FRONT ROYAL — Residents from around the Shenandoah Valley visited Front Royal on Saturday for the annual Festival of Leaves.
The festival, presented by the Warren Heritage Society, featured live musical entertainment, tours of historic buildings, historical demonstrations, and activities for the kids.
Alan Fox, a member of the Warren Heritage Society, said that this year’s Festival of Leaves had one of the biggest turnouts in years. While he couldn’t provide the official number of attendees at this year’s festival, Fox said that the event has attracted close to 20,000 in the past.
“We had a successful truck show and our stage has been packed with one [musical] act after another. It’s been very exciting,” he said. “The weather has been perfect. It’s not too hot, but not too cold. It’s the best weather we’ve had in the last five years.”
One of the new events at the festival this year was the truck show located outside of E. Wilson Morrison Elementary School. The show featured more than a dozen trucks, ranging from tractor-trailers to old military trucks.
Dawson Leatherman, 9, of Front Royal said he loved the truck show, especially when he got a chance to sit in one of the tractor-trailers. He said he wanted to be a truck driver when he got older.
“I really liked the truck and I liked blowing the horn,” Leatherman said.
The festival also featured tours of historic homes and buildings, including the Belle Boyd Cottage and Balthis House, throughout the day. Heritage Square, which was located at the Warren Heritage Society at 101 Chester St., featured historic demonstrations and living history interpretations. The Ivy Lodge Museum and Gift Shop, the Stokes Country Store Museum, and the Warren Rifles Confederate Memorial Museum were also open for tours.
Dale Corey of the Col. James Wood II Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution said the Festival of Leaves event is an important part of teaching people about the history of Warren County.
“Even though Warren County was not founded until 1835, before that, it was part of Frederick County and Shenandoah County, which were here during the colonial days,” he said. “There’s a ton of history here. What we’re doing is increasing the community’s awareness of the colonial era and teach people about that.”
The Festival of Leaves also featured various vendors including local crafters, artists, merchants, and non-profit organizations. Live musical entertainment from various singers and bands representing genres such as bluegrass, blues, country, and jazz, was held at the gazebo inside the town commons.