Fall semester classes may have ended this week at Liberty University, but this weekend is poised to be one of the biggest for the school.
Large crowds are expected at the AA Virginia High School League (VHSL) State Championships at Williams Stadium on Saturday.
Liberty has hosted VHSL championship games since 1998. The university is expecting 10,000 to 12,000 in attendance, according to Ernest Carter, Liberty’s director of Event Management.
Brookville High School (Lynchburg) will take on James Monroe High School (Fredericksburg City) at noon on Saturday; Christiansburg High School (Montgomery County) will face Briar Woods High School (Loudoun County) at 4:30 p.m.
Hundreds of high school athletes will also be filling the Tolsma Indoor Track for the annual Liberty Christmas Invitational on Friday and Saturday. About 900 athletes are entered in the meet, with more than 45 high schools represented.
On the other end of campus, the Liberty Flames women's basketball team will take on Glenville State at 4 p.m. Saturday in the Vines Center. The men’s team will follow at 7 p.m. hosting Virginia Intermont.
Hockey fans will have their chance at a weekend of excitement, too. Crowds are also expected to pack the LaHaye Ice Center at 4 p.m. on Saturday (and 7:30 p.m. on Friday) to watch Liberty’s men’s Division I hockey team face off with No. 1 Penn State. The Flames are ranked No. 5 and hold a 13-5-3 record on the season.
And just next door at the Tower Theater, Theatre Arts students will be performing Romeo and Juliet, now in its second week. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 8-10, and 2 p.m. Dec. 10. It has been 20 years since Liberty performed the Shakespeare classic.
Liberty students will add to the crowds, too. More than 6,000 are expected at Liberty’s annual Christmas Coffeehouse late Friday night, where students will showcase their talent, from musical acts to videos to dancing. Last year a performance by Liberty’s Vision Ministries had more than a million views on YouTube.
The roads around Liberty will also be busy as guests attend the 41st annual Virginia Christmas Spectacular at the nearby Thomas Road Baptist Church. The Broadway-style musical, Let There Be Light, features more than 150,000 lights, an orchestra and a 350-member cast, including many Liberty University students.