In downtown Fulton, paved roads give way to brick-lined streets, antique stores and boutiques – not big-box retailers – line the sidewalks, and friendly faces greet newcomers who are there to take it all in.
This downtown area, rightfully named the Brick District, is a series of shops, restaurants and other small businesses that give Fulton a unique appeal.
For about two years, Thomas Riley, president of the Brick District, has worked on restoring historic downtown Fulton and bringing the Brick District to life.
The Brick District is eclectic, vibrant, and always changing, but with a very grounded sense of history and place,” said Riley. “We aren’t trying to be any other place and are very comfortable with our own blend of old and new.”
In the past year, The Brick District has welcomed many new businesses, events and people.
Recently, the Brick District added Brooklyn Pizza and Café Crème to the mix of well-established businesses, joining Smockingbird’s gifts, Sault’s Drug Store – a pharmacy with a 1940’s soda fountain inside – and Beks restaurant on Court St.
Downtown is now home to the Brick District Farmer’s Market. Every Saturday morning from May-October, local vendors line the streets, selling everything from jams and fresh produce to knick-knacks and paintings. Sometimes, there is even live music.
The Brick District also hosts the annual Morel and Microbrew Festival in April. This relatively new event is free and invites regional breweries and avid morel mushroom lovers to come together in the spring to celebrate good food and good drinks; and you can’t miss the music, live auction and morel-related merchandise.
Also a town favorite, The Fulton Street Fair, will be held in the Brick District on June 20-21. For 11 years, downtown Fulton has welcomed people to celebrate the city’s history with carnivals, fried food, live music, and a parade. This year, the Astral Gypsies will make a special appearance, defying gravity and dazzling guests with interactive art.
All of these changes have been well received by the community. The lively, new-and-improved Brick District keeps visitors and the people of Fulton coming back for more.
We’ve known for years that we have something special in the Brick District,” said Debbie LaRue, secretary of the Brick District. “Our feedback from the community has been great; it tells us we are doing something right”
Even with all of these new assets being added to the Brick District, Riley and LaRue aren’t quite finished yet. Recently, they obtained approval for $20,000 from the City of Fulton to spend on improving downtown.
They also applied for a $250,000 grant to restore the downtown theater. Built in 1928, the venue currently is vacant, but with its stained glass front and vintage appeal, the space has plenty of potential.
With the Brick District on the rise and a thriving, new atmosphere, Fulton’s tagline holds true: “Once you know…” you’ll be sure to come back.
Written by Abbey Theban, intern for the Missouri Division of Tourism.