Blacksburg, Virginia – People gather to “Steppin Out” at the 41st Annual Steppin Out Festival in Blacksburg.
Over 200 vendors attended the event, but one local business owner remembers when Steppin’ Out changed things up a bit.
For John Kline of John’s Cameras and Records in downtown Blacksburg, Steppin’ Out will forever be known as Deadwood Days.
“It was pretty late in the summer. There were very few students in Blacksburg. I mean, it was dead,” Klein said.
In over 45 years in business, Kline recognizes the need for people to shop locally and finds fun ways to do so.
“We had a party! We all got dressed up and were cowboys and had a lot of fun,” he said.
Organizers later rebranded the event.
“So we started Steppin’ Out,” says Kline. “And it’s been pretty tame. It’s more family-friendly.”
The festival continues to bring communities together and help boost Blacksburg’s economy.
“Every booth here represents a Blacksburger who had a dream of starting a business,” said Ellen Woodall, manager of Blacksburg Books. “So every dollar you spend here stays in Blacksburg and tells that person you were right. You were right to follow your dreams.”
For Woodall, that dream came true exactly one year ago when Blacksburg Books opened at Steppin’ Out.
“We were going back and forth between the store and stepping out,” says Woodall. “There were a lot of people in the store, and a lot of people at our booth.
And for Woodall, the Blacksburg business is like family.
“When we first started, many local businesses stepped up and helped us and gave us advice,” she said. “And with so many local businesses here, it would be silly to look elsewhere for community, support and products.”
As for Klein, he said he would like to join Steppin’ Out for years to come.
“We’ll be fine for another 10 years at this rate,” Klein said.
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