FIVE PROJECTS AND PROGRAMS FROM DOWNTOWN LYNCHBURG ASSOCIATION

Want to know how to get involved in moving downtown forward? Invest in our projects!

Here are just a few of the things we are working on right now to help make downtown just a little bit more awesome. Click the button below to make a one-time or monthly donation to DLA, and help us do even more.

Click here to see more information on our Projects and Programs…

 

6 Ways to Enjoy Downtown This Fall

Downtown Lynchburg’s vibrant culture gets more exciting each fall! With so many options for food and fun, it can be a little overwhelming. So we put together a list of 6 must-do things in Lynchburg this fall. You won’t to miss out on these!


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1. Treat Yo’ Self

Mark your calendars for Oct. 10, because Mrs. Joy’s Absolutely Fabulous Treats is debuting a new pumpkin cookie! How cute are they?!? Rumor has it, there may be some unicorn pumpkin cookies in the mix, too.

You can also get your pumpkin fix at Cafe Bliss with more pumpkin pie, pumpkin bars and pumpkin coffee.


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2. Not Your Average (Cup of) Jo

Dublin 3 Coffeehouse knows we all love a good PSL, but have you tried their MSL (maple spice latte)? It’s everything you love about classic fall flavors, but with a sweet and nutty twist. And if you can’t decide which on you want, just get them both- ask for a Pumpkin Maple Latte. Trust us, you won’t regret it. Or try another one of their fall drinks, like the caramel apple cider or ginger and honey cappuccino.

But if you’re really set on finding that PSL, be sure to check out The White Hart Cafe. This Lynchburg staple never disappoints, and their lattes really live up to the hype!


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3. Oktoberfest

Come celebrate one of Lynchburg's favorite traditions at Main St. Eatery’s Oktoberfest! From now until November 17 you can find everyone’s favorite German food and brews, including Bavarian beer cheese dip, schnitzel, and Spatenbräu (the official Oktoberfest Beer). Stop by after work or make a night out of it! However you do it, you don’t want to miss this seasonal highlight! Schedule your reservation here.


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4. Lynchstock Music Festival

Grab some friends and head to Riverfront Park for the Lynchstock Music Festival! This year marks the 6th annual festival on Saturday, Oct. 20, and with tickets starting at just $15 why wouldn’t you want to be there? Hear from artists like Dr. Dogg, Vacation Manor, Beatnik Sound and Great Health. Get your tickets now.


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5. Hike ‘N Bike

Escape city-life for a few hours and trek one of Downtown Lynchburg’s nature trails. Take a stroll on the Riverwalk trail that runs along Jefferson Street and follow along as it crosses the James River to Percival’s Isle, with great spots for picnics and exploring. While you’re down there, be sure to take a picture with the iconic “LOVE” sign!

Boots NOT made for walking? Rent a bike from Bikes Unlimited and head west on the Blackwater Creek Trail! With connections to Point of Honor and Kemper Street Station, it’s a hub for runners, bikers, and walkers to explore the natural side of town. Plan your trail adventure today.


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6. Harvest Festival

Celebrate the beginning of fall with with a visit to the Lynchburg Community Market’s Harvest Festival! It’s happening on Saturday, Oct. 27, and it’ll feature free kids activities from 9 a.m.- 1 p.m., including face and pumpkin painting, and a Locavore cook-off from 10 a.m.- 12 p.m. For only $5 you can sample each dish and vote for a winner. All the regular restaurants and booths will be open, including Grains of Sense, Lorraine Bakery and Philippine Delight. Plan your Saturday visit.


 

Top Five Reasons You Don't Want to Miss Get Downtown This Year

September 7, 2018
Main Street, Lynchburg
6pm - 10pm

Not only is this the 10th anniversary of Get Downtown, it’s going to be the best year yet! The event has been extended by one hour so that you and all your people can see and do ALL THE THINGS.

Here are 5 reasons why this year's festival CAN NOT BE MISSED. 


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1. It's foodie heaven.

Seriously, the food is going to be insane. From donuts and ice cream to tacos and pizza, we guarantee you will everything you could possibly want.

 

A list so fantastic it will make your mouth water:

Action Gyro

Bahama Sno-Shack

Benny Scarpetta’s

Brother Jake's Brick Oven Creations

Clarkboys Kettle Corn

Earl's Carolina BBQ

El Cabrito’s

Emerald Grille

Hibachi Guys

Homestead Creamery

Kegney Brothers

Koto Grill

Main Street Eatery

Mama Crockett’s Cider Donuts

Market At Main

Nomad Coffee Company

Sourdough Pizza Company

Taco Shark

The Frosty Penguin

Upper Crust Pizza

Watts Poppin' & Chillin'

AND MANY MORE!

 

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2. Entertainment for everyone.

Get Downtown has always been chock-full of entertainment, but this year we are taking it to a new level. More street performers than ever before will dance, juggle, ride, jump, and hula hoop their way into dazzling you with their amazing performances.

There will be not one but 3 stages featuring over 10 bands, including DJ Enzo Gran, The Dundies, and Jake Z and the Locals. So you will have no problem finding your perfect groove.

To get the complete run down of everything you need to know, visit Get Downtown Lynchburg.

 

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3. Beer Garden - Times Two!

For the first time in Get Downtown history there will be not just one beer garden, but TWO! One will be located at the Community Market and the second will be at the Academy Center of the Arts. Both will feature craft beer from Deschutes Brewery and the proceeds will support Downtown Lynchburg Association!

On Tap

  • Deschutes Fresh Squeezed IPA

  • Deschutes Pacific Wonderland

  • Deschutes Black Butte Porter

  • Deschutes American Wheat

  • Buskey Cider

*Miller Light, Coors Light, White Claw Hard Seltzer cans also available

 

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4. Fun for the kids

Kids of every age will have so much to do and see downtown that they will be talking about it for days. Gus the Bus is BACK bringing loads of activities and games. Also, be ready to meet Elsa, Ariel, and more. Snagging a photo with their favorite movie character will make the night complete!

 

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5. It's even easier to get to.

We have FREE public shuttles from four different locations. That's right. Hop on the GLTC shuttle and you won't even have to worry about parking! It's the best way to get to and from the event. Did we mention that it's free?

