Day one of the virtual ‘Red Poppy Festival;’ Georgetown retailers react to a barren downtown


GEORGETOWN, TEXAS (KXAN) — Friday would have been the kickoff to the ‘Red Poppy Festival’ in Georgetown. Instead, it’s opening day for the governor’s ‘Retail-to-Go’ plan for jump-starting the Texas economy.

Downtown Georgetown is proclaimed the ‘Most Beautiful Town Square in Texas.’ On any given day, it warrants plenty of foot traffic, especially when it comes to the poppy festival. Thousands of families swarm the four blocks of the square.

Jemme Lynn Wilks owns the La Bella Casa boutique across from the court house entrance. This time last year, she would have been preparing her nearly 8 employees for the many people who would talk through her door.

“We get people from all over the state, even coming outside the state,” said Jemme Lynn Wilks, Owner of La Bella Casa. “Tonight would have been dysfunction junction.”

Quite literally, as she puts it. Instead, there’s a barren square where many have built their livelihood.

“We do a backyard poppy festival. Our kids sing, we invite people over,” said a local couple walking the square. “We had maybe 150 people last year.”

The poppy festival is supposed to be a celebration of the poppy flower. Its seeds were widely dispersed all throughout Georgetown right after WWI.

Outside of Wilks boutique shop Friday, her door swung wide open with red poppy flowers hanging vibrantly from it. Her two friendly dogs, many locals know, waited to greet people from afar.

“This has been a dream, I came out of retirement from Sun City just to open it.” said Wilks.

Other retailers along the square share the same story. The owner’s of Divine Treasures too sells boutique-like trinkets and nicknacks. Though it’s disheartening to not see the square full of life, they bear some hope having received the go-ahead to open their doors.

“If somebody comes by and says, how much is that doggie in the window? We’ll bring that item out to them,” said Mike Hydanus, Owner of Divine Treasures.

Though many walking the square didn’t have masks on today, those who did stop to smell the iconic flowers were welcome.

The rescheduled Red Poppy Festival is October 23. through the 25. It’ll be called ‘Poptoberfest.’

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