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Newtown Heritage Festival starts in Stephens City

By Sally Voth -- svoth@nvdaily.com

The 20th annual Newtown Heritage Festival kicks off today in Stephens City.

Sherando High School's spring concert is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. on the Newtown Commons in downtown Stephens City.

"That's been a favorite," said Town Manager Mike Kehoe, who is the festival committee treasurer.

Last year's concert was canceled due to the threat of violent weather, he said.

The first Newtown Heritage Festival was in 1993, Kehoe said.

"We were trying to make it a little bit bigger this year," he said. "It's a year-long effort of the Newtown Heritage Festival to plan it."

Friday will feature a Battle of the Bands from 6 to 9 p.m. on the commons, according to the festival website. Six or seven youth bands will be performing, Kehoe said.

"It's a fun time for the kids," he said. "It's the future golden oldies. That's been growing bigger every year. It's been a very good crowd."

The festival's name comes from Stephens City's original moniker, according to the festival website. It states a wagon train was on display, and that the town was famous for its wagon/cart industry.

Saturday's events start at 10 a.m., with the Sherando High School jazz band, according to the website. There will be music throughout the day, a parade at 2 p.m. and fireworks at dusk.

Food and craft vendors will be set up along the commons, and there will be free wagon rides, according to the site. Several museums will also be open, and there will be guided tours of the historical area, it states.

Kehoe hoped The Boxcars' 7 p.m. performance would draw a big crowd.

"Boxcars is a well-known bluegrass group nationwide," he said.

Business sponsorships and the sale of festival items support the festival, Kehoe said. This year, a stoneware flower pot is being sold for $25.

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