By Josette Keelor
WINCHESTER -- The Old Town Development Board has announced plans for adding new events to a score of successful ones from last year.
At a press conference Thursday morning, Downtown Manager Jennifer Bell called Old Town "the heart and soul of the community."
"Holding events downtown for the city is becoming a catalyst," she said. "We're hearing other groups want to hold events downtown too."
One of the new events will be Kidz Fest that Dario Savarese, event producer of Full Circle Marketing in Winchester, said will be presented by Winchester Academy.
The free event, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on May 17, will include more than 25 exhibits centered on education, art, music and sports activities for all ages and is intended to take place in the Taylor Pavilion, still under renovation, along the Loudoun Street Pedestrian Mall.
The Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum also intends to provide special rates for the event.
Also planned are Sunday events "to kind of fill that void to utilize the Taylor Pavilion once it's finished," he said.
He explained the pavilion, an outdoor portion of the Taylor Hotel at 119-121 N. Loudoun St., Winchester, is "the next lynchpin" in the creation of old town's "incredible vibe."
Events returning this year are Rockin' Independence Eve on July 3, Movies on the Mall on summer Thursdays, Friday Night Live on summer Fridays, Downtown Tailgate Sept. 5 and 6, Octobeer Fest Oct. 17 and 18 and the Holly Jolly Old Town Celebration on Dec. 13.
"Last year we utilized the tools that we had," Savarese said. This year he intends to add additional artisans to the Winchester Art Market, kid-friendly activities and live art to the many events scheduled from May into December.
"Simply put, there are a lot of additional tweaks that we're going to be making," he said.
They're changes that couldn't have happened without area businesses, which he said have been helpful in allowing Old Town Winchester use of their parking lots to serve as venues, "Creating this centerpiece for us to be able to gather and have some fun."
"All of that collectively helps us come together," he said.
Bell said trying out events to see what worked last year has made downtown a place for everyone.
"There's so much to showcase. People are so proud to come downtown," she said. "Having events that the community can come out and enjoy is so important."
The Old Town Development Board is accepting more sponsors for events. Contact them at 540-535-3661 or www.oldtownwinchesterva.com.
Contact Community Engagement Editor Josette Keelor at 540-465-5137, ext. 176, or firstname.lastname@example.org