 

There are so many more reasons to Get Downtown this year. Check out the full event details at www.getdowntownlynchburg.com. See you Friday!

The Restaurants of the Virginian

Opening in spring 2018, The Virginian Lynchburg will feature three unique dining experiences created and operated by Parry Restaurant Group, well-known for other downtown favorites: Shoemakers, Bootleggers, Waterstone, My Dog Duke’s Diner, and El Jefe.

The Virginian hotel, a centerpiece of downtown Lynchburg since 1913, is part of the Curio Collection by Hilton. Featuring 8,000 sq. ft. of beautiful event space for meetings, conferences, and receptions, the hotel will also offer:

Willaim and Henry Steakhouse

Featuring USDA prime steaks, premium seafood, and truly remarkable service in a classic white tablecloth setting, this is more than just a special occasion restaurant.

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Skyline Rooftop Bar

Guests will enjoy comforting food, exceptional service, and a cozy atmosphere. This contemporary rooftop bar offers a lively environment for enjoying fire-roasted artisanal flatbreads, hearty salads and sandwiches, and a variety of tapas plates.

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Marigold Coffee & Wine Bar

With freshly brewed coffee, wine, high protein grab-and-go sandwiches, and sides, Marigold will offer nourishing treats, early or late to accompany the morning cup of coffee or an afternoon glass of wine.

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Stay tuned to our Facebook Page for more info!

Fifth Street Utility Replacement and Streetscape

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Starting this April of 2018, Fifth Street will be undergoing the final phase of the recent utility replacement and streetscape project.

We know, we know. More construction is not what anyone wants. We are with you! But at the end of these construction efforts, we are left with more beautiful streets and sidewalks, and stronger infrastructure that will serve our community for years to come. 

Over the past few years, you can see how previous streetscaping efforts have attracted new businesses to the area. You can now get a fantastic cup of coffee, have some BBQ, and enjoy locally-sourced seasonal cuisine – all on Fifth Street. 

The next phase of the Fifth Street revitalization project will take place between Jackson and Taylor Streets and along Park Avenue between 5th and 6th Streets. Not only is roadway and sidewalks getting a facelift, but public utilities are going to be improved so that they can keep up with the rapidly growing and developing area.

The Federal Street traffic circle and other utility and streetscape work between Federal Street and Main Street have been completed and create a welcoming environment for new businesses choosing to call Fifth Street home!

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During this project, access to Fifth Street will be limited to all vehicular traffic, but don't let that stop you from making your way downtown! Truck traffic can detour downtown via 12th Street or the Lynchburg Expressway, all other traffic can access downtown through 8th street or 12th street!

Getting to your favorite Fifth Street finds won't be hard either! All side streets will be open for pedestrian traffic as well as cars. There is no need to worry as your morning cup of coffee from Fifth Street Grind, or weekend dinner plans at Grey's or Fifth and Federal Station won't be affected by the beautification and revitalization of Fifth Street. 

As we always say....progress is messy! But worth it in the end. Help support these fantastic Fifth Street businesses by visiting them during construction. We'll see you there!

Looking for more information? 

View the Virtual Public Meeting created by the City of Lynchburg Department of Water Resources.

Questions: 

Jes Gearing

jes.gearing@lynchburgva.gov

Valentine's Day in Downtown Lynchburg

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It's that time of year again, and whether this is your favorite or most hated holiday, there are plenty of ways for you to celebrate your way in Downtown Lynchburg, where food, drinks, gifts, and delights await! Valentine’s Day may be slightly commercialized, but you can still make it your own thanks to all that Downtown has to offer. 

So whether your February 14th is a day of romantic celebration, a chance to celebrate your favorite Galentines, an great opportunity to meet other singles, or simply a good night to drink alone and sulk, we salute you!

Celebrate

We can all appreciate that holidays bring more events and parties to the Downtown scene—here is the complete list for the upcoming week— there is a lot to love.

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Enjoy the soulful harmonies of Drew and Ellie Holcomb, a married couple whose songs like “You and Me” will make for a romantic and memorable night out. Catch them at the Academy as the latest show in the Warehouse Concert Series.

And, for “those that love to create art, without the heart,” check out the Anti-Valentine’s Clay Party at the Academy where class instructor Kim Clarke will help you improve your pottery techniques for only $20. There will also be wine bottles available for $10 each to keep the celebration going! 

If you’re going to be boycotting the holiday, don’t do it alone! Head out for THE downtown Anti-Valentine’s party at The Water Dog on the 14th itself; described as a great opportunity to “slap Cupid” if you’re so inclined or to just enjoy plenty of quality ciders and bitters in the company of good friends.

Finally, step out in style for the annual masquerade party at The Glass House on the 15th for only $5 a person. Show up at 8 p.m. for a beginner dance lesson or come ready to twirl the night away from 9 to 11 p.m.

Indulge

A reason to eat more chocolate? Yes please. Make sure to take advantage of all the Downtown treats—it’s the best way to honor the holiday, after all. It's almost patriotic. 

Take your confectionary skills to the next level with the help of the award-winning Mrs. Joy who is offering date night decorating classes every Friday in February for only $20. For only $5 you can drop in on the 13th for a shorter decorating session from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Mrs. Joy’s Absolutely Fabulous Treats on Commerce Street.

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<Galentines Day Alert>

If you haven’t stopped in at Ploughcroft Tea Room, then consider this a tasty option for a Galentines event, or a memorable date for a daughter, granddaughter, or niece. Enjoy some scrumptious scones and piping hot tea or take your pick of traditional English fare. The cozy atmosphere will have you guessing whether you're in Lynchburg or the English Countryside. 

Stroll the Bluffwalk for some unparalleled views of the James River; just make sure you grab a holiday-inspired drink at The White Hart Cafe (did someone say Candy Heart Latte?) or a fresh coffee from Dublin 3 Coffeehouse to stay warm!

Of course, the premier option for indulgent treats is Altus Chocolate, the “bean to bar” artisan chocolatiers. Pre-order their famous covered strawberries, or split a European Sipping Chocolate and try a selection of hand-crafted truffles for a tasty dessert date night.

Shop

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Want to give some "love" this holiday? 

Start right on Main Street with a stop at Enchanted where you can enjoy 25% off all jewelry until February 14; you’ll find plenty of one-of-a-kind options to choose from!

