Four May festivals liven up spring in the Eastern Panhandle

Bonnie Williamson

The North Mountain Arts Festival brings together all manner of artists on June 4–5.

Festivals celebrating history, wine, music, and art await spring travelers to Martinsburg, W.Va., about 90 minutes from the Washington, D.C., and Baltimore areas.

Martinsburg’s annual Heritage Day celebrations have been expanded to cover two Fridays and two weekends in May instead of one. It’s now the Martinsburg Heritage Festival, May 6–8 and 13–15.

A black powder rifleman is among the personalities reflecting Martinsburg’s frontier heritage.
A black powder rifleman is among the personalities reflecting Martinsburg’s frontier heritage.

“So many people here are involved with different historic activities that it was decided to have two weekends so they could participate and not miss anything,” said Keith Hammersla, chairman of the festival.

Hammersla said this is the 155th anniversary of Confederate Gen. Stonewall Jackson’s raid on the B&O Railroad Roundhouse. Activities at the roundhouse will take place 10:00am–4:00pm on May 7–8 and include historical displays, reenactor encampments and skirmishes, a working blacksmith shop, and lectures. Tours of the Roundhouse Complex also will be offered. The cost is $10 per adult with a child 12 years old and younger and $5 for each additional child.

The Haunted History and Legends ghost tour takes visitors to area cemeteries and other historical sites and will be available at 6:30pm May 6–7 and 13–14. Cost of the tour is $12.

On May 14 and 15, visitors can explore the town’s history and enjoy exhibits, tours, demonstrations, vendors, food, and entertainment. Martinsburg has 23 historical districts.

Meet Confederate spy Belle Boyd during the Martinsburg Heritage Festival.
Meet Confederate spy Belle Boyd during the Martinsburg Heritage Festival.

On May 14, 10:00am–5:00pm, there will be free tours of historic sites, including the Adam Stephen House, Triple Brick Museum and tunnels, Aspen Hall, and the Belle Boyd House.

Also on May 14, the For the Kids, By George Children’s Museum will feature Irish games, dances, and claddagh making in honor of the Irish settlers who came to work on the railroad. The museum is open from 10:00am–5:00pm. Admission is $6 per person.

Wine and arts for Memorial Day

The 20th annual West Virginia Wine and Arts Festival, May 28–29, is both a lively and mellow way to spend the Memorial Day weekend. It runs on Saturday from 11:00am–7:00pm and Sunday from 1:00–6:00pm.

“Where else — for only $20 — can you drink wine, enjoy art, and listen to music all day long,” said Mary Lewis, director of the Martinsburg Arts Centre, which sponsors the event. “The festival is held on 13 acres of green space right in the ‘city.’ It’s magic. It’s like an oasis.”

As many as 20 artists will have a wide variety of work on display from jewelry, pottery, and glass items to photography. Local bands will be on hand, providing all kinds of music. At least 10 wineries will be pouring samples.

North Mountain Arts Festival

If you’d like to be the owner of a gourd guitar that’s not only an instrument but a work of art, head to the North Mountain Arts Festival at the Orr’s Farm Market.

The North Mountain Arts Festival brings together all manner of artists on June 4–5.
The North Mountain Arts Festival brings together all manner of artists on June 4–5.

The event, Arts in the Orchard, is June 4, 9:00am–5:00pm, and June 5, 10:00am–4:00pm. Forty local and regional artists will display their work. Raffle tickets can be purchased at Orr’s for the gourd guitar.

Ed Cimaglio, of Back Creek Valley Gourds in Hedgesville, is one of the artisans responsible for the gourd guitar.

“This is a juried arts and crafts festival with artisans throughout our area,” Cimaglio said. “It’s an upbeat and popular celebration of art and artistry. Orr’s is the perfect host and rural setting for this festival.”

This free outdoor event is set among the vineyard and apple and peach trees. Patrons can browse top-quality works of potters, painters, jewelers, sculptors, glass artists, as well as gourd art, wood carving, and fiber art. There will also be musicians, food vendors, creative demonstrations, and fresh vegetables and produce from the nearby orchards. Fresh baked items are also available in the market.

For more information:

Martinsburg Tourism: travelwv.com

 

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