Warren County, Front Royal join the Artisan Trail network

FRONT ROYAL – The town and county are teaming up with the Artisans Center of Virginia in an attempt to connect local businesses with the organization’s network of Artisan Trails.

As part of the trail’s implementation, a brochure will be created to show locations of artisan studios, craft-related venues, restaurants, agri-artisan farms, lodging, and other points of interest. A website will also be built that profiles each member.

The Warren County Artisan Trail will be Virginia’s 34th such trail, with nearby member localities including Shenandoah, Rappahannock, and Page counties.

Sherri Smith, Artisans Center of Virginia executive director, previously explained that the program is not “just building trails” but also “cultivating a local economy.”

She said the trail’s primary goals are fostering economic growth, creating vibrant economic communities, and linking visitors to local businesses. She added that the trails also attempt to make businesses sustainable, bring visitors, and “keep the dollars here.”

Smith said about $30,000 is required to implement a trail, which is collected through start-up fees from local governments, business membership fees, and sponsorships.

There is a $100 fee for eligible businesses to initially join the network, followed by annual $60 fees. The town and county have also both agreed to supply $5,000 for the start-up fees.

Felicia Hart, town community development and tourism director, said the trail “gives us another avenue to not only entice new visitors to our area but also to remind our locals all that we have to offer.”

Kym Crump, Blue Ridge Arts Council executive director, said the trail would be a “positive contribution to our ever-growing community.”

“We look forward to showcasing the vibrant creativity of local artisans, agri-businesses, historical attractions, unique lodgings and restaurants, and recreational experiences to those at home and far away,” she said.

The trail’s management team –  composed of artists, art advocates, and hospitality and cultural businesses -will now begin working on identifying potential artisans and businesses to participate in the network. The team will also work to agree on an official trail name.

The management team will host monthly meetings for those interested,  with one scheduled from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 3 at the Vine and Leaf, 124 E. Main St.   To RSVP,  contact trails@artisanscenterofvirginia.org.