Then, cross over Main and pop in at the Lynchburg Community Market, a trove filled with love-related wares sure to please. Woodworking by James DiRocco is offering 10% off heart-shaped boxes while Stitchin with Pizzazz has hand-sewn valentine items such as coffee cup cozies, heat packs and more. Deniece’s Stained Glass Designs are offering 15% off any heart item, Willow Breezes is offering a $35 outfit special (a tunic/leggings combo), and Helga’s Yarn Designs is offering “buy two, get one free” on hats, neck warmers, and scarfs to keep more than just your heart warm this season! On top of that there will be 20% off all rugs. Really embrace the holiday by taking 15-20% off anything red or pink at Spearman Artisanry and Earthen Vessel Homewears. Grab a decadent cup of coffee before you exit from Grains of Sense Coffee Roastery, Tea Gallery & Café, which will give you 10% off a bag of their specialty beans.

Then, head over to the corner of 13th and Commerce to browse the gorgeous wares available at Interiors by Moyanne; enjoy 20% off all bath products, lotions, soaps, candles, diffusers, and floral arrangements from February 7 to 14.

Finally, hope over to the other side of Main Street to Accent Flags and Gifts pick up one of their many loved-themed gifts and home goods! Check out their website to find out how to use the detour to find them. 

Dine

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Downtown Lynchburg has more local restaurants and eateries than ever, providing plenty of great options for a Valentine’s night on the town. Plus, here are some holiday specials to consider.

For the casual lover, call in to Benny Scarpettas and order a heart-shaped pizza, available this week by special request!

Or, enjoy a one-of-a-kind, romantic evening at RA Bistro where they’re offering a three course prix-fixe, surf-and-turf menu on the 13th and 14th; also included for $65 per couple will be champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries (reservations encouraged). RA will also have an artist on site, painting the evening scene, and a boutique florist offering flowers and arrangements for purchase. Or stop by on the 13th for the “Sweetheart Tapout” which will feature Valentine’s themed beers. 

Stay

Take advantage of the natural beauty and historic architecture downtown, all sure to inspire romance!

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<For serious Valentiners>

Imagine a bottle of champagne and a hand-crafted truffle greeting you upon arrival; comfortable “his and her slippers” and rose petal turndown service! You can enjoy all of this at the luxurious Craddock Terry Hotel by reserving a “Sole Desire” hotel package during the month of February. They’re even including a $50 gift certificate for one of their restaurants and a complimentary continental breakfast for the next morning to be leisurely enjoyed in your relaxing accommodations.

Heather Zippel Joins the DLA Staff

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We are so please to welcome a new member of the DLA team. 

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Meet Heather Zippel, our new Development Coordinator. Heather's part-time role will focus primarily on fundraising, but she will also be involved in partner and business outreach efforts. Heather's past experience has provided her with a strong understanding of the challenges facing today’s brick-and-mortar businesses as she previously owned various retail storefronts in different parts of Lynchburg and ran her own interior design business. Heather has also volunteered with many area non-profits, and she is excited to bring her talents to an organization that is dedicated to growing the downtown district. 

When asked why Heather wanted to work with DLA, she noted the potential impact she could make here. “DLA is well poised to have a measurable impact on Downtown’s continued revitalization. With solid executive and board leadership and strong community support, the organization can show significant return on the community’s investment in us. Downtown has so much potential and so many citizens who are active and want to make sure that Lynchburg is well-equipped for the next 10 to 15 years.” 

So why hire someone to focus on fundraising? Downtown Lynchburg Association is a non-profit organization, which means that every single dollar that we spend on projects and programs must be raised through individual and business giving, grants, and program revenue. As we work to make an even larger impact on the continued success of downtown, we need the community behind us. That's where Heather comes in. 

We are so excited for the future for DLA and of the organization. Read more about our 2018 Projects and Programs here. 

Welcome Heather!

Downtown Utility & Streetscape Project Phase II

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Even though 2018 is just a few days old, the City is already preparing for 2019 and Phase II of the Downtown Utility & Streetscape Project. Construction won’t start until Summer or Fall of 2019, but we want to let you know what to expect with this next phase of construction in downtown.

Today, we have invited Jes Gearing from the City of Lynchburg Department of Water Resources for a brief Q&A about the next phase of construction in downtown.

What Is the Downtown Utility & Streetscape Project?

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In 2015, the City of Lynchburg began its extensive fifty block Downtown Utility and Streetscape Project.  Our water system is old—so old, in fact, that some of our active water pipes date back to 1829.  With the downtown area growing, we decided that it was important to update our water infrastructure to meet current and future demands.

While improving the underground infrastructure, we will also update the streetscaping above ground to enhance our vibrant downtown’s curb appeal.  After installing the new water pipes, we are replacing curbs, gutters, sidewalks, adding traffic calming devices, planting new trees and shrubs, installing additional benches and trash cans, and installing new lighting.

Phase I of this project was completed in Fall of 2017 and included Church Street and Main Street between Fifth and Eighth Street.

Where Will Phase II Be Located?

Phase II of this project will be on Commerce Street between Fifth Street and Ninth Street.  It will also include Seventh Street and Eighth Street between Commerce Street and Main Street.

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Why Did the City Pick This Area for Phase II?

We considered several factors when deciding Phase II’s project area:

– First, there are a significant number of water main breaks in this area which have resulted in damage to public and private property, as well as in water service disruption.  The sooner we can replace the pipes with the greatest number of problems, the better.

– Next, moving in a linear fashion from Fifth Street towards Twelfth Street in order to improve water flow and pressure, using Phase II to connect to the completed Phase I pipes makes good sense.  In Fall 2017, we began to meet with businesses in the Phase II area to discuss their needs and concerns regarding the project.  With their understanding and cooperation, we are able to plan this project more than a year-and-a-half out.

– Finally, as with most things, the location and size of our next project area largely depended on budget.  With Phase II, we were limited to a five block area and this one was the most logical to complete next. 

What Will the Area Look Like When It’s Completed?

Here are some photos from Phase I of the project. As you can see, the new streetscape design includes wider sidewalks, more green spaces, beautiful street lamps and some bricked crosswalks. 

 

How Long Will This Project Take?

