Reporter: James Gherardi l Videographer: Ira Quillen
Lynchburg, VA - There were high hopes for Friday Cheers in Lynchburg, but turnout was far lower than expected. Organizers say, the heat was to blame.
Everyone we spoke with said the scene Friday night was very different than that of Friday night's prior. And as the sun went down it seems the heat stayed way up.
"As soon as you get out of this shade, it's like a sauna," said one audience member. "Drink plenty of water, try to stay cool. So, it's not too bad, but it's definitely warm," said a woman selling hot dogs.
Warm, would be an understatement. At the start of Friday Cheers, Lynch's Landing soared into triple digits, at one point reaching 103 degrees.
"I think about 7 o'clock, a lot of people will start coming in," guessed one visitor.
But 7 o'clock would come and go, and the crowd would stay stagnant. "We've been doing this for years, and usually when the heat's like this, it's very slow, which it is tonight," said JK Deacon, who was selling beverage tickets.
The lines for alcohol tickets, usually packed with patrons, were nonexistent.
"If it was 70 degrees, we'd have people lined up, four rows of people getting tickets. If it was 70 degrees we'd probably have sold triple what we've sold tonight," said Deacon.
"We've been here since about 5:30 and I'd say we've served about five people so far, I think the heat is keeping people away," said Sherrie Tribble who was serving drinks.
A cold reminder of what Lynch's Landing looks like on a cool summer night. "Oh, it was packed. They had a beautiful band; it was a nice night. That was last year. It's a little empty, a little sad. But the people that are here are having a good time," said one woman.
"Typically by this time, the whole area's packed. So I'd say it's probably, maybe 5% of what the normal crowd would be, if I had to guess," said Tribble.
All in all, only about 500 people showed up; a far cry from the traditional 2,000 visitors. The ones that did come out though seemed to enjoy themselves.