10 small town happiness-makers for you

10 happiness-makers to take advantage of in your own town:

  1. Have a picnic in the park.
  2. Watch a school sports game. 
  3. Sit outside at night and look up at the stars.
  4. Catch a school play or concert.
  5. Attend an auction or fundraiser just to people watch.
  6. Drop into the public library and ask a question. 
  7. Take a dip in the public pool.
  8. Find an outdoor stage, invite a few friends, and give a performance of your own (music, dance, poetry, speaking, you name it). 
  9. Meet someone new at the coffee shop.
  10. Make an empty lot into your own public space. Have a picnic or play games there.

You probably knew all of these already. I offer this reminder because there is always more to do in your small town than you realize. How many times have you heard, or even said, “There’s nothing to do here!” 

So I’m challenging you to think, right now, of five things to do in your town. Right now. Get a pen. Start with the first happy thing you can think of. Yes, you can draw on that list above, but put a local spin on it. Don’t just copy, make it personal for your place. 

It’s easy to remember the big festivals and events, like the car show or craft fair. You have to think more to find your “insider” events, the things locals know about but never tell visitors. Your visitors from big towns would love to sit in your small town gym and cheer at the high school basketball game, or bid on cool junk at your country auctions, or watch movies without fighting a crowd at your local theater.

Do you have two things to do on your list now? Write them down. 

Events you think are nothing special can mean the world to visitors and guests. When travel blogger and tourism expert Sheila Scarborough found out about a weekly Amish produce auction in Jamesport, Missouri, she was thrilled to go see it. “The experience added immeasurably to our stay there and became the lead for a Jamesport travel article that I wrote for the ‘Dallas Morning News,’” Sheila said. 

Is your list up to four or five? 

Make time for “anytime” activities. Think about the experiences that make your small town special, like enjoying the walking trail, touring the historic neighborhood, playing at the playground, or laying out and watching the stars in the park at night.

How many are you up to? Hit reply and send me your list! 

Now here’s why I really want you to do these things. When you do these, you’ll be happier, but you also make your community a better place. You’re using your public places, strengthening community ties and connecting with the people around you. 

So the next time someone asks you what there is to do around here, I expect you to have your answer ready. 

Links of the Week
Want to draw more people downtown for evening shopping hours? Try a ‘Night Owls’ event.

Any town can copy this idea to hold a History Walk through downtown.

Keep making your town better,

PS – Are you planning on starting a business in a tiny space? A U.S. TV producer developing a new series asked me for help finding people who are planning to build their own business in tiny spaces. So that might be a tiny mobile business, a tiny pop-up restaurant, or a tiny bed and breakfast in a bus. But you need to be planning on opening within the next six months, and interested in being a part of a TV show. I don’t know these folks, but I would be glad to pass along their info if you are interested. Hit reply and let me know.