The project is estimated to last 12-14 months.  We will break ground after completion of both the Main Street Bridge Replacement Project (http://www.lynchburgva.gov/main-street-bridge-replacement) and the Fifth Street Corridor Utility & Streetscape Project (http://www.lynchburgva.gov/fifthstreet), near the end of Summer 2019.

So What Is Happening Right Now?

This project is currently in the design phase.  Since we won’t start construction for another year and a half, we will use this time to continue working with downtown businesses in the Phase II area in order to inform them of the process, answer questions, and gather input on the streetscape design.

Have Questions?

We will update the project website (http://www.lynchburgva.gov/downtownphase2) as soon as more information is available.  If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me at any point at the Department of Water Resources at jes.gearing@lynchburgva.gov.


Thanks to Jes for her updates and answers!

Job Opening: Program Director Position

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Downtown Lynchburg Association (DLA) is a non-profit organization that strives to create a strong, vibrant, and welcome downtown with a unique and historic character. The programs and projects created by DLA help to further this mission, ensuring a bright and exciting future for Downtown Lynchburg. We are passionate about the work we do, and we are looking for someone equally passionate to join our team. 

The Program Director will work to plan and execute many of DLA's programs.  This position requires someone who is highly motivated and who can work independently, but also thrives in collaborative environment. We are looking for someone who loves Downtown Lynchburg, and wants to make an impact on their community.

This is a full-time position, reporting to the Executive Director. 

Principle duties of the position include:

  • Creation, execution, and oversight of downtown improvement projects, including Small Business Saturday, the new Downtown Gift Card Program, Downtown merchandise, and more.
  • Marketing and promotional efforts for DLA programs
  • Downtown business outreach
  • Oversight of DLA interns
  • Coordination with DLA event managers, and assistance with the planning and execution of those events
  • Office management

Experience and Education Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree from a four‐year institution in related field
  • Proven ability to project manage
  • 3 – 5 years related experience in project management, marketing, public relations, fundraising, or community outreach

Required Skills and Abilities

  • Highly organized with effective time management skills
  • Extremely attentive to detail
  • Excellent interpersonal, oral, and written communication skills
  • Ability to think creatively and to problem solve
  • Proficient with MS Office Products (Word, Excel, PowerPoint)
  • Ability to supervise and manage project teams and volunteers
  • Ability to work independently and to manage multiple projects simultaneously
  • Valid driver’s license, personal transportation
  • Strong awareness of Downtown Lynchburg businesses, attractions, events and activities

Preferred Skills and Abilities

  • Proficiency in Adobe Creative Suite
  • Experience in email marketing platforms
  • Experience in website content management

How to apply: Send your resume, cover letter, and references to info@downtownlynchburg.com. No phone calls please. 

Amazement Square: Making Learning Fun for All

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Caitlin Seaman loves to watch children come into Amazement Square for the first time.

“As soon they come in and go up the stairs, every step lights up,” Caitlin explains. “When they walk up the first step … the look of amazement on their face is really priceless.”

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Caitlin works as Amazement Square’s Coordinator of Experiential Learning; as such, she helps to create programs and events for the region’s only children’s museum. She, along with the entire staff, is passionate about and committed to making the process of learning fun.

“One of the misconceptions about Amazement Square is that it's just a good place to bring your kids to play, but really there's an educational value to everything,” Caitlin said.

When Caitlin begins planning a new program, she hones in on a central objective: What should the child learn through the experience? She researches what’s already been done on a particular topic and then finds ways to make it “bigger and better” for the children visiting the museum. She follows what children are interested in and connects with those topics to spark their imaginations.

For example, Dino Days helps children to take their love of dinosaurs and dig into prehistoric times. They make dinosaur teeth and eggs and study what life was like way back then.

And everything Caitlin plans for the children, she first tries out herself.

“One of the key things in programming is to try it out yourself. If we're going to make a dino egg, we do it first. One of my favorite parts of my job is to see things through the eyes of a child.”

Amazement Square creates all of its exhibits, which is unusual for a museum. Usually, such detailed work is outsourced. Thus, developing an exhibition requires collaboration and creativity.

“When we're planning a new exhibition, we take a big team approach. Everyone sits down in a room and thinks through the process: what's the goal, what do we want them to learn?” Caitlin said.

That hard work has paid off, not only through the adoration of its visitors but also through national recognition. In May 2016, Amazement Square was awarded the National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor conferred on museums and libraries.

Amazement Square, located on 9th Street, opened in 2001. After eight years of planning, the J.W. Wood building had been transformed from an abandoned 29,000-square-foot warehouse into a hands-on children’s museum. Several of the current exhibits focus on different historic time periods, one even telling some of Lynchburg’s history in conjunction with the water cycle. The museum’s exhibits also tend to tier the information, so various layers and activities are easily adapted for kids of all ages and developmental stages.

And it’s no accident that this award-winning museum was built downtown.

“Our purpose for starting Amazement Square downtown was that we wanted to be part of the movement to bring life back to downtown,” Caitlin said.

Today, Downtown residents such as Caitlin, who also lives here with her husband, benefit from the many restaurants, shops and galleries which have flourished since Amazement Square first moved in.

“When my husband and I were attending Lynchburg College, we saw the city changing. Downtown became this really vibrant, lively place.”

Caitlin invites people of all ages to come visit Amazement Square. Not only can you experience what she and the Amazement Square team are making, but you can even join in one of their popUP Makeshops — a “mobile tinkering” experience. With the opening of the museum’s new education space, there will be even more room for making!

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Altus: For the Love of Chocolate

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The first time Carl and Mary Matice made chocolate they spent 20 hours hand grinding the cacao beans. In search of a hobby they could enjoy together, the couple had been married for five years at the time, they even purchased a granite mortar and pestle—a large Mexican molcajete. Though they only had a pound of raw cacao beans, after they roasted and manually cracked them open, they still had to grind them—for days!

But while the process was arduous, it yielded a great product, one packed with delicate flavors and no bitterness. Carl and Mary were amazed—and hooked. They had discovered a whole world of chocolate far beyond Carl’s childhood love of Reese’s peanut butter cups.

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Once friends and family started enjoying and requesting Carl and Mary’s creations, they decided to start selling their chocolate at the Lynchburg Community Market.

