Winchester Days initiative returns to Old Town

Winchester Days, an initiative to help local business in the Winchester area, has returned to the city after a lengthy absence. The event started Thursday and runs through Saturday in Old Town Winchester.

For the event, Old Town businesses are bringing their wares outdoors, selling their goods yard-sale style to those perusing the walking mall and surrounding areas.

John David Smith, president of the Old Town Main Street Foundation, explained his organization’s desire to see Winchester Days restored to prominence in the community. The event’s heyday was in the 1970s, according to a news release published by the Old Town Main Street Foundation.

“It used to be an annual thing and it sort of died down maybe about six, seven or eight years ago. It was a big event in Winchester for the longest time and when it died down the only two people that were still doing it were Bell’s (clothing) and Kimberly’s (boutique). Then Winchester Main Street Foundation, we decided to revive it. All the retail stores do sidewalk sales. They put their stuff out and people come down and get some great bargains.”

Smith went on to explain that resident interest in the event’s reinstitution existed, but leadership was harder to find.

“For some reason, there was a lot of conversation the last couple of months with people asking, ‘How come we don’t do Winchester Days anymore?’ There were conversations from different people. There was interest. People wanted it to come back, but nobody wanted to take the lead on it.”

Smith said that the Old Town Main Street Foundation seemed like a perfect fit.

“We talked to Old Town Business Association and they had no interest in doing it,” he said. “We asked if they minded us taking it over and they had no problem so we adopted it and just started it this year. We hope to make it back to what it used to be — an annual event… Since our foundation does different events and promotions like Restaurant Week and First Fridays, that was just an obvious fit for us that we could do this and market it. It fell into our laps a little late this year so we did as much marketing in a short amount of time.”

Smith said that 28 Old Town business are on board and that if participation follow that trend, the Old Town Main Street Foundation plans to do the event annually again. He described what he hoped to see as a result of Winchester Days.

“It can get people down here shopping and eating,” he said – “for folks who haven’t been down here in a long time, seeing the revitalized mall and the energy down here and the new shops maybe people haven’t seen and going to the old shops and restaurants.”

Contact staff writer Nathan Budryk at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or nbudryk@nvdaily.com