What does the phrase “going to town” mean and Where does it come from?

Usually in our jocular use of the phrase “going to town” we slur it to “goin’ to town.”

It means alert and eager, full of life and vivacity, in the state or condition in which Fortune shines upon one.

Although a very modern expression, we must seek its significance in the backwoods days of more than half a century ago when, for many persons, a visit to a town was a momentous event. One prepared several days in advance for such a trip, getting one’s clothes in order and making up a shopping list.

The trip and the visit itself were filled with interest. The occasion, if the weather were fine, was one of great good fortune. In modern usage the phrase retains much of that same spirit of high adventure.