It may be the best example of a downtown revitalization project in the tri-states. DeFuniak Springs draws thousands of people from across the southeast each Christmas season.
Downtown DeFuniak Springs appears much the way it did at the time of its incorporation in 1901. That's not by accident, but rather by design. Store owners capitalize on a theme of a "return to a much simpler way of life.” Several months ago, the Hotel DeFuniak reopened. The rooms have been restored to its original, 1920-era look, and that draws guests.
At a florist and gift shop, the customers can be from just about anywhere. They learn about DeFuniak Springs through the Internet and trade publications.
"The homes, the hotels, the railroad station across the street. You can spend a day just walking and taking in the history of the town," said Connie Mullins.
Local chamber of commerce officials say that DeFuniak Springs has the look and feel of a small town, and that's fine with them.
Walton County’s rapid population growth which included the doubling of its population during the 1990s is also credited with improving business opportunities here.
DeFuniak Springs nightly Christmas Reflections around Lake DeFuniak also brings in crowds to the town.