Reel Change Festival at Court Square Theater

Court Square Theater is hosting the Reel Change Festival this week and weekend to promote 2013 documentary films throughout the world that directly impacted social consciousness and political action throughout the world.   The event covers five movies in total and also features two, 90-second short film contests on Saturday night from 5:30pm – 7:30pm.   One film in particular, The Act of Killing, received worldwide acclaim and a 2013 Academy award nomination for its depiction of former Indonesian death squad members retelling and recreating the region’s communist purge from 1965-1966.

Admission to the event is FREE and movies will be followed by a panel discussion for those that are interested in delving further into the each movie’s ethos.  For more information on the Reel Change Festival, please visit their website.

The Best Kept Secret in Downtown Harrisonburg

Downtown Harrisonburg is known for its vibrant scene of top notch of restaurants and bars.  People come from all around to dine and stay out until all hours just to eat and drink and breathe in the electricity in the air.   But did you know the best restaurant of them all is only open 5 days a week and closes by 9pm?  I am of course talking about the great, the tremendous El Sol.

El Sol (91 East Elizabeth Street) is a family business run by a group of lifelong Harrisonburg natives who carried the traditions and techniques of Latin America here to Virginia for all to enjoy and its indisputable greatness lies in its commitment and reliance on basic ingredients and delivering an affordable price to its customers.

So do yourself a favor Harrisonburg and get out to enjoy all that Downtown Harrisonburg has to offer.

March Madness arrives to Matchbox Downtown

Matchbox March Madness Bracket 2014

Matchbox March Madness Bracket 2014

Here at Matchbox we love to encourage good, clean competition and overall school/downtown spirit.   In that vein, we are currently hosting the greatest March Madness pool the world has ever seen.  Actually, strike that, apparently Warren Buffet is promising to give away a billion dollars to someone.   We can’t quite do that.   But we ARE giving away $200 to one very lucky pool winner this year.   You can sign up for the FREE bracket here (password: matchbox) and do not forget to thank our local sponsors, especially the Evans Law Group (165 South Main Street) located right here in the heart of downtown! The only restriction is you must be a fan of both Matchbox’s Facebook page and Evans Law Group Facebook page to win! Don’t wait until it is too late!

Hugo Kohl signs at the Ice House

Hugo Kohl Signs with the Ice House

Hugo Kohl Signs with the Ice House

Hugo Kohl has just signed his lease for the Ice House here in Downtown Harrisonburg!   Hugo becomes the first commercial tenant signed at the Ice House (more announcements are expected over the next few weeks J) and here at Matchbox we cannot wait to welcome him to our building.

Hugo has accumulated the most impressive and renowned collection of jewelry manufacturing equipment in the world and he plans to use those tools to help individuals create one of a kind art pieces.  His work is known throughout the world for its innovation and simultaneous preservation of materials and techniques no longer used in the modern era.

The Hugo Kohl space will be an interactive dream for jewelry lovers with over 5,000 square feet that includes a retail portion, a large showroom, and an interactive studio.

To read more about Hugo’s work check out his website.   And for more information related to the Ice House make sure to stay tuned to Matchbox Downtown.

St. Patrick’s Day After Party at 3 Brothers

I hope our loyal readership is enjoying a day off during this rare St. Patrick’s / snow day.   What luck, right?!?  Anyways, I wanted to make you aware of a fantastic event at 3 Brothers on the day AFTER St. Patrick’s Day (Tuesday, March 18th).   You Made It! will be combining their talents with 3 Brothers to bring art to the brewery where patrons can paint their own stein glass and enjoy $2 beers!

That’s right, you get to paint your very own steal the pint night for only $15 AND you get to purchase the delicious beers of 3 Brothers for only $2.   What a deal!

V.O.I.C.E. Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser

V.O.I.C.E. Speghetti Dinner Fundraiser

V.O.I.C.E. Speghetti Dinner Fundraiser

Are you familiar with the non-profit group Vocalists Offering Inspirational Community Enrichment?  It just sounds like a fun group of people, right?   A group of supportive, helpful of individuals who carry the spirit of song to help lift spirits and dreams throughout the Valley.  Think Sister Act but with less Whoopi and more soul power.
Anyway, V.O.I.C.E. is hosting a spaghetti dinner on Saturday, March 15th from 1:00pm to 6:00pm at Vision of Hope (1723 Port Republic Road).  Tickets are $7 for Adults and $4 for Children.  So make sure to get out there and support your community this Saturday!

Get Crafty with You Made It!


