Festival of Leaves highlights local offerings Saturday

The Warren Sentinel

FRONT ROYAL — The town's oldest festival, The Festival of Leaves, is returning to town for its 46th year. Chester and Main Streets will be lined with around 120 vendors Saturday from 8 a.m. through 6 p.m.

Average attendance is about 25,000, according to Event Coordinator Susan Jeffry. There is no entry fee, and proceeds from vendors and donations fund Warren Heritage Society's costs such as employee salary and building expenses.

Through renting vendor lots, this year's festival has raised about $15,000 so far, Jeffry said.

Vendors will be selling everything from food to crafts to jewelry. The festival is a good way to get to know the community, Warren Heritage Society Executive Director Patrick Farris said. Along with crafters and food vendors, a myriad of local businesses and organizations will set up informational booths.

"Every so many booths, you're going to come across an information booth from an organization that maybe you've heard about, but you didn't know what they do," Farris said.

The festivalís parade begins at 10 a.m., and starts at the intersection of Stonewall Drive and Luray Avenue. It will then go north on Royal Avenue, east on 2nd Street and finish at the intersection of 2nd and Chester streets.

The Warren Heritage Societyís Ivy Lodge Museum and Gift Shop, Stokes Country Store Museum and Warren Rifles Confederate Memorial Museum will be open. There will be no charge to enter the museums, and volunteers will be present to answer questions.

"A lot of people, myself included, we don't go to the cultural amenities, the museums, in our home communities — you're just busy. We just want people to be aware what's here," Farris said.

Historic demonstrations and living historic interpretations will be held all day at the Warren Heritage Society at 101 Chester St. Tours will be available of the historic homes Belle Boyd Cottage and Balthis house.

A car show is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the Chester Street Side of E. Wilson Morrison Elementary School in the teacherís parking lot.

A variety of music will be performed at gazebo throughout and there will be plenty of activity for kids in the Childrenís Corner near the gazebo.

"It's a family filled fun day, education and it's an inexpensive way to spend the day," Jeffry said.

Although the festival is just Saturday, the 2nd Annual Shenandoah Leaf Peeper Marathons will feature three races on Sunday. The start line is at Skyline High School. Entry into the half marathon is $90, the half-marathon relay is $75, the 10K is $75 and the 5K is $40.

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