The sleepy Blue Ridge village of Bluemont in western-most Loudoun County, Virginia, is bustling with activity as it prepares for the 48th ANNUAL BLUEMONT FAIR, September 16 & 17, 2016 from 10AM to 5PM both days, rain or shine. Admission is $7/adults, 9 and under free, with free parking available. One-way traffic and crosswalks will be enforced in the village to ensure pedestrian safety. As always, the beautifully renovated Schoolhouse, grounds, and the entire village, will be alive with music, crafts, activities, and food.
Bluemont’s distinctive logo reflects this year’s theme: “Haying”. The winner of the poster design contest is Loudoun’s own Margaret Holliday of Lovettsville, VA. Her striking watercolor design of a mowed field covered with rolled hay bales behind a wood and barbed wire fence below a blue Virginia sky, graces the Bluemont Fair’s distinctive poster and T-shirt. Additionally, a drawing of a charming red farm truck hauling old fashioned hay bales by another Loudouner, Anni Bryner, has been selected for the 2017 Bluemont Fair mugs and other memorabilia.
Always mindful of the natural beauty of the area and the need to provide good stewardship, Bluemont continues a “Green” approach to the Fair. Whenever possible recycled materials are used and easily identifiable receptacles encourage recycling of bottles and cans. Re-usable shopping bags with an abbreviated rendering of the popular Birds of Bluemont logo will be available for sale at a nominal price at various sites throughout the fair to encourage fairgoers to reduce use of plastic bags.
The 26th Annual Pickle-Making/Pie-Baking Contest will take place on Saturday, September 17 at the Old Schoolhouse (a change in location as E.E.Lake Store undergoes renovation and restoration). Entries, labeled with the creator’s name and “contestant’s” title out of sight, should be delivered to the Community Center by 11AM. Judging will take place at noon with 1st, 2nd and 3rd place awards for two categories of pie (fruit/other) and pickles (cucumber/other). First place winners in each category will receive a commemorative pickle or pie plate. All winners will receiv ribbons and bragging rights. Afterwards slices of the pie “contestants” will be available for purchase at a nominal fee. Fairgoers can also go elsewhere in Community Center for some delicious fresh baked goods and old-fashioned canned delights, along with Bluemont memorabilia
Both days of the fair feature food, crafts, music and lots of activities for all ages throughout the historic village. On the Old Schoolhouse (now a thriving Community Center) grounds will be scores of Juried Crafters displaying their wares. The wide array of crafts and original art available for purchase include photography, baskets, spinning and weaving, birdhouses, wood carving, ceramics and pottery, jewelry, dolls, fiber arts, soaps and lotions, and much more. Many crafters offer demonstrations, including pottery, wood carving, basket weaving, wood turning, and quilting. This year marks the 17th year since the Fair initiated the Blue Ribbon Award program among Juried Crafters which, in addition to the very large blue ribbon, includes free space at the next fair. The 2016 winner, paper maker, Joe Cunningham, will be present this year to demonstrate and sell his handmade paper and original etchings. Be sure to also visit the Art Show and Sale, and Children’s Art Exhibit in the Community Center.
Wine Tasting and Beer Garden was such a success last year we’re doing it again!! Enjoy your favorite libation in a relaxed setting with music (bluegrass, blues and brews, oh my!), gourmet treats, and stunning views of the Blue Ridge. Entrance to the Wine and Beer Garden is free with admission to the fair, however you must be 21 to purchase alcoholic beverages. Souvenir beer and wine glasses will be sold for $5, with $1 for tastings and $5 for filled glasses. Five wineries will be represented, along with beer from Bluemont’s own Dirt Farm Brewery. This is a great venue in which to relax mid-day or before heading home—by means of a designated driver, of course! You will also be able to purchase sealed products for home consumption.
The Bluemont Fair’s 2017 Music lineup features a veritable smorgasbord of pickers and grinners, songstresses and rockers, and dancers–guaranteed to provide family fun entertainment for all. Many of the Bluemont Fair’s performers call Loudoun County home. Featured performers throughout the fair include Celtic Rhythm School of Dance, Rocknoceros, Square Dance featuring Jake and the Burtones, Mink’s Miracle Medicine, Space Canoe, McCoy & Addison, Bob Keel, Justin Trawick and the Common Good, Annie Stokes, The Golden Ukes, The I-IV-Vs, Celtic Union, Tucker Riggleman, Gary Smallwood, Sally Mae Foster, The Stringsmiths, Oaktones Youth Band, Kris Consaul, the Blue Ridge Thunder Cloggers, and The Immortals! On Sunday at 2pm the audience is invited to participate in a Square Dance at the Community Center stage courtesy of Jake and the Burtones. No experience necessary, just show up and the Caller will direct you through the fun and simple dance steps.
Plentiful Food Vendors provide a variety of foods and treats, from down-home to international, throughout the village. Enjoy traditional fair favorites along with French Crepes prepared by Petite LouLou, Peruvian Chicken from Los Wingeez and local lamb sausages by the Loudoun Valley Sheep Producers. The Bluemont Fair also features foods harvested fresh from local farms, including honey and maple syrup, and a Farmers Market.
