Saturday, August 2, 2008
Steppin' Out in Blacksburg
I went to Steppin' Out for a bit yesterday afternoon. If you aren't from southwest Virginia, then you may not know what it is. Actually, if you are from the area, you still might not know, as there wasn't really a lot of promotion that I saw going on for the event in recent months. Why the town of Blacksburg has this festival before Virginia Tech's 23,041 students have all returned is beyond me, as the students could use more events on the weekends in such a rural area.
I had heard a lot about this event through the grapevine, and because I work for a local newspaper, I also knew about it because of preparations for stories and events listings. I was eager to see what was going down, but my excitement quickly dissipated by the time I made it to the end of Draper Road and started walking back down Main Street.
It seems Steppin' Out is really not much more than a scene out of Attack of the Hippies. Basically, all of the restaurants downtown set up stands in the middle of the streets to sell the exact same thing they sell in their restaurants already when they aren't busy shutting down the streets. In addition, you can find stand after stand of hippie jewelry, hippie clothing and rock sculptures. There was some music going on, which was decent, I guess, but nothing out-of-the-ordinary. Perhaps the most interesting part of Steppin' Out was just people watching and trying not to get cut by the ones walking by with multiple pieces of metal hanging from various body parts.
I'm not trying to put down the town of Blacksburg or its people at all — I really love it here. However, this event just wasn't something I personally felt like was all that great. I'll stick to the naturally provided weekend events in the New River Valley, as there are plenty of places to bike, hike and fish. To me, I'd think with a research university supporting the town's economy, Blacksburg would make an effort to host more events that young professionals would enjoy. I guess at the very least, after yesterday, I am more sure than ever that if I get a tattoo, it won't be generally visible (or at least, if it is, I won't grow dreadlocks).