Highland County’s Hands and Harvest Festival In-Person Events – Part 2


This is Chris Swecker, Executive Director, of the Highland County Chamber of Commerce.  This is part two of our story on the 2020 Hands and Harvest Festival.

Several of our maple syrup sugar camps will be open to the public over the weekend, starting Friday October 9th through Sunday October 11th and again online.  Including Back Creek Farm, they’re open Friday and Saturday, they’ll have some arts and crafts vendors and be making apple butter in the morning on Saturday and squeezing apple cider.  Laurel Fork Sapsuckers will be open Saturday and they’ll have their syrup and apple butter.  Mill Gap Farms will be open over the weekend, they raise alpacas, sheep and chickens and they’re Virginia’s first and only organic maple syrup producer.  Southernmost Maple they’ll be open Friday and Saturday and they’ll have all types of events going on including hot fresh maple donuts and you can fish in their free trout pond for kids.  Sugar Tree Country Store, they make maple syrup.  They’ll be open Friday and Saturday and be making apple butter and pressing cider on Saturday.  And Tonoloway Farm, the first and only commercial producer of black walnut syrup, they will be open Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  And you can even take some hikes on their property over in the McDowell area.

So for arts and crafts, there will not be arts and crafts vendors on the courthouse lawn this year, but there will be some again dispersed throughout the county.  The Church at the Old Oak, that’s in the Meadowdale area, and over the weekend they’ll have some arts and crafts vendors including Route 640 Treasures which has a collection of vintage, antique and unique items.  Blackthorn Estates Nursery will be available at Back Creek Farms Friday and Saturday and they have lavender products and evergreen wreaths.   Handmade in Highland that will be going on at the Monterey Presbyterian Church.  On Friday you can even pick up maple barbeque chicken halves there and on Friday and Saturday they will have different arts and crafts there.  The Highland Barn Quilt Studio will also be open in the Meadowdale area.   That’s with local artist Margie Boesch who has created many of Highland County’s barn quilts.  Sun and Spruce Soaps, they will be available on the online events to shop directly with, they are located in Roanoke and they make handmade soaps inspired by local hikes.

As far as some other organizations, Big Fish Cider they will be open Friday, Saturday and Sunday, of course, they’re an award winning small artisanal cidery.  And the Ginseng Mountain Store and Farm will be available Saturday and Sunday.  They’ve got grass fed and finished lamb and beef and sheepskins and local crafts, honey and syrup.

As far as lodging for the festival, or really any time of the year, you can check out the Farm House at Lucky Loop Hollow Farm, that’s in the Mill Gap area.

And again, we do want to let people know obviously for the safety of others, as you are traveling around please adhere to the current CDC and Virginia Department of Health guidelines regarding the coronavirus.

As far as getting the schedule of when the different participants are open you can go to www.Highlandcounty.org and click  on the Hands and Harvest Festival link and we’ll have the full schedule and details there for you to learn more.

This is Chris Swecker with the Highland County Chamber of Commerce for Allegheny Mountain Radio.

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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