Weekend offers festivals, entertainment

Hayleigh Ebersole-Coleman, 5, of Strasburg, rides the combo ride at the carnival this week. The carnival is open during Strasburg's Mayfest celebration. Rich Cooley/Daily

The summer event season is now in full swing in the Northern Shenandoah Valley.

This weekend, the towns of Strasburg and Front Royal will be showcasing popular and established traditions along with growing additions to the area’s festivals repertoire.

Strasburg Mayfest

In its 33rd season, the Strasburg Chamber of Commerce is looking to make this annual tradition the biggest its ever been.

Chamber President Rich Orndorff said the event represents “an opportunity” for businesses and organizations to reach out to the community and help the local economy.

One of the newer attractions at this year’s Mayfest is a Saturday morning Zumba session that will be hosted by Anytime Fitness behind the old Brill Building.

Orndorff noted that the chamber also decided to bring back an old tradition to the Strasburg Hotel with an Elvis Presley-themed Mayfest Mayflowers Ladies Bash at 3 p.m. today, to  kick off the weekend.

For the second year in a row, the chamber is throwing a Friday night street dance called “Dining and Dancing with Danny’s Fine Foods” that will include a wine and beer garden as well as arts and crafts.

For Saturday’s parade, Orndorff said the chamber tried to focus on local celebrities for its grand and sports marshals.

“Our grand marshal this year is Jaclyn Roller Ryan, [agriscience teacher] at Signal Knob Middle School,” Orndorff said. “We felt like [Ryan] should be recognized by our community.”

In explaining what Mayfest means to the town, Orndorff said that it is “the event that kicks off the summer season for Strasburg … it’s what small town is all about. “

The full list of Mayfest times, events and information can be found at: http://bit.ly/1G7hFft.

Wine and Craft Festival

Front Royal’s Wine and Craft Festival is in its 29th year, and shows no signs of slowing down.

Niki Foster, president of the Front Royal-Warren County Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber is “doing a few little things with our entertainment this year that’s a little different.”

One of the most notable changes is a new Children’s Corner that was organized by Mt. Laurel Montessori School.

The corner will, Foster said, include festival staples such as face painting. She added that the school’s corner will also “have arts and crafts and some hands-on activities.”

“I think it’ll provide an opportunity for the parents to maybe grab a … barbecue sandwich or something … and take a break,” Foster said.

For the parents and interested parties, this year’s festival includes a list 21 wineries and vineyards from the area and across the state.

On top of that, a third stage on Chester Street will allow the chamber to add even greater capacity to its all-day live music lineup.

“The festival, over the years, has gotten so large,” Foster said, explaining that this Chester Street stage will be able to support “an entertainment area all its own.”

Foster noted that advance ticket sales have been tracking 25 percent higher than last year’s event, which drew around 12,000 people. She said that the chamber is hoping for “between 13,000 and 14,000.”

Between the wineries and various craft vendors, Foster said, “I think it’s definitely an opportunity for folks to be able to stroll and admire all of the handiwork of these artisans.”

The 29th annual Wine and Craft Festival will run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. Full vendor and music lineup information at: http://bit.ly/1EDIwLI

Taste of the Town

Craig Laird, of Royal Computers and the Front Royal Independent Business Alliance, said  tonight’s Taste of the Town will act as the “opening band” to the Wine and Craft Festival.

“We partnered with the chamber to put on a two-day event,” Laird noted. “We really wanted to try the idea of a destination weekend over here.”

This is the second-ever “Taste of the Town” that the alliance has organized, and Laird said expectations are high after the positive response to the first event last September.

“We’ve got a dynamite lineup this time,” Laird said, noting that there will be over 15 local eateries involved, live music at the Historic Front Royal gazebo and a classic car show from local “interested car show aficionados.”

As far as the food, Laird said, “We’ve got southern barbecue and we’ve got the staples such as Joe’s Steakhouse.”

Unlike the Wine and Craft Festival, Laird said this will be a non-alcoholic  event with some kind of attraction for residents of all ages.

“The idea behind this is to bring the community together and sample what Warren County has to offer,” Laird said.

The second Front Royal “Taste of the Town” will be held 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. today.

Contact staff writer Kevin Green at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or kgreen@nvdaily.com