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Festival of Leaves: a picture-perfect day for food, fun and sights

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Amy Keene watches the parade with Kody, 7, and Kendall, 7 months, wrapped in her sweater to keep her warm during the Festival of Leaves. Andrew Thayer/Daily

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Col. John S. Mosby, portrayed by Jimmy Fleming, rides down Royal Avenue with a cavalry escort in the parade during the Festival of Leaves on Saturday in Front Royal. Andrew Thayer/Daily

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Crowds pack Front Royal’s Main Street to view arts and crafts during the Festival of Leaves on Saturday. Andrew Thayer/Daily

By Sally Voth -- svoth@nvdaily.com

FRONT ROYAL -- Saturday's annual Festival of Leaves left nothing to be desired.
The perfect weather was much-commented upon by festival-goers.

Gisele Summers, of Front Royal, brought her 5-year-old granddaughter, Alisha Frye. Alisha was playing games in the special area at E. Wilson Morrison Elementary School dedicated to children's games, crafts, food and bouncy castles.

"I'm always at the Festival of Leaves," Summers said. "Then, [Alisha] wanted to come down. It doesn't seem as busy as normal, but it's a nice day for it and everything."

This was the second year the children's festival was held behind the school, said Jeanne Haley, director of the Elizabeth B. Sherman Childcare and Preschool at the Front Royal United Methodist Church. Before that, children's activities were held on the church lawn, she said.

"Obviously, this is becoming our major fundraiser," Haley said. "Every year it grows."
Front Royal resident Kimberly Day came to the festival with her sisters and one of their children.

"I think it's great," she said. "It's a great time for family to get out, and the kid festival is wonderful for the young ones. I like the crafts."

Besides the children's festival, Chester and Main streets were filled with various crafters, bakers, political candidates, church representatives, charitable organizations, food stands, musicians, face painters and even a psychic reader.

There were also tours of historic homes and the county courthouse, living history displays and apple butter churning.

It was the first time to the festival for Bretyln Jones, 18, of Winchester and her 8-year-old brother, Thomas.

Thomas pronounced the festival "fun," with the fire truck his favorite aspect.
"I got to put their turnout gear on," he said.

Bretlyn plans to come back next year.

"I looked at the Civil War stuff," she said. "The Confederate museum was open, and that was cool."

The crafters and Civil War features attracted the family to the festival, Bretyln and Thomas' mother, Julie Jones, said.

"I like it," she said. "It's a beautiful day. [Thomas] likes the Civil War stuff. Well, all of us do. We all like history."

Glenn Ferst was selling his prints of town features and wildlife at a booth he shared with his wife, Candy. She was selling her jellies and barbecue sauce. He owns Ferst Design in Front Royal.

"Everybody's in a great mood," Ferst said. "The weather is fantastic. Just a great time for the whole family. We see a lot of people we know in town."

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