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Bluegrass sounds return to Mt. Jackson

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Visitors ride a wagon provided by Shenandoah Caverns during Saturday’s festival in Mt. Jackson. Andrew Thayer/Daily

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Thrash and Hollar, a bluegrass group, plays for the crowd at the Mt. Jackson Bluegrass Harvest Festival on Saturday. Andrew Thayer/daily

By Sally Voth -- svoth@nvdaily.com

MT. JACKSON -- Two-year-old Marcus Mitchell had gotten his face and hand painted, eaten an ice cream and ridden a replica circus wagon -- and that was before he got to go to the petting zoo.

He was at the Mt. Jackson Bluegrass Harvest Festival held Saturday and Sunday in Mt. Jackson.

The town's annual fall festival was back with a new name and a new sponsor -- the Mt. Jackson Festival Foundation -- after a year's absence.

Marcus' mother, Tracie Mitchell, had brought her son out from Washington so they could visit her mother.

"It's always nice to come back to your roots and visit and see all the things that are going on and support the local businesses," she said.

Mitchell planned to "listen to the music, look at the different crafters and the vendors. Just sit back and relax and visit with my grandmother."

Set up around the town hall were various crafters -- selling everything from logs to grow mushrooms in, to baskets, to furniture, to jewelry, to artwork -- and food vendors, offering fried pies, cotton candy, bags of apples, funnel cakes and more.

The band EZGO, specializing in beach music and classic rock 'n' roll, was performing late Saturday afternoon. There were also children's games and activities.

Town resident Lorma Bowers and her husband, Perry Bowers Jr., were enjoying the music.

"[We] come every year," she said. "Love it."

Bowers said, "First time I ever heard [EZGO]. I love them.

"[The festival] is wonderful. I can't wait till tomorrow. There's going to be over 100 cars down there [at the car show]."

Paul Goland, of Franklin, W.Va., brought items from his business, Hardscrabble Enterprises. He was mainly selling logs with shiitake mushroom spores.

"This is my second time [at the festival]," he said. "It's a good festival, good crowd. The music was OK, wasn't too loud."

Goland said each mushroom log needed to be soaked in cold water.

"They will get their first crop in eight days," he said. "Then, they will produce several more crops over the years. I've been doing it for 32 years."

A replica Barnum & Bailey Circus wagon was brought by Shenandoah Caverns general manager Joe Proctor, festival foundation president, to shuttle festival-goers around. Saturday afternoon, a crowd rode the wagon just for pleasure, staying onboard for the round-trip.

On it were Mary Palmer, from Stanley, and her grandsons Bryan and Simon Kennedy, who are from Edinburg. It was Palmer's first time at the festival.

"I love it," she said. "Tell everyone to come out and have fun."

The boys were enjoying themselves, too.

"It's cool," Simon, 8, said.

He particularly liked the food he'd had -- a hot dog, an apple and a funnel cake. Big brother Bryan, 12, preferred the wagon.

"So far, [I've ridden] the bus twice, three times," he said as he sat on the back bench for yet another ride.

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