Going Out: Festivals, history brighten weekend

By Josette Keelor

The weekend weather forecast is gloomy, but prospects for fun outshine any worries. So grab an umbrella and jacket and head to AutumnFest in Woodstock, the Children’s Harvest Festival in Harrisonburg, the OctoBeer Festival in Winchester or a reenactment of the Battle of Cedar Creek in Middletown.

The Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation’s 149th anniversary Reenactment of the Battle of Cedar Creek will offer public events from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday in Middletown. Expected to attract thousands at the largest and last major battle in the Shenandoah Valley, the weekend will include Saturday programs like “Regarded as a Species of Apocalypse: Sheridan’s Ride in War and Memory,” by Jonathan Noyalas at 11 a.m. and an artillery demonstration at 12:30 p.m. The Battle of Second Winchester reenactment will be at 3 p.m., and at 7 p.m. a Night Firing of Cannons will take place before the gates close to the public at 8 p.m.

Sunday, “Fortifications at Cedar Creek,” by Eric Campbell, will be at 11 a.m.; “Mosby’s Rangers,” by Eric Buckland, at 12:30 p.m. and a Belle Grove Plantation Wreath Laying Ceremony at 1 p.m. The Battle of Cedar Creek reenactment will take place at 1:30 p.m. Sunday.

Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for children 7 to 17. For more information, visit www.ccbf.us.

Fall festivals also will flourish this weekend.

For crafts, food and music, head to OctoBeer Fest on the Loudoun Street Pedestrian Mall from 5 to 11 p.m. Friday and noon to 8 p.m. Saturday, where, in celebration of German heritage, The Edelweiss Band will perform traditional polka and local favorites will include Push Start, Souled Out and the Nathaniel Davis band. Beer from regional breweries and wineries will be on site, as well as German, Austrian and other European wine.

Tickets are $5 for listeners and $10 for tasters. Extra tasting tickets available onsite are $5 for three tastings. Most wine and beer will be $4 a glass. Information: 540-722-8700, www.oldtownwinchesterva.com

Saturday, AutumnFest in Woodstock will combine barbecue, bands, barrels, brews and business expos from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Shenandoah County Fairgrounds. Look for arts and crafts, children’s activities, a log-splitting competition and a chain saw carving contest, and listen for live music from The Instigators and Danni Leigh. Tickets are $10-15 at the gate, free to children 16 and younger. Information: 540-459-2542, www.shenandoahcountychamber.com

At Richard’s Fruit Market’s Autumn Apple Festival on Saturday, a day of crafts, wine tasting and bluegrass music will entertain all ages at 6410 Middle Road, Middletown. Admission is free. Information: 540-869-1455, www.richardsfruitmarket.com

The Shenandoah Valley Coalition for Christ will host the Family Fun Festival at the Central High School in Woodstock Saturday and Sunday, with activities, rides, prizes, food, entertainment, a petting zoo, pony rides, crafts, games, a corn hole competition, a car show, a yard sale, and concerts beginning at 5 p.m. Admission is free. Information: 540-335-3939, 540-481-0531, www.svcc4u.com/familyfunfest.html

In Harrisonburg, the Children’s Harvest Festival at James Madison University’s Frances Plecker Educational Center will include dance exhibitions and lessons, crafts, sidewalk chalk art, singers, musical instrument performances, story time, trails tours and snacks from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free. Information: 540-568-3194, visitharrisonburgva.com/events

Also Saturday, a two-mile walk to cure diabetes will begin at 9:30 a.m. at the parking lot for First Baptist Church, 14 W. First St., Front Royal. Registration begins at 9 a.m., and a lunch party will follow the walk. Information: 804-254-8014, www2.jdrf.org