Highland County fall festival returns with family fun, entertainment

The Highland County Hands & Harvest Festival returns with county-wide fall fun during the weekend of Oct. 8-10.

From farms to a fire tower, visitors can experience the sights and tastes of the season while viewing the beautiful countryside of fall foliage. On the self-guided Harvest Trail, the public is invited to take part in traditional fall staples like cider pressing, stirring apple butter, or picking pumpkins at local maple sugar camps, or they can try something different like viewing the process of creating colorful barn quilts or taking a tour of a mini equine sanctuary.

While traveling, guests can get their Virginia Maple Syrup Trail passports stamped at five sugar camps (www.virginiamaplesyrup.com). Community activities and attractions like the Valley AeroSpace Team Rocket Launch, restored Sounding Knob Fire Tower, Highland County Museum, Highland County Public Library’s annual used book sale, and walking tours of historic Monterey provide unique memories for the entire family.

An Arts and Crafts Vendor Market on the Highland County Courthouse Lawn in Monterey offers one-of-a-kind items like pottery, wooden signs, handmade soap, wool items, therapeutic balms, and much more to get an early start on holiday shopping.  For foodies, the Friday Highland Farmers’ Market and Puff’s BBQ will be open on the Courthouse Lawn, with Big Fish Cider close by, and specialty fall-themed menus at local restaurants are sure to please. Complete your shopping needs by visiting an old general store or venue nestled around the countryside.

For entertainment, Larnell Starkey and the Spiritual Seven will be providing a blend of traditional gospel with a twist of contemporary at The Highland Center on Saturday at 2 p.m.  Known as the “Gospel Temptations,” this award-winning ensemble has toured across the United States and internationally, performing for audiences of 300 to 30,000. At The Highland Center pavilion, the Highland County Arts Council will provide demonstrations and exhibits of art from basketry to ecoprinting to broom making and more.

Gather the children in the evening for free games, activities, and a bonfire celebration with s’mores, and cap off the night with a free outdoor showing of the classic 1921 silent movie Tol’able David that was filmed in the Highland County. Finish your weekend on Sunday with a free performance from one of the oldest clogging groups in Virginia, The Little Switzerland Cloggers, at 2 p.m. on Water Street in Monterey.

All of this and many other adventures await with a visit to Highland County. Full schedule, details, and addresses of all the festival happenings can be found at www.highlandcounty.org/hands-harvest-festival. Maps will be available at local stores and on the Highland County Courthouse Lawn in Monterey during the event.

The Hands & Harvest Festival is brought to you by the Highland County Chamber of Commerce. Top sponsors include Fair Lawn Farm, The Highland Center, Summit Community Bank, the Highland County Arts Council, and Big Fish Cider.

 


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