Antiques and other collectible treasures will be offered by a variety of vendors at the Antique Flea Market. Be sure to visit the alpacas, llamas, and sheep in the Fiber Field, and take home articles made from their prized wool. Members of the local weavers guild will demonstrate their craft and provide hands-on opportunities. Ever-popular Organ Grinder, Terry Bender and his mechanical friends, will perform musical selections on his large German street organ. Local bee-keepers will once again bring their working honeybee colony-a fair favorite-with many varieties of honey and bee-related items for sale.
The Gardener’s Shed offers native and pollinator-friendly plants, cut and dried flowers, natural products made from plants, and other garden-related objects and art. Be sure to tour the genuine red Caboose ensconced on actual tracks next to the Gardener’s Shed. Once again the renovated Mill at the end of Railroad St., near the site of the long-gone Bluemont Train Station, will be open and offer an exhibit of railroad memorabilia. Also in attendance will be Rosemary, of Hair Cuts by Rosemary, to provide new coiffures to fairgoers.
In Stone’s Field 18th century reenactors from Camp Flintlock will provide visitors with opportunities to explore aspects of colonial life with hands- one activities. Eric Zieg, Master Blacksmith at George Washington’s Mt. Vernon, will have a forge set up and demonstrate this ancient craft. The popular Indian Village presented at last years fair returns to Stone’s Field as a slightly smaller event and is free with Fair admission. It will feature storytelling, cultural education, Flint Napping, and features The North American Bushcraft School. This is a preview event to “The Gathering” www.HarvestGathering.org, both sponsored by Sanctuary on the Trail.
For history lovers, Snickersville Academy, a restored log cabin built in 1825 which was the first schoolhouse and house of worship in the village, will once again be open for free tours Noon-4pm both days. The Hatcher family generously gave it to Friends of Bluemont in 2010 and the group has completely restored it and landscaped the grounds. In the main part of the village there are blue banners identifying some of the old buildings. A self-guided walking tour utilizing Palm Cards showing major points of historical interest will be available at the Bluemont General Store, the Post Office, and at the waiting station for rides into Boulder Crest Retreat (between Epling’s and the Old Dance Hall). Fairgoers can use their smart phone to scan QR code at bottom of card for more details on these historic buildings.
Once again Boulder Crest Retreat for Military and Veteran Wellness is opening up their grounds to wagon rides both days provided without additional cost to fair-goers! Rides begin between Epling’s and the Old Dance Hall and will afford an opportunity for visitors to disembark near Snickersville Academy, tour one of the Retreat’s cabins, or simply return to the beginning point. For those who enjoy a light tipple and/or quality antiques, stop by Wild Hare Cidery and Iron Gate Antiques on your way to the wagon rides.
The Bluemont General Store at the northern end of the village is a 150+ year old country store established prior to the Civil War and in operation almost continually thereafter, will offer the modern convenience of an ATM machine, in addition to food (including hormone-free milk in glass bottles, fresh eggs from the store-owned farm, local grass-fed organic beef, ice-cream, and sandwiches), souvenirs, and more music.
One of the most charming aspects of the weekend is the extraordinary Children’s Fair, Bluemont’s gift to its youngest visitors. Located behind the Community Center, face painting, clowns, farm animals and lots of hands-on activities for kids of all ages will be offered, most free of charge. Last years popular Scavenger Hunt is being repeated with some new features that will challenge the kids to find people and places in other areas of the Fair. There will even be prizes awarded!For a small additional fee, pony rides are available nearby as well as the popular climbing wall.
The 150+ year old Old Stone Church , which served as a hospital during the Civil War and is located across from the Old Schoolhouse, will house three popular events. On the front lawn members of the Bluemont Methodist church will offer a shady area in which to rest, relax, and enjoy light refreshments. In the Sanctuary, an extensive Quilt Exhibit, provided by the Waterford Quilters Guild, features antique quilts made in the 1880’s to new quilts made this year. Come see the contrast and harmony between the two in the beautiful church setting of wooden pews and stained glass windows. Member of the Waterford Quilters Guild will be demonstrating quilting and host a children’s activity both days of the Fair. Meanwhile, downstairs in the church basement the traditional Slide Shows of Bluemont’s past: “When the Trains Came to Bluemont” and “Bluemont: 1864” will be presented at 12:30, 1, and 1:30pm both days. The first show describes Bluemont’s heyday during the early 1900s when it was the last stop on the W&OD Railroad, now known mostly as the name of the bike trail which sits on its track bed. The second show describes an actual Civil War skirmish that occurred right in the center of the village!
The Bluemont Fair is sponsored by the Bluemont Citizens Association. Proceeds go toward paying for the village’s street lights, providing scholarships for local students, improvements to the village’s historic buildings such as the E.E. Lake Store and the Snickersville Academy, and community beautification. In addition, the BCA donates to local service organizations and provides display opportunities at the fair for local non- profit organizations, including The Friends of Bluemont, Friends of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Boulder Crest Retreat for Wounded Warriors, and the Snickersville Turnpike Association.
Absolutely No Pets (except service animals) admitted. Bluemont is located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge on Snickersville Turnpike (Rt. 734) about one hour west of the District of Columbia, 17 miles west of Leesburg and east of Winchester via Route 7. For more information, call: 540-554-2376 (voice mail), write: Bluemont Fair, P.O.Box 217, Bluemont, VA 20135, or visit www.bluemontfair.org