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2018 Highland Hands And Harvest Festival

Fall weather means fall festivals, and we recently spoke with Josh Umar, Executive Director of the Highland County Chamber of Commerce to find out more about just such an upcoming event.

“We have our Hands and Harvest Festival coming up. It runs October 12 through the 14th which is a Friday through this Sunday and should be a good time.

“People can expect to see a lot of their favorites and some of the mainstays that they’ve seen in years past. The Highland Hills Farm 5K is going to be that Saturday – registration for that is going to is going to be open at 8:30 that morning.  The used book sale, the sweater sale, the cloggers are going to be back Saturday at 1:00 p.m. on Water Street. Lots of good arts and crafts vendors on the courthouse lawn – the Humane Society’s Family Fun day is going to be back at the Monterey Fire Department and that’s going to have the usual stuff; the face painting, bouncy house, adoptable animals, and they’re also doing a rabies and microchip clinic for part of that time.

“And then finally, for about four years now we’ve been doing, it’s a farm tour but we kind of call it the Harvest Trail. That is expanding a bit and some wonderful stops are on that, so Laurel Forks Sap Suckers is going to have going to have some special fall soups and homemade ice cream and pie. On Saturday Fairlawn Farm is doing their usual cider pressing and making apple butter. Southernmost Maple is going to do their buffet and donuts and have a little trout fishing pond for the kids.  Sugartree, a wonderful country store in McDowell –  jams, pottery, cookbooks, handmade rugs. So, there’s going to be a lot on offer that people are familiar with.

“One of the other exciting things that we have is we actually have a new maple producer who’s in the process of putting in a major state of the art maple production system. They’re called Mill Gap Farm. It’s kind of a rare opportunity to get a look at one of these production setups as they’re being built. A lot of the people in the county are experts and have been doing it for a long time. And this is someone coming in and setting things up, so it’s a neat opportunity to stop in and get a look at that process.”

Maps of the Harvest Trail will be available at the Visitors Center in the Highland Center and other locations around the county.

And it just wouldn’t be a proper festival without special food offerings.

“Actually one of the new things this year is that we have worked with our local restaurants to put together a special fall menu for the festival weekend. So if you go to The Inn, Hull’s, High’s, Curly Maple, they’re all going to have a special fall offering to coincide with Hands and Harvest. So I’d encourage people to do that.

“In addition to the familiar stuff I mentioned, there is going to be some new features. One of them is the Crush and Munch event on Friday the 12th. And that name is related to the Virginia Tourism Corporation’s broader Crush Friday campaign, which is about trying to get people to take an extra day on Friday and go out and have a vacation; a three-day weekend somewhere in the state that they’ve not been. And that’s going to start at the Farmer’s Market and it’s going to be a little, local foods walking trail. And you’ll get to go and visit various spots in Monterey that highlight our local foods and some of our farm goods and the like. And as you go around you’ll pick up some little trivia pieces that is kind of like a scavenger hunt and at the end you’ll be eligible to win a $150.00 gift basket.

The fire tower is going to be open to climb again this year –

Twice as Nice, which is the thrift store that benefits Highland Medical Center, is doing expanded hours so people can get in there to shop. And then last but not least, there is a free Sunday concert at the Highland Center. Rob and Linda Williams are going to be there. It’s going to be music in memory of Elizabeth Price McCoy and Mary Hilley McCoy. And it’s sponsored by a lot of local folks and the Arts Council, the Virginia Council for the Arts, and the Charles Pinkney Jones Charitable Trust. So, they’re putting that on and paying for everything so it’ll be free. And they’ll be accepting donations for the Arts Council. But that ought to be a wonderful event for that Sunday.

For more information you can just go to HighlandCounty.org or you can give us a call at the office, 540-468-2550.

Story By

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Scott Smith

Scott is the News Director for Allegheny Mountain Radio and Station Coordinator and News Reporter for WVLS. Scott’s family has deep roots in Highland County. While he did not grow up here, he spent as much time as possible on the family farm, and eventually moved to Highland to continue the tradition, which he still pursues with his cousin. Unfortunately, farming doesn’t pay all the bills, so he has taken other jobs to support his farming hobby, including pressman/writer for The Recorder, and Ag Projects Coordinator for The Highland Center. He lives in Hightown with wife Michelle and son Ethan, and also is a member of the boards of the Highland-Bath Farm Bureau , Highland Chamber of Commerce and Highland Sheep and Wool Association. In his spare time, he wishes he had more spare time, especially to ride his prized Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

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