Sep 15, 2009

Get Downtown

by Camille Smith

Downtown Lynchburg was alive with dancing, music and buzzing crowds of students Friday night at the first Get Downtown street festival. Local downtown and area restaurants and businesses opened their doors to welcome students, new and returning, to all that downtown has to offer.

Main Street from 13th Street to seventh Street shut down from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. to accommodate the events of the evening, which included live music, stilt walkers, roller derby skaters, craft tables, shopping, fashion shows, karaoke and plenty of food.

The primary focus of the event was to reach out to students at the six Lynchburg area colleges and universities, giving them a taste of downtown Lynchburg. Each university, together with Lynch’s Landing, urged students to attend the street festival, which was specifically geared toward them, according to Executive Director of Lynch’s Landing, Angela Hamilton.

“We got a lot of e-mails from our schools promoting tonight,” Megan, a sophomore at Randolph College said. “Our school gave us free tickets to a concert at the Academy, and so far we got free chicken sandwiches at Chick-fil-a.”

Liberty students Kira Shriver, Tama Klein and Molly Edwards attended the festival after hearing about it through Facebook.
“We wanted to see what kind of stuff that downtown had,” Edwards said.

Vendors lined the streets, manning tables covered with their products, which they eagerly advertised to the passing onlookers. Businesses handed out free merchandise or discount coupons to anyone who stopped by.

“One table handed out wooden roses to everyone, with a business card attached,” Danielle Vaughn, a senior at Liberty said. “If I take the card in (to the business) I can get 10 percent off of anything.”

Phillip Sutton, a graduate student at Liberty, believed the event was a success, and that downtown was a safe place students should see for themselves.

“Don’t be afraid to get off the mountain,” Sutton said. “Come experience Lynchburg.”

The festivities that surrounded the Get Downtown event, while targeting college students, reached out to the residents of

Lynchburg as well. The Community Market parking lot was
packed with families waiting in line for inflatable playgrounds and snow cones.

Kennedy Joyce Bobbitt, an eight-year-old Lynchburg native, danced on the fountain in the Community Market lot waiting for her turn on the playground, while her mother Virginia Bobbitt listened to the live band.

“My favorite part was the jumpie and the stilt walkers,” Kennedy Joyce Bobbitt said. “I’m having a lot of fun.”

“People should come downtown more often. There’s Amazement Square and Percival Landing. It’s great,” Virginia Bobbitt said.
“There is so much to do.”

Contact Camille Smith at

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