PRESS RELEASE: Regional Organizations to Hold Eight Public Planning & Information Sessions in Southwest Virginia

February 6, 2020

Contact: Jenna Wagner
PR & Marketing Director
Friends of Southwest Virginia
Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Foundation
(276) 492-2400


ABINGDON, VA – Friends of Southwest Virginia, a 501(c)(3) community and economic development nonprofit, is hitting the road this March for their third annual Spring Break Blitz. The blitz is a series of eight regional meetings over two weeks to educate the public on the creative economy movement reinventing the economy of Southwest Virginia, increase community participation in the dozens of programs currently available, and increase regional partnerships across city and county lines. 

Joining Friends on the 2020 Blitz will be associated organizations working in tourism and community development across the region including Heart of Appalachia, ‘Round the Mountain: Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Network, and The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail.  The organizations invite you to come dream with them about the future of Southwest Virginia, while you meet partners from around the 19 counties and four cities.

Friends of Southwest Virginia represents 19 counties, four cities, and 53 towns in Southwest Virginia and works to develop the creative economy and market the region to the world. Since the inaugural Spring Break Blitz in 2018, Friends of Southwest Virginia has transitioned significantly including merging organizational administration with ‘Round the Mountain to streamline resources and services and renovating the Southwest Virginia Cultural Center & Marketplace in Abingdon for an improved experience and a new, consolidated brand. 

Team members will be hitting the road to engage with a variety of partners to discuss the future of the creative economy in the region and opportunities for communities to develop and grow. Programs range from outdoor recreation development, culinary and agritourism development, arts & craft heritage preservation, regional music promotion & education, and regional marketing and branding. 

Attendees can expect to hear important regional and organizational updates, meet the teams, and provide feedback on how these organizations can better serve you and your communities. Light snacks will be provided, as well as special guest appearances by regional breweries, wineries, and musicians.

Prior to each session, the team of ‘Round the Mountain invites regional artisans and stakeholders to a feedback session on the future of the SWVA Artisan Trails. A project of `Round the Mountain: Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Network, the Artisan Trails are a collection of 15 community trails covering 19 counties and four cities, each reflecting its own unique culture, heritage, and tradition. Each community’s input will be recorded and used in planning the future direction of each trail. 

“There is so much underway in the creative economy in this region – communities are taking natural and cultural assets and turning them into an economic engine for the future that stabilizes and diversifies their local economy,” said Chris Cannon, executive director of Friends of Southwest Virginia. “Opportunities abound for communities to participate in these programs and this is a great opportunity to find out how!” 

Save the following dates:

  • March 16th – Daniel Boone Area
    Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail Interpretive Center
    371 Technology Trail Ln, Duffield, VA 24244 
  • March 17th – Blue Ridge Plateau Area
    Reynolds Homestead
    463 Homestead Ln, Critz, VA 24082
  • March 19th – New River Area
    Pulaski Train Depot
    20 S Washington Ave, Pulaski, VA 24301    
  • March 23rd – Breaks Area
    Breaks Interstate Park Conference Center
    627 Commission Cir, Breaks, VA 24607
  • March 24th – Appalachian Trail Area
    Hungry Mother State Park – Ferrell Hall
    2854 Park Blvd, Marion, VA 24354 
  • March 25th – Clinch River Area
    Lonesome Pine Brewery
    15 East Main Street, Lebanon, VA 24266
  • March 26th – Mount Rogers Area
    Whitetop Community Center
    16309 Highlands Pkwy, Whitetop, VA 24292 
  • March 31st – High Knob Area
    Norton Farmers Market
    8th St SW, Norton, VA 24273
    *Anchor Area Engagement and High Knob Master Plan release
  • April 2 – Region-Wide
    SWVA Cultural Center & Marketplace
    1 Heartwood Circle, Abingdon,VA 24210

Meeting Schedules:
2:30 – 4:00 PM – ‘Round the Mountain Artisan Trail Feedback Session
4:00 – 4:30 PM – ‘Round the Mountain Meet & Greet
4:30 – 5:30 PM – Spring Break Blitz Presentation
5:30 – 6:30 PM – Regional Networking 

For more information and to RSVP for each event, check out the Friends of Southwest Virginia’s Facebook page or


For more information, please contact Jenna Wagner with Friends of Southwest Virginia (276-492-2400). For more information and to stay up-to-date, subscribe to the Friends of Southwest Virginia Partner Newsletter and “Like” Friends of Southwest Virginia on Facebook.

About Southwest Virginia:
Tucked in the mountains of Southwest Virginia is a vibrant culture of music, craft and stunning natural beauty. It’s a region of spectacular views and rich natural resources. Time spent in the region adds up to something much more than a simple getaway. A different side of Virginia. And a great place to visit for a week’s vacation – or to make a home for a lifetime. Authentic. Distinctive. Alive.

About the Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Foundation and Friends of Southwest Virginia:
The Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Foundation is the coordinating body for cultural heritage tourism and economic development efforts fostering Southwest Virginia’s creative economy. Through a supporting non-profit, the Friends of Southwest Virginia, the combined entities help localities, businesses, individuals, artists, nonprofits and entrepreneurs mobilize and succeed.

A multifaceted plan identifies the cultural and natural assets of the region; coordinates initiatives, organizations and venues engaged in cultural and natural heritage toward more efficient operations for all partner organizations; and develops a comprehensive strategy and capital improvements plan to maximize the impact of state investments in this significant restructuring effort.

Key initiatives include:

  • Branding and marketing Southwest Virginia to the world as a distinct culture and destination
  • Developing and sustaining the Southwest Virginia Cultural Center & Marketplace
  • Expanding outdoor recreation development initiatives and marketing throughout the region
  • Planning and implementation of downtown revitalization throughout the region to instill a high quality of life within our communities and promote them to the world for a broad spectrum of economic development opportunities

Learn More About the Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Foundation and Friends of Southwest Virginia

Learn More About Heart of Appalachia

Learn More About The Crooked Road

Learn More About ‘Round the Mountain

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