Reporter: Mark Kelly l Videographer: Parker Slaybaugh
Lynchburg, VA - It's the twentieth year and it's bigger and better than ever. Friday Cheers in downtown Lynchburg is one way the Hill City kicks off summertime. Friday, we were there for the first party of the season.
Friday Cheers draws thousands of people to downtown Lynchburg and in to its restaurants. That's a chance for businesses to win over new customers.
What better way to party than with a little dancing - make that a lot of dancing. And some loud music. It's the music that makes Jeana Caissie a Cheers regular.
"Three years," said Caissie.
"Why, why do you love it so much?" we asked.
"Because of the band," said Caissie.
It's so fun, she dragged her sister along too.
"I've never been here before. This is my first time," said Samantha Proper.
Friday Cheers 2012 is one for the record books. An estimated 4,000 flooded Riverfront Park. A chunk of the money raised from the festival will help revive downtown Lynchburg.
"It gets a lot of people downtown. It gets them circulating through. Maybe they'll see a restaurant that's open since they've been down here last time and come back," said Anna Bentson, executive director, Lynch's Landing.
That's certainly true for Waterstone Pizza.
"9:30 there probably will be a line out the door," said Roy Badgley, GM, Waterstone Pizza.
Waterstone General Manager Roy Badgley says downtown Lynchburg's got a good momentum going. The crowd from Friday Cheers keeps that going strong.
"Cheers brings a lot of energy and synergy to downtown Lynchburg, and we are all about that for the long run," said Badgley.
Friday Cheers runs ten weeks on Friday nights. The last one is July 20th. Money raised also benefits non-profits like the YMCA, and the Free Clinic.