Old Town Events Revive "Sleepy" Winchester


WINCHESTER, Va. - Old Town Winchester didn't always look like this.

"It used to be dead. Shops were boarded up. Buildings were boarded up," said Rachelle Carter Crim, who grew up in the area, and used to work in a shop downtown.

On the verge of losing their historic downtown, the community stepped in and transformed it into a walking mall.

"[Now] this is a gathering place,” said Brenda Johnston, who performs often with her band Push to Start at different venues throughout the walking mall. “Lots of folks come down here to the Old Town area now to just see old friends. It reminds me of the [walking mall] in Boulder, Colorado, and the one in Charlottesville. It's just wonderful."

Old Town's renovation has been so remarkable, it's attracting more than just Winchester locals.

"We are down here probably three to four times a week now,” said Carter-Crim, who had her father, and two young children in tow. “And we live out in the county, so it's a little bit of a drive to come down,” she said with a laugh. “But it's so nice to have this as ours."

"We’re not only getting people from Frederick-Warren-Clarke county [area], but we're really pulling people from the Eastern Panhandle, Western Loudoun, as well as south of us," said Dario Savarese, the Special Event Prompter for the City of Winchester.

Many, like Savarese, believe one of the keys to Winchester’s quick downtown success is the numerous amount of new events, like their Friday Night Live summer concert series, that the city has hosted for the last two years.

"You know what's unique about Friday Night Live, and other events we're hosting in Winchester is a lot of communities west of Washington D.C. are considered sleepy towns,” said Savarese. “But really we're just trying to let everybody know that we're a live and vibrant place."

And if you haven't taken in the transformation in Winchester, tomorrow night's Friday Night Live event is the perfect place to start.

"If people haven't experienced Old Town Winchester, then I encourage them to come down. There's so much more going on,” said Savarese. “We're a little bit of New Orleans’ Mardi Gras, some French Quarter, without complete craziness,” he said, with a grin.

Follow the link for upcoming events in Old Town Winchester.


Friday Night Live for July 18th

Old Town Winchester Walking Mall

(North end to South end of Loudoun Street)

5:00 pm – 11:00 pm

Live music by: The Robbie Limon Band, Push to Start

Illusionist: Mario Orsini

Beer and Wine Available

Tickets: $5 advance; $10 day of

(Tickets available at: Winchester Community Federal Credit Union, Old Town General Store, Jim Stutzman Chevrolet-Cadillac Co., Espresso Bar & Café and online.)

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