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The sun sets over the Copper Valley Town Square in Copperopolis as a crowd awaits Journey Revisited on Sept. 24.

With its expansive and open-air town square, Copper Valley in Copperopolis hasn’t allowed the pandemic to dampen this year’s lineup of community events. But now, organizers are looking toward the future with hopes for bigger, better entertainment to come.

Under the ownership of Copper Valley LLC since 2018, the golf-centric community with its 18-hole course, quaint town square and newly opened hotel has leaned hard into providing spaces and occasions for residents to get together.

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Journey Revisited plays to the crowd at Copper Valley. 

“We’re excited because with all the changes over the last couple of years, for people to come out and be able to have a moment of normalcy and come together as a community, that’s really what I love to see,” said Mike Fletcher, developer and co-manager of Copper Valley LLC.

On Friday, Copper Valley hosted its final concert of the season with the return of popular tribute band Journey Revisited. The event was free of charge, with donations for parking benefitting the local 4-H group.

A projected 1,200 or so people gathered in the square, which was blocked off to traffic so that attendees could set up chairs in the street and enjoy fare from the local restaurants. When asked by emcee and event organizer Richard Varrasso whether they were from Copperopolis or from somewhere else, the crowd cheered to indicate a roughly 50/50 split.

Fletcher says he would like to keep these events, which include other concerts, car shows and seasonal festivities, relatively exclusive for Copperopolis residents. But word is spreading throughout the larger community, and recent events at Copper Valley, which have had little competition due to the pandemic, have brought on a heightened level of enthusiasm.

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Attendees gather for the Journey Revisited Concert on Sept. 24.

Last year’s Halloween and Christmas events saw unusually high attendance. Fletcher, who dressed up as Santa Claus for the 2020 tree lighting ceremony, handed out candy to more than 200 children.

Looking forward, event organizers hope to increase momentum while still preserving the community atmosphere.

“We could have bigger bands, but at that point we might have to charge a little bit more for a wristband,” said Varrasso, a concert promoter and record producer who formed the entertainment nonprofit Creative Copperopolis several years ago.

Creative Copperopolis was licensed by Copper Valley LLC to organize Friday’s concert and other events, along with Nolan Apostle of Event City and Foodie Village, and about 25 volunteers.

Varrasso and Apostle have had extensive careers in the music industry dating back 25 years. They initially met while working for concert promoter Bill Graham and have both rubbed shoulders with some of the biggest names in the industry.

“Our lives have been pretty spectacular when it comes to music, but it all boils down to where you’re living now and what you’re doing now, and so I’m really happy with all this,” Varrasso said.

In the future, Varrasso hopes to utilize his connections to bring in Bay Area-based stars like Lydia Pense from Cold Blood or The Tubes, though reservations would be needed to avoid overwhelming Copper Valley’s intimate venue.

These bigger dreams tie into Fletcher and his partners’ ultimate vision for Copper Valley, including plans for a foodie warehouse district, winetasting and outdoor pursuits centered around community events at the square.

“(We want to) maintain that specialness but be better and not become a city. It has to be charming. It has to have integrity and longevity like you’re stepping back in time,” Fletcher said.

For upcoming events at the Copper Valley Town Square, check the Enterprise calendar and follow Copper Valley on Facebook.

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Dakota graduated from Bret Harte in 2013 and went to Davidson College, NC where she earned a bachelor's degree in Arab studies. After spending time studying in the Middle East and Europe, she is happy to be home, writing about the community she loves.

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