December 7, 2020, Batesville, Ark. — Take a walk on the wassail side Saturday, December 12 in historic downtown Batesville.
The inaugural Main Street Wassail Walk will encourage people to stroll Main Street Batesville and get to know downtown merchants over a cup of wassail and hors d’oeuvres.
A yuletide drink in England since Medieval times, Wassail is a mulled cider, spiced with seasonal items like ginger, cinnamon and clove.
“It can be hot or cold; it can be alcoholic or non-alcoholic,” Main Street Batesville board chairman, Brian Coltharp, said. “It can be apple cider, it can be pear cider. There are many different versions of wassail.”
For a $5 ticket benefiting Main Street Batesville, available in advance or at participating merchants, people can sample a wide variety of wassail styles from 10 confirmed participants: Beneath the Willow, Main Street Batesville office, Batesville Area Arts Council, Thompson’s Jewelry, Main Attire, Tomahawk Chop Company, Natural State Running, Autry’s White River Furniture, Clara Jane & Jax, and Melba Theater.
Lasting from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m., participants will receive a punch card and walking map that doubles as a ballot to vote for the maker of the ‘Best Wassail’. Cards can be purchased at any participating merchant.
“We will have hand sanitizing stations available and merchants are abiding by capacity restrictions,” noted Mandi Curtwright, Main Street Batesville Executive Director.
“And all the businesses are going to be providing their own COVID precautions, whether it means they host it outside if the weather is permitting, or they will have pre-packaged, ready to grab-and-go items,” Curtwright said.
“Batesville is such a great place and I think we have a lot of hidden gems that sometimes people don’t know about,” Coltharp said. “So, this is a way for the businesses that participate to have their stores decorated and showcase what they have to offer, as well as help out Main Street Batesville.”
Cathy Drew is a lifelong resident of the region that she loves to promote. As a matter of fact, she was born in downtown Batesville in the late ’60s, which is in one of the eight counties she now enjoys encouraging people to visit.
She has a son, Jonathon (Jon) Drew, his wife Devyn Stewart. Drew is also grandmother to Jon and Devyn’ s son, Jase Drew.
However, Drew can’t skip the other part of her family: the pets! Lady Bird (a stray dog welcomed into their home in June 2012) and of course, Howard – – a puppy compliments of Lady Bird shortly after arriving at the Drew home. They also have Kasha whom Drew inherited when her mother passed in 2016, and they adopted Bullet, a stray in November of 2016.
Drew, became associated with the Ozark Gateway Region in 1990 while working at the ad agency (The Media Market Inc.). The agency handled marketing for the regional association where she along with her co-workers produced an annual tabloid publication. She began work as the director of the Ozark Gateway Region In June 2000.
After Drew became director, she took the region to the next level by helping the tourism organization create a new website and moved it from the old newspaper paper tabloid publication to a color magazine format.
Over the years Drew has helped the organization meet new marketing goals, such as in- and out-of-state marketing, assuring that all 105,000 copies of their magazines are distributed each year.
Drew also helped the region create a heritage trail map that is still on posters in many establishments across the region and Arkansas. She oversaw development of a motorcycle route map that folds into a credit card format for riders, as well as those seeking scenic routes to enjoy the beautiful Ozark Mountains.
She has attended several AARP Shows across the U.S., representing Arkansas. She helped open a visitor center for the Ozark Gateway, allowing visitors to pick up information from across the entire state 24/7.
In 2016, she assisted creating the first Ozark Gateway Region Golf Classic and the tournament continues to grow each year, allowing the organization to grow its co-op program, helping each county have dedicated promotion. Drew stays busy at Ozark Gateway as the ad sales manager, magazine editor, day-to-day office operations, trade show representative, as well as magazine distribution representative all while making sure that the region is represented all over Arkansas and southern Missouri.
Drew has been featured in several local and statewide publications over the years as well as the 1997 cover of the Ozark Gateway Region tabloid along with her then 4-year-old son, Jon. She has received several awards such as the Batesville Rotarian of the Year in 2010 as well as a three-time Paul Harris Fellow.
She also has served as an Independence County election commissioner for several years and now serves as their co-election coordinator, helping with behind-the-scenes management of voting equipment, day-to-day election deadlines as well as poll worker training.
Drew serves on the Arkansas Travel Council Board of Directors, Ozark Foothills Film Fest Board of Directors, Batesville Rotary Club Past President and is the Rotary Clubs current publicity chair.
In March of 2018, Drew was honored with induction into the Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame for her many years of dedicated service to the tourism industry.