After just three months, the couple’s one-bedroom apartment was overrun with chocolate-making equipment. Machines covered all the counters and a second refrigerator even sat in the living room. “There was no room to walk in our apartment,” Carl said.

That’s when Carl and Mary realized they needed a commercially-licensed kitchen, and in 2012 they moved into a friend’s coffee shop.

Over time, they continued to perfect their craft. They learned that by using a commercial grade grinder, they could get a smoother chocolate with much less labor. So, now they grind their beans in a machine that runs at 120 rpm for 48 hours.

As their passion and skill for chocolate making grew, Carl and Mary also learned the powerful importance of bean quality. They made a commitment to only use fairly-sourced organic beans. Today, their chocolate only contains cacao, organic raw cane sugar, and in milk chocolate products, organic hormone-free nonfat milk powder from grass-fed dairy. They call this commitment the Altus Difference.

“I always make sure [our cocoa beans are] organic, fair trade, and has unique, delicious flavors,” Carl explained.

As demand for their chocolate grew, Carl and Mary began to look for space in Downtown Lynchburg to expand their business since they had been selling their chocolate at the Community Market and already had customers there. When a space opened at 908 Main Street in November of 2013, they took it. Soon the space became home to Altus Chocolate, complete with a lounge for customers to savor a hot chocolate, baked good, hand-crafted truffles, or other specialty items.

Depending on the season, Altus offers about 20 different flavors of chocolates and truffles. “I just really enjoy learning, trying new things and solving problems,” Carl says.“My wife does the flavors. I like the science of it. I like the chemistry of it and how different things work together.”

Carl and Mary originally came to Lynchburg as sort of a middle ground between Carl’s family in New York and Mary’s in Atlanta. They sought a place with a good economy where Mary could get a master’s degree in counseling. Lynchburg was perfect.

“We decided to come here and put down some roots,” Carl said.

Carl and Mary welcomed their first child this past summer. She’s still young, but Carl is already looking forward to having her taste chocolate for the first time.

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“One of my favorite things will be when she's old enough to realize [that] she has a lifetime supply of free chocolate.”

A Jewel: The Heart of Downtown

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Robert Moses is a Premier Goldsmith and Master Jeweler, but he refers to himself simply as “the man in the window.”

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That’s because if you visit Bowen Jewelry Company at 829 Main Street, you’ll see Robert through the glass, creating custom jewelry pieces destined to become treasured family heirlooms.

“I sit down with the customer and find out exactly what they want…Sometimes they have no idea what they want…others have done research and gone online,” Robert said. They may already have a stone that holds sentimental value, or they may want to choose one of Bowen’s brilliant-cut diamonds.

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During his 29 years in the jewelry business, Robert has learned to transform that initial customer conversation into a preliminary sketch, and then, from there, to hand-carve a wax model to make a mold. He then casts the jewelry, filling the mold with molten gold or platinum, and, finally, sets the stones.

“I look at myself more as an artist than a jeweler,” he said.

The process, involving intense heat, can be dangerous at times, but Robert enjoys the art and science of his craft. He likes seeing the metal turn to liquid like mercury, so reflective you can see your face in it.

Robert began this work when he was asked to apprentice with a jeweler in Salem. Recounting his start, Robert laughs: he was doing a last-minute high school project long after midnight and created a working model of an airplane with toothpicks and rubber bands. That model airplane found a home on Robert’s machine shop teacher’s desk, so when his teacher was asked to recommend an apprentice, he glanced over at Robert’s creation and suggested they take him.

Robert worked for that jeweler as an apprentice and then for a jewelry manufacturer before coming to Lynchburg to attend college. While in Lynchburg, he connected with Bowen and has been there ever since.

“Bowen has good service, good quality, and fair prices ... I learned a lot of that from Mr. Bowen, a very classy man,” Robert said. "In a small town, you have to build trust, or you don’t stay in business." And Bowen has been in business since 1933.

For more than 80 years, Lynchburg-area weddings have often included a Bowen diamond on the bride’s finger. But the jeweler also offers a variety of new, estate, and custom-made pieces.

Bowen moved to its current Downtown location in 1946. View a timeline of its history and learn about its legacy of support for our community. And don’t forget to come by and see “the man in the window,” working to perfect his craft day after day!

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Deck the Hills FAQ

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With the very first Deck the Hills event just around the corner, we want to make sure to get all your questions answered. Here is what you need to know. 

What time is the event?

The event begins at 4pm and ends at 8pm. The voting for the best Christmas Tree will end at 7pm to allow us to talley the results. We will announce the winner at 7:45pm at the Craddock Terry Hotel, followed by a tree lighting ceremony. 

Where is the Bluffwalk?

For those who have yet to explore Lynchburg's newest pedestrian walkway, the Bluffwalk is located between Jefferson and Commerce Streets, and runs from the Craddock Terry Hotel all they way to 10th Street. 

How does the Christmas Tree competition work?

25 Downtown Businesses will be competing for your votes! Their trees will be displayed all along the Bluffwalk, and you can vote for your favorite or favorites by slipping cash or a voting ticket into the voting box beside the tree. $1 = 1 vote, and you can either vote directly with cash or purchase voting tickets from one of our volunteers. All proceeds from this competition will go to support Downtown Lynchburg Association. 

Does the event cost money?

No, it is absolutely free. However, if you plan to purchase food and drink, or vote on your favorite Christmas tree, make sure to bring your wallet. Most vendors take credit card but you should bring cash just in case. 

Will there be food?

Yes! There will be specialty food and beverage vendors on site, selling coffee, hot chocolate, kettle corn, cider donuts, apple cider, and more. Plus, there are so many restaurants on and around the Bluffwalk to grab dinner. 

Will there be music?

Yes! Live music will be played throughout the evening. 

Where should we park?

There are many public parking options available to you. Along with free and unlimited street parking throughout downtown, you can park in one of the many public lots and parking decks listed on our parking map

Can I bring my dog?

Unfortunately, no. Although we love, love, love dogs, the City prohibits dogs at large public events to ensure public safety. 

Start Your Holiday Season this Weekend in Downtown Lynchburg

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With December’s arrival, the Christmas season is officially underway—and Downtown Lynchburg is offering plenty of celebration to mark the occasion!

