes are made.
“A lot of people say it’s the icon of Martinsville, a lot of people come from a lot of places, if you read the book up front there a lot of people sign it, Florida, Kentucky, anywhere you want to look there are states,” John says. “A lot of people who have moved away come back and stop in and get their favorite candy.”
For years, Martinsville has attracted many different types of artists from all over the world. Just a block from the downtown square you’ll find The Art Sanctuary, which is housed in a former stone church. It’s an artist colony with a number of studios, monthly exhibits, classes and workshops. It’s also a facility you can rent out for weddings and other functions.
“There are a lot of artists in Morgan County, so this provides a place where they can come and interact with one another, not even if they have a studio,” says Wed Grube, resident artist and acting board chairman. “On Tuesday nights they can come meet other artists. We see ourselves as part of this downtown rebirth if you will.”
If you are looking for more of a fun family outing, stopping by Hunter’s Honey Farm is a must. Indiana’s beekeeper sells all sorts of honey products, soaps and candles. They also do tours so you can learn about honeybees and how the honey is made.
When you talk about Martinsville, you must include the Morgan County 4-H Fair! The fairgrounds are located just a few minutes from the downtown square. It’s an annual fun family event with a huge emphasis on agriculture.
Organizers want to educate people about Morgan County’s farming and livestock. They also want people to know how their food is produced and what happens on family farms. In addition to that, you’ll find good food, music, entertainment, rides and games at the fair!
“Everyone in the county comes every year. It’s the one chance to see people, it’s the last thing everybody enjoys before the kids go back to school and everything resumes in the fall,” says Ellen Wilson-Pruitt, president of the Morgan County Fair.
If you want “Your Town Friday” to come to your town, be sure to submit your town/city/event information. And please post your pictures using #YourTownFriday!