Harvest festival to showcase town, artisans

By Ryan Cornell

Mount Jackson will celebrate its ingression into autumn as well as its many artisans and businesses at the fourth annual Music and Harvest Festival on Oct. 11-12.

The festival is free to attend and will be held in the park beside the Mount Jackson Town Hall.

According to Willie Meadows, vice president of the festival foundation, the town held a festival each year celebrating the harvest season, but it went on a brief hiatus until a committee of town residents and former Mayor Joseph Williams worked to revive it about a half-decade ago.

“When we all met together as a group, one of the focuses we had was to try and keep this as local as possible,” Meadows said. “Our vision was to keep this in Mount Jackson and expand outward to keep it local and support local crafters, vendors and different businesses.”

Food vendors signed up for the event include Strite’s Donuts, Lucas Roasting Co. coffee, Melissa’s Lemonade, Bill Stroupe’s pork rinds and kettle corn, and homemade ice cream from the Conicville Volunteer Fire Department, in addition to hamburgers, hot dogs and steak and cheese sandwiches.

Crafters range from knitters and basket makers to potters and candlemakers.

Live entertainment over the two days will be provided by Pam Uhl, Just 4 Fun and the Rinard Family Band, which performs a mix of gospel and country.

“They’re very well-known, their music is really good and they have a huge following,” Meadows said. “The Rinards have about as big a following as we have. They bring a lot of people in and, of course, you can’t get any more local than what they are because they’re from right across the street from the festival.”

He said the family friendly activities have expanded to include an antique tractor display, petting zoo and a miniature carnival by the Food Lion shopping center. A car show on Sunday will be held on the shopping center’s parking lot.

Meadows said the Union Church, which was used as a hospital for both armies during the Civil War, will host living history demonstrations by reenactors.

A group from the Mount Calvary Lutheran Church will boil apple butter during the festivities, he added.

The Mayor-A-Thon 5K run will also take place in town Saturday morning.

Meadows, who serves as assistant manager of Shenandoah Caverns, said it’s been a good year for the town.

“The money on the tourism side has really bounced back this year and I think it’s really bounced back for a lot of businesses,” he said.

For more information on the music and harvest festival, visit http://www.bit.ly/1wVt4YO or call 540-975-1622.