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The Celtic Martins

Alleghany Highlands Heritage Day, C&O Railway Festival & Train Show Set June 6
Saturday, June 6 marks a day of honoring the heritage of the Alleghany Highlands

On Saturday, June from 11:00am to 5:00pm, a special event will take place in the Alleghany Highlands, known as Alleghany Highlands Heritage Day, C&O Railway Festival & Train Show. Heritage Day, in its fourth year, celebrates the diverse cultures that settled the region, and features music, food, demonstrations, games and experiential activities that represent Irish, Scottish, English, German, Native American, Black American, and Alleghany Highlands Mountain heritage. Partnering with C&O Railway Festival & Train Show, Alleghany Highlands Heritage Day will begin with a lively kick-off by the Pennsylvania-based Celtic Martins on Friday, June 5 at 7:00 PM at the Masonic Amphitheatre. The Celtic Martins bring new energy to the Celtic Music and Dance scene, featuring Irish and American fiddle tunes, along with numerous Irish step dance routines. The band consists of the award winning, fiddling Martin sisters, Emily, Melissa, and Christy, along with their dad, Nelson, and brother, Brian, on guitars; mom, Elaine, on bass; and drummer Elijah Roeder. Tickets are $10 adult; $8 seniors/military, $5 students.

The celebration continues on Saturday, June 6 from 10:00am to 5:00pm with over 100 artisan demonstrations, displays and presentations, train vendors and layouts, continuous music throughout the day, games and experiential activities, and a wide variety of food vendors including Irish, Scottish, English, Native American, Soul Food, German food complete with a German Beer and Virginia Cider Garden, and baked goods from CC Sweet Treats.

In addition to partnering with C&O Railway Heritage and Train Day, the day’s events have expanded so that the Masonic Amphitheatre, sections of Church Street, Clifton Forge Public Library, Clifton Forge School of the Arts and Mill, Alleghany Highlands Arts & Crafts Center, and C&O Heritage Center, will “house” demonstrations, displays, presentations, games, live animals and musical presentations. Last year’s popular Quilt Bed Turning is scheduled at 11:30, 1:00, 2:30 and 4:00 at the AH Arts and Crafts Center, 439 East Ridgeway, in addition to an extensive Needleart Exhibit. Quilts and needleart will also be displayed at the Clifton Forge Public Library and hand and machine quilting will be demonstrated along with weaving and spinning with Alpaca yarn by Peaceful Hearts Alpaca from southern Virginia, a demonstration of doll-making and a display and demonstration of chess. Over 75 vintage to modern quilts will be displayed during Heritage Day.

The Train Show will open at The Mill on Church Street at 10:00. Heritage Day festivities will begin at 11:00 with a Ceremonial Bagpiper piping the Opening Ceremony announcement at 10:45 and Mayor Tom Sibold delivering opening remarks at 11:00 followed by Native American Dancers. At noon, Mary Smith and Gregg Kimball will entertain with Anglo-Irish Tunes & Ballads, followed at 1:00 by Shenandoah Pipes & Drums. At 1:30 Leah Trent on Celtic Harp will perform on the Amphitheatre Grounds, followed at 2:00 by Scottish duo, Cranruach. Rick Garren will entertain on the Spoons at 2:45, followed by Gospel music. Jam Session Band will round out the entertainment at 4:00 with bluegrass. Brandon Caldwell will serve as Master of Ceremonies. Times are approximate and subject to change. All attendees will receive an event schedule when passing through the Entrance points on Church Street and Jefferson, Church Street and Commercial, the Smith Creek Bridge entrance and C&O Heritage Center. Admission is free of charge.

Civil War enthusiast, John Strott will present a program highlighting the Civil War Trails in the region at the Library at 1:00 in addition to guiding two interactive tours that will visit the locations at 10:00 and 5:00. If interested in the guided Civil War Trails Tour, please email HYPERLINK "mailto:masonictheatre@yahoo.com" masonictheatre@yahoo.com to register for the Tour. Participants will board the van at 9:45 and 4:45 in the CF Library parking lot on Jefferson. Alleghany Highlands Chamber of Commerce and Tourism executive director, Teresa Hammond commented, “The Alleghany Highlands Chamber of Commerce and Tourism is pleased to serve as one of the sponsors for Alleghany Highlands Heritage Day again this year.  This event is a great opportunity for the community, especially our children, to celebrate our history and to learn more about our heritage”. 

Mary Smith and Gregg Kimball, music historians from the Richmond area, will present “Legends of the C&O - Music and Stories of the Railroad Men” at the Library at 2:00.

In addition, demonstrations and displays of hand crafts that were, and still are popular will be shown at the Masonic Amphitheatre, CF Public Library, CF School of the Arts and AH Arts and Crafts Center at specific times from 11:00am to 5:00pm. The schedule of events may be found on the Alleghany Highlands Heritage Day 2015 page on www.historicmasonictheatre.com. Featured demonstrations include blacksmithing, Native American flute-making, felting, pottery, spinning and weaving, stained glass and fused glass, knitting, quilting, decorative painting, doll making and basket making, puppetry, wood carving, apple-butter making, and soap-making. Workshops for all ages will be presented by Alleghany Highlands Arts & Crafts Center and Clifton Forge School of the Arts.

Games for all include, quoits, horseshoes, corn hole in addition to displays and experiential activities pioneering, flint and steel fire building by Boy Scout Troop 2, log cabin painting for children, and Lincoln logs.

The heritage animals were a huge attraction at last year’s Heritage Day. This year’s Heritage Day will host chickens, goats, piglets, rabbits, sheep and calves. In addition to Boy Scouts Troop 2, 4H members, the Boys Home, and many community volunteers will also be helping with Heritage Day.

The C&O Train Show at the CF School of the Arts’ Mill will feature an interactive model layout with a Thomas Cab and train racing, an exhibit “Circus Trains from the Past to the Present” by "circus man" Russell Youens. At the C&O Railway Heritage Museum, attendees will enjoy reproductions of an 1891 C&O passenger station and a 1920s signal tower, tours of the C&O's famous steam locomotive No.614, the restored C&O GP7 diesel locomotive No. 5828, the Gadsby's Tavern dining car, three cabooses, and various rolling stock.

Covington Mayor Tom Sibold issued the following invitation, “On behalf of the entire community, I would like to invite everyone to participate in the 2015 Alleghany Highlands Heritage Day. There’s something of interest to everyone and our children and grandchildren will learn much about the history of their community. We look forward to seeing you on June 6 to celebrate our heritage.”

Heritage Day is sponsored by the Town of Clifton Forge and the Virginia Commission for the Arts, Alleghany County and Alleghany Highlands Chamber of Commerce and Tourism.

For more information on the Historic Masonic Theatre and Masonic Amphitheatre, and to view the Heritage Day Schedule of Events, visit www.historicmasonictheatre.com

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