CLIFTON FORGE — A staple of autumn in the Alleghany Highlands is returning this weekend to celebrate its 50th year.
The Clifton Forge Shrine Club’s Fall Foliage Festival will be held Friday, Saturday and Sunday after being canceled in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
For decades, people flocked to downtown Clifton Forge on mid-October weekends to enjoy vendors, live entertainment, fun, fellowship and the “Shriner Diner” doughnuts.
All proceeds from the festival benefit children receiving treatment at Shriner’s Children’s Hospitals.
The Clifton Forge Shrine Club was formed in the spring of 1966. Four members of the community Jim Hogg, Jimmie Sanders, Wyatt Mays and David Patterson, met at the Clifton Forge Masonic Hall to talk about forming a club. An invitation was sent to members of the Divan of the Kazim Shriners of Roanoke to meet at the Old Forge restaurant in Iron Gate. The Potentate, Bowman Harris gave the men permission to form the Clifton Forge Shrine Club.
The club’s mission is “to combine friendship, family and fraternity with social activities and to provide support, both monetarily and by volunteer service to the ‘Worlds Greatest Philanthropy,’ the Shriners Hospitals for Children.
At the Fall Festival, many types of crafts can be purchased such as handmade jewelry, wooden toys, quilts, Christmas ornaments, wood carvings, and leather goods. Typical tables at the flea market will contain a variety of antiques and collectibles: glassware, furniture, books, silverware, pottery, china, and other items to numerous to mention. The flea market, which lines the main streets of the town is one of the biggest drawing cards of the festival.
Local civic groups and organizations have a myriad of refreshments made on the premises, including fresh doughnuts, country ham sandwiches, roast beef sandwiches, home-baked goods, hamburgers and hot-dogs.
Musical performances can be heard almost nonstop from such diverse types as gospel, country, bluegrass, rock bands and local high schools.
The Alleghany Highlands Arts and Crafts Center will hold the Annual Fall Festival Art Show in the Gallery at Alleghany Highlands Arts and Crafts Center will house the 50th Annual Fall Festival Art show from noon Friday through Nov. 19