LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — It may be a couple of days early, but Lynchburg residents will get a chance to see fireworks Friday at 9:15 p.m., downtown along the James River, organized by the Downtown Lynchburg Association.

It also lines up with monthly First Friday events. Participating businesses and organizations hope the fireworks show will help draw people downtown, visiting places that have struggled to stay open through the pandemic.

For Vector Space, First Friday is a chance to engage with the community again.

“We took a break during COVID,” said Director Elise Spontarelli, “and now we are back to doing free family friendly events and open hours tours.”

Before the fireworks, kids can stop by their shop and make marshmallow shooters.

“Come to Vector Space, see our mural, make a marshmallow shooter, head downtown, get some dinner, see the fireworks.”

It’s a night Ashley Kershner, Executive Director of the Downtown Lynchburg Association, hopes will be both fun for families and a boost for small businesses.

“We really wanted to use this as a reason for people to come downtown, gather downtown once again, I know a lot of people that are going to First Fridays events first and then bringing their kids on down to the park, so it’s a whole evening in downtown.”

T.C. Trotters downtown is open late on Friday, July 2, extending their normal closing time from 5 to 9 p.m. They’re offering a sale on their products and tastings of their Ruben sandwiches, Bloody Mary mix, and gazpacho.

“It is made with a variety of fresh vegetables,” said Lonnie Hoade with T.C. Trotters about the gazpacho, “and the base of it is our Bloody Mary mix.”

Hoade says events like this are a big help for downtown businesses hurt by both the construction of the Main Street Renewal Project as well as the pandemic.

“So to get this kind of advertising out here and get people down and milling around and just seeing what’s down here opens the door for further growth,” said Hoade.

“For us this is the first time we’re going to see people gathered in this park after the pandemic,” said Kershner, “so really it’s just an opportunity for people to enjoy everything we have down here.”

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