Downtown Gordonsville business owners have put together a safe Independence Day celebration taking place this Friday, July 3.

The idea for the event had been in the works long before the coronavirus pandemic shut down not only business activity, but also most July 4 celebrations.

“Sunnie Capelle and I have been trying to put together a downtown event for a while now, but the pandemic cut into our plans,” said Main Street’s Cavallo Gallery owner Beate Casati. “We felt that it was really important to put a positive event downtown that would welcome and include both visitors and the local Gordonsville residents.”

Capelle, who operates The Nathaniel Inn on Main Street, said they had hoped to create a summer concert series in town, but those plans were shelved when the COVID-19 pandemic prompted safety measures limiting large gatherings.

Now, with Gov. Ralph Northam’s phase two reopening of Virginia easing some restrictions, organizers hope to remind local residents and visitors what downtown Gordonsville has to offer.

The loosely structured event will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Popular local band The Unsuitables will perform Motown, R&B and on the steps of town hall, while Stephen Stokes will offer blacksmithing demonstrations nearby in the Blue Ridge Bank parking lot. There will be a hot dog stand next to the town visitors’ center and the Exchange Hotel lawn will be available for socially distant picnics.

Capelle suggested the band will perform The National Anthem around 8 p.m., with families and participants who brought sparklers encouraged to light them then.

“Virginia is still in ‘phase two,’ so we aren’t encouraging a grouped event, rather come for an outside walk up and down Main Street, enjoy some open shops, grab a bite to eat and light sparklers at dusk,” Capelle said.

Organizers encourage everyone who comes downtown to spread out, stay safe and wear masks in the proximity of others.

Casati said she and Capelle were approached by Well Hung Vineyard Tasting Room and Restaurant Managing Partner Anthony Herring about putting together a July 3 event.

“We were super excited to participate,” she said. “It’s coming together really easily which is really exciting considering that usually things are a little more difficult.”

Capelle shared the idea with the Gordonsville Town Council during a virtual meeting last week as part of a discussion regarding development of a COVID-19 business support plan.

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