For the truly ambitious, you can even make a whole day out of it if you want and then come back next weekend for more! Start with a morning visit to Santa at the market (make sure to enjoy some fresh pastries on your way out!), then do some Christmas shopping for those last few items on your list, and next make your way to the Bluffwalk by late afternoon where you’ll find decorated trees and live music. For the evening, enjoy a nice dinner out, and then finish up your day with a holiday performance at the Academy.

With so much to see and experience Downtown, you and your family are guaranteed to be feeling the holiday spirit.

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Visit Santa and Mrs. Claus at the Mistletoe Market

Not many things say Christmas spirit like a visit with Santa, and where better to see him than at the Mistletoe Market this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Visits are complimentary and photos are available for download within the week on the Lynchburg Community Market blog page. While you’re there, pick up some local, homemade goods or treats, and try a horse drawn carriage ride (only $2 per person) before you leave. Find more information about special events this week and continued each December weekend here.

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See the Christmas Trees All Along the Bluffwalk

 You won’t want to miss the Christmas splendor all along the Bluffwalk this Saturday, December 2, when more than 20 trees, decorated by downtown businesses, will be waiting to greet you at the first annual Deck the Hills event. Take in the sights, cast a vote for your favorite tree, and be sure to indulge in some hot chocolate and decadent treats available on site while live chorales and musicians fill the air with familiar carols. Running from 4 to 8 p.m., you’ll have plenty of time to stop by in between shopping or before dinner at any of several nearby restaurants. Stop by the Craddock Terry Hotel around 7 p.m. for the official tree lighting! More information can be found on the Downtown Lynchburg Association’s event page.

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Finish Your Holiday Shopping

If it’s the thought that counts, than aim for the most thoughtful, unique gifts you can by shopping in Downtown Lynchburg where you can find something for everyone. Dozens of local stores provide lots of inspiration, from handmade pottery, candles, and furniture to bikes, skateboards, antiques, and clothing. Plus, you have more than a dozen restaurants, bakeries, and specialty stores (think truffles, infused oils, and personalized cookies) to purchase gift certificates from—now those would make for some surprising stocking stuffers! Be sure to visit our complete list of retail options so you don’t miss anything!

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Catch (TWO) Live Shows

Whether or not you’re already familiar with the fateful story of Jim and Della in “The Gifts of the Magi,” you are sure to appreciate this heartfelt musical based on O. Henry’s famous short story of the same title. In a modern world often plagued by materialism, this story set in the early 1900s is a great reminder of what—and who—matters most during the holidays. Buy your tickets online for shows in the Academy’s Warehouse Theatre from November 30 to December 3.

>>> Bonus: Come back next weekend for a special screening of a Christmas classic—“Die Hard”—at the Academy Center of the Arts. This event promises to be one-of-a-kind with a movie-inspired cocktail and hors-d’oeuvres menu plus an 80s dance party immediately following the show! Tickets are only $35 online.

And you will definitely want to see “A Christmas Carol” put on by Renaissance Theatre starting December 1. Revisit Tiny Tim, the Ghosts, and Scrooge himself in this classic tale about the importance of generosity and togetherness. Find more information at their event page and buy tickets online for show dates from December 1 through the 15. 

Enjoy a Holiday Breakfast

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You won’t want to miss a pancake breakfast with Santa on December 9 at the Children’s Holiday Festival; sign up for one of the two offered sessions so you have a chance to take photos with Santa and make some holiday-themed crafts. Tickets also include all-day admission to Amazement Square!

Made for Family: Lorraine Bakery Brings European Flavor to Community Market

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When Petra Hackman first arrived in Lynchburg, she was disappointed at the lack of good bread; it was nowhere to be found.

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“I never made bread in Germany because there were bakers 

everywhere,” Petra says. “So, when I came here [in 1985], I trained myself to do it!”

Petra’s newfound skills may have been enjoyed only by her husband and five children if not for her daughter Mariel Lorraine Hackman. Mariel has Down Syndrome, and after her high school graduation, she had a difficult time finding work. As the Hackmans weighed their options, they realized there was something missing in Lynchburg—the reason Petra began baking her own bread in the first place—and Mariel could play a part in starting that business.

The Hackmans had been regular visitors to the Lynchburg Community Market for years finding it a good place for Mariel to practice her math skills. Whatever they purchased, she handled the transaction, and the vendors were always patient and kind. So when Petra and her husband Steve started discussing how they would actually start to sell their bread, they went right to Jennifer Kennedy, the director of the market.

In September 2008, they became a vendor and started selling small batches of their bread. At first, they baked a couple loaves at a time with their home oven. However, demand soon exploded, and the Hackmans began adding stoves in various parts of their house, including the basement. The work was physically taxing.

“Dough had to be placed in pots to recreate an industrial oven. We’d make it all night on Fridays—up and down steps—the whole house was involved,” Petra explains.

When the Hackmans knew their business—now Lorraine Bakery—had become a serious venture, they decided to attend U.S. Master Baker Jeffrey Hamelman’s school. They bought an industrial oven and opened their bakery in the Lynchburg Community Market.

“For me personally, it has become a creative outlet. That was something I didn't expect,” Petra says. “When everyone leaves the bakery in the afternoon, I stay and try new things.”

At Lorraine, the bakers begin their day at 4 a.m., starting the bread dough, preparing other goods while the dough is proofing, baking the breads, and then putting on finishing touches like icing and glazes.

Lorraine Bakery now operates a triple deck French oven that can bake 54 bread loaves at one time and a Canadian pastry oven with a 12 sheet capacity. Still, on Fridays, they bake for hours to prepare for Saturday, their biggest day of the week. 

As the bakery has grown in both size and reputation, they could relocate elsewhere in the city, but Petra says the Lynchburg Community Market is and will remain their home.

“It had a lot to do with the social atmosphere of the market … we are very intertwined with the market as a family. It has worked out wonderfully,” she says. “We work so hard; we don't really have a social life. But we always have someone to talk to [at the market].”

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Lorraine Bakery is located inside of the Lynchburg Community Market at 1219 Main Street. They make old-fashioned crusty breads, crepes, croissants, danishes, brioche, and many other sweet and savory baked goods. Don’t wait too long to stop by in the morning or your pastry of choice—along with many other treats—may be sold out!

