Denison celebrated 30 years of being a Texas Main Street City Tuesday with activities that culminated in the Downtown Awards and Celebration at City Hall.

Denison Main Street Director Donna Dow said being a part of the program has been crucial to the city’s downtown revitalization efforts.

“We have been taking photos and videos all day,” Dow said. “There have been at least 100 people or more at each of the main events. The business owners have gotten really excited about it. It is a chance to showcase the town. We’re excited to bring people out to take part in our festivities.”

Dow said being in consecutively for this many years is rare. According to the Texas Historic Commission’s website, the organization which administers the program, before this year, there were only five Texas cities to have been continuously in the program for 30 or more years.

Texas Historic Commission Vice Chair John Crain was one of the speakers to attend the city’s reception at Katy Depot. He talked about the importance of the program to the health of downtown districts across the country. Later in the evening, Dow presented the Downtowner of the Year award to the Mary Karam Gallery.

“You have to work extremely hard to get this, but the award isn’t the reason you work hard,” Dow said of the award. “You believe in Downtown Denison. All the while, you must be running your own business. However, the recipient understands that to make their business better, the entire Downtown must be better.”

The Denison Arts Council won the award for Partner of the Year.

Mary Karam said she has seen a lot of changes in Denison over the years and is excited to see all the new things happening.

“This is the culmination of a lot of effort by a lot of people to make our town shine,” Karam said. “To have the drones and carts recording all the shops we have is something we’ve never done before. The art scene alone has morphed from one thing to another. We have a lot of individual owner businesses we’ve never had before. It is an opportunity for an individual to have success on Main Street. It is something where dreams come true right here on Main Street.”

Kirsten Solomon, who is opening a new business in Denison, said it was a very exciting time to be joining the Denison downtown family.

“We’re just excited to see the progress downtown,” Solomon said. “We had no idea when we bought these buildings in 2015 that Denison would ever take off like that. We thought it was a quiet, sleepy little town that would make a nice place to retire. I am excited to see the future of this town. It is truly great to be a part of it.”

Soloman said out of all the places she looked at, Denison felt right. She said the people are remarkable and everyone makes her feel at home.