John Redding

John Redding

The big news this week has to do with the State Games of America being held in central Virginia, primarily in Lynchburg on the campus of Liberty University. 15,000 athletes are scheduled to compete, most from other states and some from other countries. If the ratio of athletes to overall attendees is similar to the 2017 games held in Michigan, it will mean an influx of more than 45,000 visitors to our area. Conservative estimates are that it will add $8 million to our area’s economy.

Such visitation is a great help to our community. Available lodging rooms will be filled and restaurants, gas stations and assorted retail venues will see increased sales. Each one of us will be positively affected by the lodging, meals and sales taxes collected by our local government.

Long-term there may be additional benefits. Many that will come here for the first time will be introduced to our area and will perhaps want to return in the future to visit attractions that they do not have the time to see on this trip. Remember to keep your southern hospitality hats on — you never know when you might be creating an impression on a tourist of the future.

Liberty University, as it adds world class venues and events such as these, will continue to feed our economy. Employees, professors and the auxiliary jobs that its commerce produces will add jobs and residents. With the excellent schools and quality of life available in Appomattox, some newcomers will likely seek us out as a place to raise their family.

In other news, the chamber is planning to hold a 5K Hot Chocolate Run at Falling River Country Club on Saturday Nov. 16. Our target is to have 100-150 participants. Each entry will receive a long-sleeved T-shirt and those that finish will receive a ceramic hot chocolate mug. Hot chocolate and snacks will be provided. We are seeking sponsors for the event. Advertising opportunities include signage and/or inclusion on the T-shirts and mugs. Riverside Runners will be utilized to help market and organize the competitive portion of the event. An organizational award is planned for competition between entities having more than four entrants. More detailed information will be publicized as the plans for the event become finalized. Contact Whitney at the Chamber office to get involved. 

I hope to see everyone at Courtland Festival Park on Saturday. Our music event is themed as “Bike Night” but is organized to be a great time for everyone. On the biker’s side of things, Harley-Davidson of Lynchburg will be there with their van and providing some extra prizes to our normal 50-50 raffle and Iron Witness, a Christian motorcycle organization, will set up a tent and participate. The Fishin’ Pig will serve some delicious food (usually catfish, BBQ and some accompaniments) and adult beverages will be available. Corn hole boards will be set up for the kids (of all ages) and Out of Spite will entertain with music for listening and dancing. Bring a chair or enjoy sitting in the amphitheater bleachers.

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