Main Street Bridge Construction: What You Should Know

Progress is messy. It is often disruptive, but in the end, leaves you with something better than what you had before. 

The same is true for the upcoming Main Street Bridge Replacement project, beginning Monday, November 13. At that time, the section of Main Street that crosses over the Lynchburg Expressway will be demolished and rebuilt, better than before.

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So what does this mean?

This project will affect how you will be able to move in and out of Downtown for a while, but not to worry! There will still be many, many ways to get where you are going. In some cases, your route will not be affected, and in others, you will simply jump off the expressway one or two exits earlier. Detour signs will be in place to help you determine how to get where you are going. Plus, the City has created this detour map to help you plan your trip in advance. 

Why is the City replacing the bridge? 

Originally constructed in conjunction with the Lynchburg Expressway, the Main Street Bridge has exceeded its functional life and requires replacement. In addition to its age and condition, the bridge is too low for larger vehicles to pass safely under it as they travel north and south on the Lynchburg Expressway (US Route 29 Business). 

What will the bridge look like when it is completed?

The new Main Street Bridge will not only be a safer and more functional structure, it will also provide a much more welcoming and attractive gateway to our City.

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Structural Upgrades:

>  The new bridge will be be higher, providing greater clearance for vehicles passing under it as they travel north and south on the Lynchburg Expressway.  

>  The bridge will be lengthened at both ends to provide greater clearance to traffic on the Expressway and to improve the acceleration and deceleration lanes used to enter or exit the north bound lane of Route 29 Business.

New Design Features:

> Existing walls and parapets will be replaced and covered with new facades to create the appearance of rock walls.  

> New signs will be installed, welcoming travelers to "Downtown Lynchburg" on one side, and "Lynchburg" on the other. 

> Ornamental lights and railings will be installed. 

How long will this project take?

This will be a 13-month project, but the new bridge is projected to be in place and usable by mid-November of 2018. After that time, it will take a month or two to finish up last minute details – sidewalks, landscaping, etc.  

What can I do to help local businesses during this time?

It's very simple: keep coming Downtown! It will be just as easy to get to where you are going during this project, but it can be tempting for some to hear the word "construction" and decide that it is not worth the effort. Instead, make the extra effort to support local businesses by eating, shopping, and having fun in Downtown Lynchburg, and make sure to tell your friends to do the same. 

For additional information on the project, visit www.lynchburgva.gov/main-street-bridge-replacement

Oxide Pottery: An Ancient Art with a Modern Touch

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Justin Rice had no interest in pottery until he took a class during his final semester of art school. He connected with the medium and didn’t look back.

“I caught the bug,” he says.

When he eventually found himself freezing in his garage one winter, boiling water just to continue working, he knew he needed to pursue his passion professionally.

Justin Rice and his wife Chatham Monk own Oxide Pottery in Downtown Lynchburg where they offer one-of-a-kind bowls, plates, vases, and other wares. Chatham, a Lynchburg native, and Justin both attended the Cleveland Institute of Art where they met in 2002.

Today, they sell in their own storefront at 1337 Main Street. They also sell through several wholesale channels to museum shops and at large national shows.

Though he never expected to be a potter, Justin enjoys the diversity that clay offers.

“Every time you sit at the wheel, it's a new adventure,” he says. “It’s an ever-evolving process.”

A normal day might involve wedging clay, creating the right size and weight for different projects, sitting at the wheel, adding handles, loading, glazing, and firing.

“It's really a labor of love,” he explains. “To break even and have some handmade pieces at the end of the day feels like success.”

Justin loves the history of pottery and the idea that human touch has been a part of creating things out of clay since ancient civilizations first discovered the craft.

“There are department stores and big box stores that offer this stuff, and it’s [all] very designed, but it's the same piece you could buy anyplace,” Justin says. “We're interested in offering something that's had a human touch, evolved, and became a unique piece.”

Whatever is part of Justin’s life influences his art, whether it’s the music playing in the studio or the latest graphic novel he’s reading. He loves the idea that music may be a part of the piece—like the grooves in a vinyl album.

“Chatham and I try to address every inch of that pot. We want you to see the profile, the surface decoration, the glaze ... and then when you flip it over, that it's been addressed on the bottom too. There's nothing that hasn't been taken into consideration.”

Justin and Chatham choose to keep their business in Downtown Lynchburg because they like the community.

“It’s an incubator for people to do something new. Downtown provides that spot to do it together.”

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8 Ways to Get Your Spook On Downtown

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With the arrival of cooler weather, Downtown is offering plenty of creepy, boo-worthy amusements to help you usher in the Halloween season. Scare up some good times with these upcoming events sure to spook and delight you Downtown!

1. Catch Frightening Flicks at Riverviews Artspace

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Jump-start the fearful season and your inner film critic with a viewing of “Dawn of the Dead” on October 18; doors open at 7 p.m. for this unique event where Ken Faraoni leads discussions about the cultural and historical influences in classic movies. Be sure to return on October 28 for a screening of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” complete with live cast. Come dressed as your favorite character and keep this Riverviews’ tradition alive while enjoying refreshments, prop bags and prizes.

More information on the Riverviews Artspace website.

2. Break a Scary Sweat

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Don your best cycle-friendly costume and join the 2nd Annual Halloween Ride and after party at Bikes Unlimited. The official costume ride starts at 5:30 on October 20 and goes for a few leisurely miles along the Black Water Creek Trail before going back to Bikes Unlimited for music, beer, and food. Kids and adults welcome! Bring your most creative costume for a chance to win a prize!

More information on the 2nd Annual Halloween Ride event page.

3. Go Zombie for a Good Cause

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If you can’t get enough of “The Walking Dead,” then this is the event for you when the undead will takeover Main Street once again for the 7th Annual Zombie Walk on October 21. Try your hand at creating the best and most authentic gory disguise for a chance to win one of the top prizes, awarded to both kids and adults! Bring a canned food item to benefit the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank or a cash donation for the Lynchburg Dog Park.

More information on the 7th Annual Zombie Walk Facebook page.

