The Virginia Highlands Festival is known for attracting people outside of Abingdon to visit and get a taste of what our community has to offer. But while the Festival is the main event, there are plenty of other small events for people to enjoy. They’re so woven into the Highlander and Abingdon itself, they often go unnoticed. With a series of exhibits offered at the William King Museum, the Sawdust Festival, events planned by Habitat for Humanity, and a special luncheon, Abingdon is packed to the brim with a variety of events that occur alongside the Festival. The community is one of Abingdon’s biggest strengths, and while the Festival is ample time for tourism and publicity to increase, it can be difficult if no one knows about the smaller things happening in the midst of the energetic fun of the VHF. The wonderful people of Abingdon work hard to offer fun and engaging experiences to entertain the community and tourists. Keep an eye and ear out for Abingdon’s smaller on-going events and be entranced by its charm.
When people think of art, some think of the aesthetic and feeling the artwork inspires. Not all art has to be straightforward. The Juried Fine Arts committee has an event planned to showcase original art and introduce Festival guests to a new world of art. The committee brainstormed ways to connect the event to other VHF related events, such as using Paint the Town to spread more awareness of the juried exhibit. Those who participate in Paint the Town’s pop-up exhibit have the chance to win a free entry into the juried show for fine arts! Artists can show off their own works and also attend a lecture from a featured artist. Even young and budding artists can submit their work to be judged for prizes and displayed for the duration of the Festival. If you want to have your work judged with the chance to win a prize, apply online at http://vahighlandsfestival.org/forms-applications/ and share your art with the world!
Festival committees are hard at work planning their programs for this summer, and the Antiques Market in particular has some very exciting news. They’re moving to a brand new location!
For decades the Antiques Market is usually held under tents at the Higher Education Center. But this year, the Antiques Market is moving to a place that’s a bit easier to set up and thrive in. “We thought that maybe if we could find an alternate location, we can lower our expenses, plus get in a building so the weather’s not such an issue,” says committee chair Pamela Cole. “As we all know, getting rain during an outside event is no fun for anyone, especially when tents are your only form of shelter from the elements.”
The committee has found a building that will fit the bill perfectly, and is excited to announce that the Antiques Market is moving to the Washington County Fairgrounds, located at [address].
Covering about 45,000 square feet and sporting a concrete floor, restrooms, and a catering kitchen, this new location offers many upgrades from their last spot. It has the same amount of space as the tents, and being a building, can be locked up at night. It may seem like a simple thing, but it’s very reassuring knowing that these priceless objects will be safer than under a tent.
While the location is new, the schedule will remain the same. The Early Bird event will be held on Saturday July, 29 at 8AM with admission being $20, and the regular market will be from July 29th to August 5th from 10AM to 6PM (with the exception of August 5th, where it will close at 5PM). Admission is $5 for tickets. Also, the new location is close to the old location, making it easy to find at the Washington County Virginia Fairgrounds at 17046 Fairground Dr, Abingdon, VA 24210. And parking will be much easier as well. There’s also plenty of space for committee members and vendors to bring RVs to camp out in the area.
Quality food is an important part of this year’s Festival, and the Antiques Market is proud to welcome back Scott Mullins and the Morning Star Trolley, who made an appearance last year. The building has picnic tables for visitors to sit down and eat in the shade, resting from your Festival adventures.
While this whole move is a big change, the Committee is optimistic about what it means for the Festival. Cost savings from the event is already being put to work in building new Festival programming celebrating Appalachian culinary arts and traditions. The dealers are happy with the improved accommodations and access. The committee is also looking into ways to use the new space to offer additional lectures, demonstrations, and fun tours of the Market.
If you or someone you know would like to apply for a booth space, please contact the Festival office by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can download the application from the Festival website.
Out of the many types of arts on display, photography is one of the bigger sets, requiring its own committee. This committee’s main goal is to showcase the festival through photographs; as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. Lots of people donate their own photos of the festival and is a great way others can easily get involved with the committee if they’re itching for their photos to be noticed. All the best photos are displayed at the King’s Center during the festival for all to see. The committee has received as many as three hundred photo entries showcasing the talent and cultures VHF has to offer. The committee often uses camera and photo clubs to scout for new photographers to solicit more pictures. With as many entries that are submitted each year, it’s always a treat to see the generosity and diversity of photos on display. What better way to talk about the Festival than with stunning photos illustrating the event?
‘It’s always exciting to see what kind of new photos we’ll get next.‘ — John Cornelius
As many of us know, you can’t have a festival without music. Even if you’re not directly listening to it, it’s always creating a wonderful atmosphere to surround the ongoing events. The Highlands Festival is rich with a diverse sampling of arts and it’s no different when it comes to its music thanks to the Music Committee. Held under a tent at the Farmer’s Market, every day features different musical genres ranging from Charleston to Celtic. Examples include country music on Thursday, beach music on Friday, and traditional and church music on Saturday and Sunday. And as the grand finale, the band Retroville performs, with guests From the Edge performing hits from both the fifties and the nineties. But these events aren’t just for professional performers. Volunteers from the area and outside of Virginia can sign up to play their own music in a single acoustic act. The variety of musical events allow people to enjoy many different kinds of music. Even if you end up not liking one particular style, with so many genres offered throughout the Festival, there’s a chance you’ll like at least one of them.
‘I was very active [in NACA], so I’ve participated in music and performing arts my whole life.‘ — I.B. Dent