The annual Hands & Harvest Festival in Highland County, Virginia, returns with county-wide fall fun Oct. 7 – 9, where everyone is invited to celebrate the traditions, harvest, and crafts found in this rural mountain community.
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, making apple butter, or picking pumpkins at local farms and 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). New community activities and attractions include a 5K Fall Color Run, gemstone mining, or a sneak peek of the historic Jones/McCoy House Museum. Past staples like Valley AeroSpace Team Rocket Launches, the restored Sounding Knob Fire Tower, annual sweater and used book sales, and local artist demonstrations provide unique memories for the entire family.
Free entertainment abounds at the festival. Friday afternoon there will be bluegrass music at the courthouse lawn in Monterey, Virginia, with Eyes on Him, and the acoustic duo of Mike Eye and Cory Thomas will be at Big Fish Cider. Original Rhondels return to The Highland Center in Monterey, Virginia, on Saturday night. Dance along with a variety of tunes, including top 10 hits like “May I,” “I’ve Been Hurt,” and “What Kind of Fool Do You Think I Am.” Sunday afternoon, there will be an old-fashioned street dance on Spruce Street in Monterey with one of Virginia’s oldest clogging groups, the Little Switzerland Cloggers, as well as local square dance callers Ellen and Eugene Ratcliffe.
An arts and crafts vendor market, as well as the Friday Highland Farmers’ Market and Puff’s BBQ can be found on the courthouse lawn, with Big Fish Cider close by, and specialty fall-themed menus at local restaurants. The grand opening of the Doe Hill Mercantile will include an Heirloom Seed and Daffodil Bulb Swap.
More information can be found at www.highlandcounty.org/hands-harvest-festival. Maps with daily schedules will be available at local stores and on the courthouse lawn.