Highland County Chamber of Commerce Director Prepares for Maple Festival


Dorothy Stephenson, executive director for the Highland County Chamber of Commerce, is preparing for her baptism under fire as she readies for oversight of the Highland County Maple Festival the second and third weekends in March.

“I’m not going to lie – being in charge of the biggest event in the county is definitely a little stressful – I would be surprised if it wouldn’t be.”

Ms. Stephenson described what visitors can expect.

“It is the 57th year of the Maple Festival. We’ve got maple syrup, maple doughnuts, maple candy – anything maple you can think of. We’ve got love entertainment – on both Saturdays, from 12 – 2, Southern Rail Express is playing at The Highland Center. On the first Saturday, we’ve also got the High Horse Cloggers, from Standardsville, Virginia, and the Highland Ballet Academy is doing a program as well, and they’re new this year. The second Saturday, we’ve got Southern Rail Express from 12 – 2, and The Little Switzerland Cloggers start at 2:15, and they’re followed by The Mountain Heritage Cloggers, out of Waynesboro, Virginia.”

“We’ve got over 100 craft vendors, our Allegheny Mountain Trout, the Virginia Trout Company is open. Our pancake dinners are in Monterey, McDowell, Blue Grass, Bolar – and then, of course, the different sugar camps and things are opened up as well, and those are all free to the public.”

“This is probably the most inexpensive entertainment and festival you could think of – it’s only $3.00. You buy one of our Maple Festival key chains that are available at some of our local stores, and it gets you in to the high school gym, the elementary school gym, The Highland Center, where the entertainment’s at – any venue you want to go to for crafts and entertainment that is put on by the Chamber of Commerce, this little keychain gets you into.”

Attendees can also take home a new souvenir of their visit this year.

“We have a t-shirt this year – this is the first year we’ve had the Highland County Festival t-shirts. They are really neat – I’m definitely going to have one on. In addition to having the Highland County Maple Festival logo on the front, which was designed by King’s Signs and Graphics, it will also have the Sweet Spot logo on it – the new logo for Highland County.”

Ms. Stephenson noted where more information on the festival could be found.

“First, you can visit our website at www.highlandcounty.org. Secondly, you can call me – the phone number here at the office is 540-468-2550. And, of course, there’s e-mail, and our new e-mail address is findyourescape@highlandcounty.org.”

She also had some advice for visitors.

“Be patient – have a good time – take it all in while you’re sitting in traffic. When you feel like you might want to pull your hair out, just take a deep breath and look around and enjoy the scenery. Stop and smell the roses, don’t be too quick to go from place to place – that’s when you miss the beauty of everything around you.”

Story By

Scott Smith

Scott Smith is the General Manager 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 previously 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. In his spare time, he wishes he had more spare time, especially to ride his prized Harley-Davidson motorcycle. scott@amrmail.org

Current Weather