Second annual Bridge Day Staunton set for April 26


staunton3A collaboration of local businesses announced today that they will sponsor the second annaul Bridge Day Staunton on Saturday, April 26, 2014 from 11am-4pm. Aimed at celebrating Staunton’s unique culture of local music, arts, history, food, artisans, shopping and community action, a wide variety of family-friendly activities will be located near the Historic Sears Hill Bridge at the Staunton Train Station and fan out into Downtown’s many independent businesses and community hubs. A community garden tour is also on tap.
 
The Sears Hill Bridge, one of Downtown Staunton’s most recognizable historic landmarks and the story of its recent rescue from demolition by a group of concerned citizens were chosen by the organizing committee as apt symbols of the essence of Staunton’s local culture. In November 2010, cranes were at the train station removing the structure that had served as a valuable pedestrian link between the Sears Hill neighborhood and downtown Staunton for more than a century. It had been condemned the preceding January, and after months of conversation about restoration and who would foot the $200,000 bill, the bridge was removed and placed in storage until funds could be raised. Concerned citizens formed a committee, Friends of the Sears Hill Bridge, to begin the fundraising efforts.
 
In mid-2011 the Staunton Downtown Development Association collaborated with the Friends of the Sears Hill Bridge Committee, the Sears Hill community and the Community Foundation of the Central Blue Ridge to sponsor a series of events to raise awareness and encourage donations including a short movie titled “It Takes More than Love to Build a Bridge.” Other publicity activities included a film contest, a storefront art gallery and two opening night events. Community leaders and citizens rallied to raise the funds and advance the project.
 
Fast forward to 2013 and the Sears Hill Bridge returned beautifully restored and ready for pedestrian traffic. The inaugural Bridge Day was held April 13, 2013 and was a celebration of this exceptional community achievement. “All of the businesses here at the station are excited that the bridge is back in place and functional,” said Kay Shirey of Rachel’s Quilt Patch located at the Staunton Station. “The Sears Hill Bridge restoration demonstrates not only our preservation culture here in Staunton, but how the community can come together to save a unique piece of our history. It restores our pedestrian link to the Sears Hill community and restores a destination for tourists to see a beautiful perspective of our city and the station.”
 
Bridge Day Staunton will highlight Staunton’s independent and community-minded local culture with live music, talks, displays, children’s activities and showcases. Visit www.bridgedaystaunton.org for the full schedule and details about sponsoring or adding your business or group to the event or call Karen Lawrence, 540-466-0059 or Kay Shirey, 540-886-7728.


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