The city of Lynchburg took to the streets Friday night, Sept. 7 as people flooded downtown for the fourth annual Get!Downtown street festival.
The event began at 6 p.m. with buses shuttling people in from all around the city. Within moments, the streets filled with sights and sounds. Various venders, including local restaurants and boutiques, lined the street to hand out samples and discounts for their businesses.
Even though the event was initially designed for college students, it now appeals to all different types of Lynchburg residents.
“Get!Downtown was originally started with college students in mind,” Stephanie Keener, the communications and events coordinator of Lynch’s Landing, said. “It is a great way to meet other students from all the other schools in the area.”
Although this may have been the intended purpose, Get!Downtown has become much more than an event for local college students.
“It really has become a family-friendly event,” Keener said.
Some festival attendees came just to see what the excitement was all about, and others were there for a specific purpose, such as getting a free pedicure or having the opportunity to see local artists. For Liberty University student Josh Wade, this was a way for him to “see some of the local businesses and support the community.”
Although it is far from an official count, Keener said they expected anywhere from 8,000 to 10,000 people to show up.
“This is a great chance for everyone to come together. Where else can you see break dancers, hula-hoopers and all these other things in the same place?” Keener said.
The entertainment was not limited to dancing and hula-hooping, though. There were face painters, people on stilts, live music and more.
“It feels just like I’m leaving a fair,” Liberty student Emily Becker said.
The White Hart, a coffee shop lying right in the midst of the event, was overflowing with customers. Not only were they open for business, but they also had a table outside promoting new products. Employee Whittney Chaula said that the reason they participated in the event was for their own business and for the sake of other local businesses.
For Liberty student Cecilia Hines, the event gave her a new appreciation of the city.
“I didn’t know Lynchburg was this cool,” Hines said.
Next year, Get!Downtown will be celebrating its fifth anniversary, and Keener said that plans are already in the works.