4) Dash with the Monsters

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Grab your kids and your best costumes for the Monster Mash Dash on the Percival’s Island trail this Saturday, October 21. With both a one mile fun run and a traditional 5k, everyone has a reason to come out. Be one of the first 50 registrants to nab a free pumpkin from the Downtown YMCA!

More information on the Monster Mash Dash website.

5) Scare Up Some Ghosts

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Few things evoke the eeriness of Halloween like a tried-and-true Ghost Walk. Join an evening tour on October 26, 27, or 28 and walk the storied streets of the Diamond Hill Historic District. With a knowledgeable guide from the Lynchburg Historical Foundation, you’ll be able to envision the lives and stories of those who called these streets home in days gone by. Start your adventure at the Lewis & Clark duplex (416-418 Washington Street) at 6 p.m. sharp—tickets are first come, first served!

More information on The Ghosts of Historic Lynchburg event page.

6) Dance Your Fears Away

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Dance the night away at the 17th Annual Ugly Bug Ball, one of the most enjoyable ways to celebrate Halloween and support a great cause at Amazement Square’s largest fundraiser. This year’s theme is all about childhood dreams—dubbed “When I Grow Up”—so choose the best costume that represents the imaginary adventures of your younger self. Held on October 27, this one-of-a-kind event includes dinner and dancing with a live band plus a live and silent auction.

More information about the Ugly Bug Ball on the website.

7) Party at the waterfront

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How strong is your costume game? Because this year’s party at The Water Dog offers prizes for Best Couple or Group costume, Most Creative, and Scariest costume plus “rad swag” for participating. Whether or not you win, the night still promises “to probably break the internet,” so be sure you don’t miss the 2nd Annual Apocalyptic Halloween Bash on October 28.

More party details can be found on the event page.

8) Kick It Back for an 80s Concert

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Kickoff the Warehouse Concert Series with a “Back to the 80s” themed costume party on October 31. Enjoy a night of listening to Love Canon—an 80s bluegrass cover band—complete with themed drinks and costume prizes. Tickets are $15 in advance; doors open at 7 p.m., and the music starts at 8.

More information on the Academy’s event page.

Shredded: Upcycling with Skateboards

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Jeff Gray remembers skateboarding in a downtown parking garage in the 1990s. In his teenage opinion, the relatively deserted area seemed as good a place as any to skate and hang out with friends. When someone broke a skateboard, they could just throw it in a heap on one of the fire escapes. Eventually, dozens of boards piled up there.

Years later, after moving away from Lynchburg and then returning, Jeff noticed that the old pile of boards was long gone.

With that memory in mind, Jeff offered customers a credit on a new board in his skateboarding and bike shop—Scene 3—on Main Street, if they brought in a broken one. At first, these old boards ended up in a new throwaway pile, but the waste bothered Jeff. Until, one day, he had an idea. What if he could upcycle the seemingly useless boards into something new? He pulled off the sticky grip tape, and began working with the veneers. He started small for his first upcycled creation making a simple keychain.

“A friend who’s a graphic designer stopped by and said, ‘That’s cool…but you should make it do something,’” Jeff recalls.

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So, he crafted a keychain that was also a bottle opener.

“I realized you could make things out of broken skateboards, and it sort of exploded from there,” he said. “It's cool to think of the potential that lies in each broken skateboard to become something awesome again. New ideas are often formed when I am in the process of making something else.”

Today, Jeff uses the thin layers of maple in skateboards to create key chains, coasters, jewelry, desk accessories, and more through 

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his Scene 3 Designs business.

“I really enjoy the process of creating something, not just cutting it out with a bandsaw,” Jeff explains. “…I also like figuring out why something doesn’t work. I enjoy the journey.”

Jeff began skateboarding as a teenager, which is also when he discovered the joy of making things. He remembers expanding the half-pipe his Dad had made at their house for skateboarding.  

Jeff brought Scene 3 to 1107 Main Street after his former store in Forest was destroyed in a fire in 2009. “I saw a lease sign on Main Street, and I knew that’s where I wanted to be,” he said. “I really liked the vibe of Downtown. Things were happening; people were opening shops and restaurants.”

And Jeff has enjoyed watching Downtown Lynchburg transform in the years since he joined in.

“I’m very happy Downtown; it’s a tight-knit community of business owners and loft owners. It’s an active and vibrant scene,” he said.

He enjoys having visitors wander into his shop and discovering something more than they expected.

“A lot of people walk in and are excited to see that we’re the place that makes stuff out of old skateboards,” he said.

Jeff also likes the fact that he’s recycling and reducing waste because estimates show that approximately 2 million skateboards are thrown in the trash each year in the United States.

“Skateboards mean different things to different people,” Jeff explains. “Sometimes you go on an epic trip out of town, and you break a board, so you hang it up to remember that trip….All the decks I gather, they have all these memories stored inside. It’s kind of cool to turn them into something else. Their memories live on.”

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Downtown Lynchburg: Where the Makers Are

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Downtown Lynchburg
Downtown Lynchburg

Lynchburg has plenty of shopping options, but for those in the market for something unique and skillfully crafted, Downtown Lynchburg is the place to go. Only along Main Street will you find a local jeweler who has forged wedding bands and family heirlooms for more than 80 years. Only at the Lynchburg Community Market will you find a family working in the early morning hours to turn out fresh bread and pastries for their loyal customers.

These artisans, and so many more, are waiting to help you find the one-of-a-kind wares and services our Downtown businesses provide.

For these reasons, we are thrilled to unveil our brand new series—Downtown Lynchburg: Where the Makers Are. Each short film will introduce you to a different Downtown-based artisan or business, with an up-close-and-personal look at the innovation, creativity, and effort that goes into their work.

In bringing these stories to the spotlight, we hope to provide a sense of the community and spirit that is found in Downtown Lynchburg. Our makers are wildly talented and equally passionate about our Downtown district, both in growing it and making it ever more accessible to our city. A purchase from one of our Downtown businesses is an investment in this community and a vote of confidence for our neighbors.

If you haven’t ventured Downtown in a while, then you’re bound to be pleasantly surprised. Several brand new restaurants, shops, services, and galleries have opened in the last year alone—just further evidence of all there is to discover.

So, we hope you enjoy this series as much as we have enjoyed putting it together! And we hope these stories inspire you to visit Downtown Lynchburg—it’s where the makers are.