Lynchburg, VA- Lynchburg's fourth annual Get!Downtown event will once again be taking over Main Street. On Friday, the festival will shut down traffic from 8th to 13th Street - allowing vendors, performers, and customers to fill the lanes.
Get!Downtown started as a way to get college students familiar with downtown. Six area colleges actually help sponsor the event. But Get Downtown is now attracting more than students, and businesses couldn't be happier to get the attention.
"Just become engaged in downtown Lynchburg. Come down, maybe see what's new and opened since you've been down here. Try a new restaurant," said Anna Bentson, executive director of Lynch's Landing.
"We just love seeing all the people kind of just flood downtown and just check out all the different places around here and different venders and stuff," said Ashley Rhodes, manager of Robin Alexander Bistro.
Flood is a good way to describe it.The streets will be packed with people checking out the showcase of stores and restaurants. Since Get!Downtown's first year, organizers say they've seen more students taking advantage of downtown resources.
"We've seen an increase on Saturdays during parent's weekends, homecomings. A lot more parents coming downtown which we think is hopefully a direct result of this event," said Bentson.
An unplanned result has been the explosion of local interest beyond students.
"It's surpassed college students. Now it's just locals. It's people from Forest and Bedford and here in Lynchburg. So it's just grown a lot," said Rhodes.
It's the only time a year downtown streets are shut down-and it's for one giant party. This year, the party's going to last a little longer.
"Another thing that we're doing new this year is Stay!Downtown. So a couple of our restaurants and venues will host live music after the festival is over," said Bentson.
Rhodes says when Robin Alexander was approached with the idea, they jumped on it.
"We're like, yeah let's do this!" said Rhodes.
Rhodes calls Stay!Downtown the after party.
"Hey you're downtown, now stay down here, chill, hang out with us," said Bentson.
Bentson and Rhodes hope after going downtown and staying downtown, you'll be returning to downtown.
One of the main events Friday night will be a meatball eating contest sponsored by Catalano's Delicatessen. One of WSET's own anchors will be competing. It will be at 7 p.m. right in the middle of the festival, and you won't want to miss it.