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(Credit: Vera Chinese)

The shops of Love Lane will be staying open late on certain Fridays this summer to encourage people to come out and stay a while.

“First Fridays” is a collaborative event among merchants and North Fork purveyors to attract both visitors and locals alike to Love Lane, stay late and enjoy what the area has to offer. Stores and restaurants will extend their hours for the event.

“This came out of [the] ‘A Taste of Love Lane’ [event] a few years ago,” said Robin Epperson-McCarthy, director of education at Roanoke Vineyards and one of the event organizers. “Everything kind of closes up early here, so we wanted to create an event that would give people an opportunity to come out and enjoy Love Lane after hours. Stores will stay open til 9 p.m. making it an alternative nightlife destination.”

Merchants like Love Lane Kitchen and the Village Cheese Shop will pair with farmers like Sang Lee Farms and Roanoke Vineyards to offer $3 bites and $5 sips.

Browder’s Birds, one of the participating farms, will serve mint chocolate whoopie pies with meringue made from their organic egg whites.

“This event lets farmers collaborate with store owners,” said farmer Holly Browder. “We all like to promote each other and work together, that’s what’s great about this community.”

Wine tastings will be served by Roanoke Vineyards, while Love Lane Kitchen will have $5 draft beers. The Village Cheese Shop will also have live music.

“This will give people the opportunity to sample what Love Lane has to offer,” said Epperson-McCarthy. “We want to showcase our neighbors.  Some of them have farm stands , while others sell at farmer’s markets, so this is another showcase for them. We love our neighbors.”

“First Fridays” takes place on the first Friday of each  month this summer, June 5, July 3 and August 7.  For more information go to