Old Town Winchester marks calendars for new, returning events

Jennifer Bell, left, Winchester's downtown manager, and Dario Savarese, Full Circle Marketing founder and president, introduce community partners to Old Town Winchester's new St. Paddy's Celtic Fest, scheduled for March 12. Rachel Mahoney/Daily

WINCHESTER – Through 2016, Old Town Winchester will bring back some familiar festivities while adding a few new events and elements into the mix.

Old Town Development Board and its programming partner Full Circle Marketing announced some new plans and developments this year at a Wednesday news conference. A new event, the St. Paddy’s Celtic Fest on March 12, will be kicking off their fourth year working together to host events.

Downtown Manager Jennifer Bell said the Celtic Fest occurs the weekend before St. Patrick’s Day so as not to interfere with other events or family traditions.

It’ll also break some new ground for Old Town Winchester events by being hosted mostly inside: Irish- and Celtic-inspired bands will be playing throughout the afternoon and evening in four sponsoring restaurants and businesses.

“This is our new foray into really working with private businesses, to have a collaboration,” Bell said. “The possibilities are endless, how we might expand beyond this.”

Activities like Celtic games and a St. Paddy’s march will bring the celebrations to the streets of the walking mall, dependent on the weather. Admission to the event will be free, and 10 percent of food and beverage sales will benefit Habitat for Humanity – a nonprofit that Bell said Old Town Winchester hasn’t yet worked with.

Other holiday and seasonal festivities in 2016 will include the return of Rockin’ Independence Eve on July 3, OctoBeer Fest from Oct. 14-16, Spooktacular on Oct 29, the Old Town Holiday Parade on Nov. 28 and the Holly Jolly Celebration on Dec. 10.

Dario Savarese, founder and president of Full Circle Marketing, announced that OctoBeer Fest will run into Sunday starting in 2016, a day longer than in past years.

“Since it’s been so well-received through the years, we’re going to add a Sunday to it,” he said. “We’re going to just close it down a little bit, make it tighter knit on just Sunday on the Old Courthouse lawn area.”

Magic Lantern Theater and Old Town Winchester will be hosting a second summer of Classic Movie Night events. Mark Lore, the theater board coordinator, announced the film lineup for this summer’s free screenings at the Taylor Pavilion. June’s film will be “Born Yesterday,” in honor of the election year, July’s movie will be up to viewer vote on social media and August’s film will be the James Bond title, “From Russia with Love.”

Friday Night Live will again fill the Loudoun Street Pedestrian Mall with music during the summer. Bell said some of the performances this year will be connected to well-known Winchester artists: the opener for Robbie Limon in July will play some Patsy Cline songs and a yet-undetermined blues musician will be playing a tribute to jazz musician John Kirby in August.

“We wanted to have more of a connection with local music, local entertainment … so that’s something we’re trying to expand and do a little differently,” she said. “We are talking about trying to do that for our Sunday concerts a bit more as well, making that tie in if we can find the right performers.”

Bell said Old Town Winchester is constantly seeking out partnerships with more nonprofits and businesses to continue adding entertainment programming to the downtown area.

“We’ve been able to add new things each year based on feedback from the community,” she said. “This wouldn’t be possible without so many community partners.”

See Old Town Winchester’s full calendar on its website at http://oldtownwinchesterva.com/.

Contact staff writer Rachel Mahoney at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rmahoney@nvdaily.com