Downtown Roanoke Summer refreshment zone ends

Published: Jul. 31, 2022 at 7:36 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) -Sunday was the last day visitors to Roanoke were able to enjoy the designated Outdoor Refreshment Zone.

This was the first time Roanoke had a designated area. Nick and Lauren Olski recently moved back to Roanoke from Northern Virginia. Both have been enjoying walking downtown with drinks in their hands.

“Whoever is in charge of it let’s get it permanent,” said Nick.

“It was pretty calm when we came out. I was worried that it would be too crazy when I first heard about it but it was actually pretty calm,” added Lauren.

More than a dozen restaurants were participating. New downtown business Olde Salem said they enjoyed being a part of the designated area.

“It helped the business a lot, actually. So, you know at the moment we don’t have outdoor seating,” said Olde Salem General Manager Cameron Weeks. “We will in the future, but just not yet. And so, it was nice to be able to use the farmers’ market; after they were done people would stay around there and talk and congregate outside, too.”

Weeks thinks the 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. window kept things under control. But he would like to see the zone expand.

“I mean, you have this little stretch real quick. You have to do two laps to finish a beer, it feels like,” explained Weeks. “There’s other bigger events going on, you know, these businesses down here could benefit from people being able to grab a beer from them and walking to it.”

The Olski family says they are bummed about its ending. But they are looking forward to it hopefully coming back.

“It seems like something that would work well definitely in the area,” said Nick. “You know we have, there’s a lot of young people here that like to enjoy being outside with and hanging out with friends and whatnot. But you know it seems like something good for the city and the community.”

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