The Friday Night Jamboree may have been the original attraction that drew musicians and cloggers to Floyd from all over Virginia and North Carolina, but the entire Floyd community now puts on a show that entertains hundreds of visitors every Friday night, especially on the first Friday of every month.
These Friday night celebrations have become a major "photo opportunity" for visiting photographers. You see them everywhere capturing images of joyful celebration. These images appear on the Internet every week and bring more visitors from far places looking for a night of music and family fun.
Floyd has created a truly hospitable small town environment that offers good food, lodging, shopping, and entertainment for visitors and encourages them to return and bring friends.
Floyd attracts talented people and visitors are made welcome, especially those who bring their own musical instruments.
Last Friday was the First Friday in September and almost every shop and gallery in town was open and there were artists receptions and live music everywhere.
Watching kids choosing penny candy from the barrels in the Floyd Country Store is a show in itself. Woody and Jackie Crenshaw have created a family venue in the Floyd Country Store that has something for almost everyone.
On Locust Street, you will find enthusiastic audiences cheering musicians as they play everything from gospel music and Bluegrass to Jimmy Buffett tunes. In the coffee shops and downstairs at Wildfire Pots, you will hear Blues, Celtic music, Jazz, Flamenco music, and tunes written by local singer/songwriters.
It is a common sight to see crowds of spectators gathered around musicians jamming on the sidewalk, with visitors waiting with instruments in hand for a tune that they can join in on.
It is almost impossible to hear and see everything during a single Friday night, so you end up returning and then you find that there are even more interesting places you have missed.
This recent First Friday, The Blue Ridge Art Connection at the Station on Locust featured a reception for visiting artist James Underwood, a prize-winning pastel artist from Bedford, VA. His work can be seen at www.underwoodart.com
They also exhibited work by students who have taken classes from the artists of the Art Connection. This group was admiring an oil painting by one of the students. The Art Connection encourages and supports beginning artists as well as promoting their own art.
The Jacksonville Center for the Arts featured a Breezeway Gallery Exhibit that showcased members of the Jacksonville Center. Live music and refreshments created a party mood. The Jacksonville Center for the Arts has trained many of the local artists who are now professionals.
The overall effect is that the presence of so much talent and a willingness to share with newcomers has created a steady increase in the number of artists who are contributing to the local economy.
It is not just the art community and musicians that attract visitors to Floyd, it is the concerted effort by most business establishments to welcome visitors and make them feel at home.
The town is so small that visitors are easy to identify and most people in town will go out of their way to be helpful. As a fairly recent transplant of five years, I can still remember the pleasant shock I experienced coming to Floyd for the first time. People made us feel welcome from day one.
Many of the visitors I spoke to this weekend mentioned being pleased with their accommodations at the Hotel Floyd and local Bed and Breakfasts. More than half of the visitors I met Friday were planning to returning to Floyd for another visit.