Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance presents Best.Weekend.Ever.

harrisonburg downtown renaissanceHarrisonburg Downtown Renaissance, Matchbox Realty, James Madison University’s Office of the President, and iHeartMedia are putting the finishing touches on the Best.Weekend.Ever, a new, three-day community event on Labor Day weekend in Downtown Harrisonburg.

“We are long overdue for coming together for a joyful celebration of community,” says Andrea Dono, HDR’s executive director. “We designed Best.Weekend.Ever. to offer a flurry of activities all weekend long to appeal to all ages but also to invite people who haven’t been downtown in awhile to get reacquainted with the wonderful businesses and attractions here.”

The main event on Saturday, Sept. 4 from noon to 8;30 p.m. will include a variety of family friendly activities and entertainment for all ages spread throughout the 40-block downtown district, allowing for numerous, simultaneous, smaller pockets of activities and entertainment across the large expanse of downtown Harrisonburg. The eight-hour extended timeframe on Saturday is designed to encourage the spacing out of attendees throughout the day.

Programming will include a Kids Zone with OASIS Fine Art & Craft and Explore More Museum, community painting at the Language of Love sculpture, downtown business sidewalk sale, International Festival Global Village, Horizons Edge outdoor activities, several self-guided walking tours, and a variety of live music.

Saturday evening will conclude with fireworks at 8:30 p.m., made possible by generous support from the Harrisonburg Electric Commission, InterChange Group, City of Harrisonburg, and Glo Fiber.

Participants will also be able to enjoy Harrisonburg’s first “Sip & Stroll” on Saturday between noon and 8:30 p.m. During BWE, adults aged 21+ will be able to purchase a beer, wine, or cocktail at a participating brewery, cidery, or restaurant and enjoy it while strolling within three separate sections of downtown.

HDR is excited to use the new Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area license to create more space for people to spread out, enjoy the entertainment available downtown, and support local businesses that suffered a difficult financial year in 2020. HDR is collaborating closely with the Harrisonburg Police Department and ABC to develop safe Sip & Stroll zones and a security plan to introduce this new activity to the community safely.

While Virginia no longer has a mask mandate, HDR is requiring that masks are properly worn (over the nose and mouth) by participants of all ages and vaccination status in the Kids Zone and in the Explore More Museum. All participants are asked to be respectful of small businesses and follow their posted protocol before they choose to enter. All participants, regardless of vaccination status, are strongly encouraged to bring a mask and wear it when gathering in small groups around activities and entertainment. HDR will provide hand sanitizer and masks during the event and will be creating a buffer around performers, requiring participants to respect buffer areas.

Participants are encouraged to extend their Best.Weekend.Ever. by visiting downtown for First Friday, Sept. 3 from 5-8 p.m. and by having brunch on Sunday at one of downtown culinary destinations or attending the Women’s Art Show at Brother’s Craft Brewing on Sept. 5. Self-guided walking tours will also be available all weekend.

The community can get a head start on planning their Best.Weekend.Ever. by joining the BWE Facebook group at www.facebook.com/groups/bestweekendeverharrisonburg. This group includes a collection of Facebook events, guides, and announcements to stay up to date on the flurry of activities happening all weekend. Schedules for the event will also be made available online at bestweekendever.org along with maps, posters, and directional signage stationed throughout downtown on Saturday. A limited supply of printed information will be available at HDR’s info booth near Pendleton Bank on Court Square, and at the Visitor’s Center (212 S Main St.) on Saturday as well.

BWE is a free community festival made possible through generous sponsorship by Presenting Sponsors: Matchbox Realty, James Madison University’s Office of the President, and iHeartMedia; Fireworks Sponsors: Harrisonburg Electric Commission, InterChange Group, City of Harrisonburg, and Glo Fiber; Associate Sponsors: Lantz & Gochenour Investment Group/Janney Financial and Cross Keys Studio; Supporting Sponsors: LD&B Insurance and Financial Services and The Myrias Group/Ameriprise Financial; and Activity Sponsors: Friendly City Food Co-Op, Horizons Edge, Massanutten Resort, and Sandy Martin Realtor.

For more information or to volunteer, visit www.bestweekendever.org. For updates and announcements about this event in real-time, please join the BWE Facebook group at www.facebook.com/groups/bestweekendeverharrisonburg.

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