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Alleghany Highlands Heritage Day Festival Goes Virtual for 2020

Clifton Forge, VA (Sept. 12, 2020) - Mott Atherholt, chairperson of the Alleghany Highlands Heritage Day Festival announced that the 10th anniversary of Heritage Day will be virtual this year.

"As the Covid-19 Pandemic has continued unabated month after month, our 10th Annual Alleghany Highlands Heritage Day Planning Committee felt we simply could not host an in-person Festival September 12th and 19th as originally planned. The health of everyone and our community was much more important to us, and since the Festival draws over 2500 visitors every year, we decided to make other plans. We all felt frustrated about cancelling one exciting event after another so in an effort to make "lemonade from lemons" we borrowed an idea that other communities across our country are trying this year, and have created the first VIRTUAL Alleghany Highlands Heritage Day Festival. To our knowledge we have the distinction of being the first virtual festival in the Highlands."

The virtual Alleghany Highlands Heritage Day can be found on YouTube by googling Alleghany Highlands Heritage Day -20. A link www.youtube.com/watch?v=RnALY5ezU44&feature=youtu.be is included here and also may be found on Clifton Forge Main Street and Alleghany Highlands Heritage Day Facebook pages. Chuck Almarez, local photographer, filmed presentations, edited content and was responsible for splicing filmed presentations and slide-show photography together into one 45-minute cohesive video.

The video includes several presentations. The first is a presentation by local educator and natural historian, Michael Hayslett. The section includes an overview of early settlers to the Alleghany Highlands and draws upon artifact collections of Mr. Hayslett and Pete Davis, a primitive skills technologist from Rockbridge County. The display of artifacts covers the materials used and where they were found and how tools were made. Music for the presentation was supplied by Old-Time, Appalachian musician Corbin Hayslett. The first video was filmed in The Historic Masonic Theatre.

The second presentation was filmed in the 1940’s kitchen of the Alleghany Highlands Arts & Crafts Center. Volunteer Betsy Carter explains food preparation and consumption using the Victory Gardens of the WWII era. She covers the types of food grown in the gardens, how the food was prepared and preserved and what types of food was sent to the troops overseas.

The third segment of the virtual Alleghany Heritage Days is a slide-show set to music and prepared by Doug Houtz, Heritage Day photographer. The sideshow is a compilation of images from past Heritage Days; the displays, demonstrations, food, music and animals that appeared at venues such as Alleghany Highlands Arts & Crafts Center, The Historic Masonic Theatre, the Masonic Amphitheatre, Clifton Forge School of the Arts, Clifton Forge Public Library and Town Hall and C&O Railway Heritage Center.

The final presentation of the Heritage Day video is a glimpse of things to come. The presentation features Mike Wade, member of Alleghany Historical Society and is a preview of the Alleghany Highlands Industrial Heritage and Technology Discovery Center in Covington which will open in a few months. The presentation highlights the industrial past, the abundance of natural resources in the area which helped revolutionize manufacturing processes in the region. Local industries such as iron mining, rayon manufacturing and textiles, and paper-making are highlighted.

As with every Alleghany Highlands Heritage Day, the virtual video shows the amazing people and products that inhabit the Highlands—from the past to the present. Local businesswoman, Martha Atherholt narrates the video. The virtual Alleghany Highlands Heritage Day video is one that should be viewed by local residents and can be shared with everyone connected with the Alleghany Highlands.

Sponsors for the virtual 10th annual Alleghany Highlands Heritage Day are: Alleghany Highlands Chamber of Commerce and Tourism, Alleghany County Board of Supervisors, Clifton Forge Woman’s Club, INGEVITY and Northwest Ace Hardware, Clifton Forge.


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