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2020 Hands & Harvest Festival: Celebrate fall in the mountains

highland county
(© Andriy Blokhin –

This year’s Hands & Harvest Festival in Highland County offers a unique hybrid of both virtual and in-person offerings.

The festival kicks off on Thursday, Oct. 8 from 6-8 p.m. with the first ever Virtual Hands & Harvest Festival, hosted by online event platform, BoothCentral. Anyone in the world with an internet connection and email address has the ability to go online to discover, browse and shop with participating festival organizations and businesses.

The virtual event includes a video stream that highlights many aspects of the festival, including exclusive tours and special moments with the unique people and destinations of this rural, mountain community. In addition, guests can directly interact with participating vendors at their own pace in their online vendor “booths.”

Tune in any time between 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 8 at this Virtual Hands & Harvest Link to learn all about what Highland County has to offer.

Preregistration is not necessary, although guests who register ahead of time will receive an email reminder on the day of the event.

In-person offerings will begin Friday, Oct. 9 through Sunday, Oct. 11th, dispersed throughout Highland County.

See the full schedule and details at

Here are some highlights of the sights, sounds and tastes of the season:

  • Activities for all ages include scaling over 100 steps on Sounding Knob Fire Tower from sunrise to sunset, watching the Valley AeroSpace Team’s amazing rocket launches, and visiting a mini equine sanctuary
  • Outdoor entertainment on Saturday at The Highland Center with their “Maple Tap Room” serving up craft and domestic beer and Big Fish Cider, followed by live music with Lynda Smith and 7th Street, an eight-piece party band that highlights Motown, disco, beach and classic rock
  • The freshly updated Highland County Barn Quilt Trail, including a chance to visit the barn quilt studio where many of these colorful quilt designs on wooden blocks are created
  • Several of Highland County’s Maple Syrup Sugar Camps will be open, with a chance to get your passport stamped after a tour as part of the new Virginia Maple Syrup Trail at participating camps.  If pure maple syrup isn’t enough of a draw, some camps will even offer delicious apple butter or cider, warm winter wear, pumpkins, bbq, bluegrass music, hiking trails and more!
  • Instead of the Monterey Courthouse, arts and crafts vendors will be set up with one-of-a-kind gifts and treats at locations around the county like Monterey Presbyterian Church and The Church at the Old Oak.

“This hybrid event offers visitors the option to take part in the festival online even if they are unable to make it or if they feel uncomfortable with travel at this time,” said Chris Swecker, executive director of the Highland County Chamber of Commerce. “Whether online or in person, people will get to experience what makes our rural community so special at this time of year.”

The 2020 Hands & Harvest Festival is sponsored by Big Fish Cider Co., the new HighlandCountyVA Blog, and The Highland Center.

The festival is brought to you by The Highland County Chamber of Commerce.

augusta free press
augusta free press
augusta free press

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