Hands & Harvest Festival in Highland County is October 7 – 9 : Part 2


Welcome to Part 2 of our story on the Hands and Harvest Festival.   I’m Chris Swecker, Executive Director of the Highland County Chamber of Commerce.

We’ll have all types of free entertainment at the festival.  You can kick off your weekend on Friday afternoon with bluegrass music at the Courthouse lawn in Monterey with “Eyes on Him” or you can enjoy the acoustic duo of Mike Eye and Cory Thomas at Big Fish Cider.  Back by popular demand, The Original Rhondels are the main attraction on Saturday night at The Highland Center in Monterey.  They delight audiences with outstanding vocals, they have powerful brass and exciting showmanship.  They were here in 2019, it was a standing room only crowd.  It’s a really fun show and I definitely encourage you to check that out at 7pm on Saturday night.

And then on Sunday afternoon from 1 to 3pm in Monterey, on Spruce Street, we’re going to have an old-fashioned Street Dance.  That will be with the Little Switzerland Cloggers performing.  They’re one of Virginia’s oldest clogging groups, right here in Highland County, as well as local square dance callers, Ellen and Eugene Ratcliffe.

Of course, we’ll have an arts and crafts vendor market Friday through Sunday on the Highland County Courthouse lawn as well.  That offers one of a kind items from a variety of vendors locally and beyond Highland County.

If you are a foodie, there’ll be tons of seasonal fall food items all around the county.  Our Farmers Market will be on the Courthouse Lawn on Friday and Puff’s BBQ will be on the Courthouse lawn on Friday and Saturday.  Of course, Big Fish Cider is close by the Courthouse lawn.   Our restaurants will have fall themed menus.  You’ll find delicious items like maple pork BBQ sandwiches, butternut squash soup, maple ice cream sundaes, local trout, the list goes on and on.

Of course, you can complete your shopping needs by visiting local stores including the old general stores that have been restored, that have been around for a hundred years or more, in places like McDowell, Blue Grass and Monterey.  You just never know what kind of treats you might find.

There will be a grand opening of the Doe Hill Mercantile.  That’s in Doe Hill, located just a bit north of McDowell, and they’ll have an heirloom seed and daffodil bulb swap, as well as antique ribbon, laces and trim.  So, it’s great to see that new venue open up in that part of the county.

Overall, there’s over thirty different attractions, from restaurants, sugar camps and farms, to go and explore.  So, we invite you to check all that out by going online to www.highlandcounty.org and you can see everything that’s going on, get a daily schedule there as well, so you know exactly where to go and plan your trip.  There will also be maps with those daily schedules available at different stores around Highland County and if you want a good starting place you can come to the Highland County Courthouse lawn in Monterey and we will have a booth there from the Chamber that will point you in the right direction and answer any questions you may have.

For Allegheny Mountain Radio, this is Chris Swecker.

Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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