Joan Clasbey, co-owner of You Made It!, talks to Matchbox Downtown about what makes her business so special (hint: it’s all about the magic of creation) while discussing upcoming events around town.  You Made It! provides amazing value to the community by not only enhancing the skills people already have, but also encouraging first time artists to unlock skills they never knew existed.

Here at Matchbox, we are thrilled to have You Made It! as a tenant and look forward to continuing to support their business for many years to come!  Make sure to check out their calendar for upcoming events and camps going forward.

The Best Coffee in Downtown

Blue Nile breakfast Menu

Blue Nile breakfast Menu

As a downtowner, it can be a bit of a struggle to find a good cup of coffee in the morning.   First of all, there just aren’t that many places open before lunch.  While we have a lot of great restaurants and bars in the area, downtown does not do mornings.  But that is changing with Blue Nile’s brand new breakfast menu and absolutely incredible coffee.

Blue Nile (181 North Main Street) has included their menu above, and let me tell you the sweet potato waffles and breakfast burrito are ridiculously tasty, but the real star of the show is Blue Nile’s fantastic coffee.  The coffee is styled with a lot of the spices that the Nile is known for, creatively capturing tastes and smells of an area of the world not known to many Valley residents.

So if you take one piece of advice from this humble correspondent, take this, get to Blue Nile immediately and enjoy the best coffee and breakfast in town.

City Council meets tonight to discuss The Ice House

Ice House Development

Ice House Development

While City Council will meet tonight to discuss several items, a few of the most exciting for Downtown Harrisonburg involve special use applications for a brewery and a jewelry manufacturer at the Ice House.

The brewery, which will be led by Tim Brady, plans to open a 9,000 square foot facility within the property and will offer a full tasting room, a production house, and a bottling plant for distribution.  The space will also feature live music and an indoor/outdoor vibe with over-sized windows and over-sized patio area for patrons.

The jewelry manufacturing area and retail portion will be led by Hugo Kohl who has achieved international acclaim for his one of a kind pieces.  Customers and tourists throughout the Valley will be able to manually create their own pieces by using Hugo’s antique equipment and templates for a truly hands-on experience.    This 5,000 square foot facility will offer a 100% authentic and creative environment for customers throughout the region.

Here at Matchbox, we are thrilled to be on tonight’s agenda and cannot wait to bring these fantastic attractions to downtown!


And it begins…

Clementine's Downtown Harrisonburg

Clementine’s Downtown Harrisonburg

Harrisonburg’s bi-annual restaurant week HAS BEGUN!  Grocery store?  Who needs it, it’s restaurant week!   We’re talking great food at GREAT prices all in Downtown Harrisonburg.

Just look at what we got at Clemetine’s today!

Clementine's Taste of Downtown Lunch Special

Clementine’s Taste of Downtown Lunch Special

Ohhhh, yeah.  That’s the good stuff.   So come one, come all to downtown and enjoy our amazing food and drink.

Remember, these great deals only last from March 10th – March 16th so don’t miss out!

Festival Season is upon us


Maple Festival Crafts

Maple Festival Crafts

You refer to spring and summer as Festival Season, right?  Ok good, glad we got that out of the way because this week is the first of many local festivals that we will highlighted here on Matchbox Downtown.

And it begins…

56th Annual Highland Maple Festival

March 8-9 & 15-16, 2014

Come for the donuts.  Stay for the pancakes.

Each year, Virginia’s “Little Switzerland” located in Highland County celebrates all things maple.  This includes everything from pancakes and donuts to maple glazed chicken and sugar tours.  The festival centers around Monterey, Virginia as its hub.  There you can find everything from the famous donuts to local crafts and even, wait for it, a place where you can take a picture with sheep.  Real live sheep!  If this doesn’t sound like the coolest day trip ever, you might want to head to the doctor because something is wrong with you.

For more information please visit Highland County’s website.

Taste of Downtown returns March 10th!

Taste of Downtown Spring 2014

Taste of Downtown Spring 2014

Restaurant Week is a big deal in some of the bigger cities across America.  It is thought of as an opportunity for restaurants to unveil an affordable sampling of what their restaurants have to offer.  And the best part is, the prices are fixed, so you know exactly what you’re getting in to before you even sit down.

Harrisonburg has recently joined this fantastic tradition by encouraging its downtown restaurants (and my, there are a lot of options to choose from these days) to offer unique menu items bundled together at affordable prices.  Check out the flyer above to see who is offering what these days, but just glancing this over these are my favorites so far: three course dinner from Local Chop & Grill House for $36, a dozen Strite donuts plus donut holes for $11, and a Bloody Mary or Mimosa brunch at Clementine’s for only $10!

Now keep in mind, these deal only run from March 10th to March 16th so make sure to take advantage while they last!