Stephens City is revving up for Memorial Day with two days of activities kicking off Friday, May 27 and Saturday May 28th. The 30th Newtown Heritage Festival is centered around the historic Newtown Wagon. In the late eighteenth century and early nineteenth centuries, Stephensburg became prosperous as a crossroads village with small scale industries, featuring production of the renown Newtown Wagon.
This immense wagon, which in strength and durability of material and workmanlike finish, was not surpassed. The wagon rivaled their famous prototypes, the Conestoga wagons of Pennsylvania. Spacious enough to carry all that the six powerful horses could draw over the rough roads and strong enough to sustain the weight of four tons, the Newtown Wagon became legendary for its sturdiness among both Virginia farmers and settlers migrating to the far West, including the Gold Rush of 1849.
Blacksmiths, wheelwrights, tanneries, saddle and harness makers, silversmiths, timbermen, machine shops and other skill mixes were established to support the wagon making industry. The Newtown Wagon logo reflects the story of the ordinary people who lived, worked and prospered here and personifies the festivals spirit.
All events are free and open to the public.
The festivities begin Friday evening at 6:30 PM with the Newtown String Band at the Stage on the Commons. The bluegrass band, based in Lexington is self-described as Acoustic/ Bluegrass/Americana genre band. The Newtown Band is followed by a Main Street Family Night movie featuring “The Sandlot” at dusk (about 8:45 PM). The Sandlot is a genuinely sweet and funny coming-of-age adventure. This movie will capture your attention with its memories of what really matters when you are 12 years old. Bring lawn chairs or blankets and enjoy the music and movie.
The main events happen Saturday, with a full schedule of music, a car show, tours, museums, food, crafts and scintillating fireworks. A parade at 2 PM through town will include numerous floats, bands, antique cars, tractor-drawn wagons, firetrucks, military vehicles, dignitaries and local civic groups.
A Veterans Observance will take place on the Memorial – Old Stephens City School at 8 AM. The featured speaker is Mariah Smith, Town Council member and retired Army combat veteran.
A car show will occur at Old Stephens City School from 9 AM – 1 PM. Best of Show award.
The Commons will open at 10 AM with a festival information booth, commemorative sales, pie-eating contest registration, town history trolley tour tickets, craft tents and food vendors. The festival will once again be offering our traditional gray and blue Grandville Hollow pottery. The 2022 piece is a 7” barrel stein and the 30th anniversary special is a limited edition 8 ¼ “ tall pitcher.
Craft vendors will be hawking their wares from 10 AM to 5 PM. About 20 craft vendors will be on hand selling hand-made jewelry, artwork, homemade crafts, bags and wood crafts. Food vendors will be serving customers from 10 AM to 9 PM to include traditional festival menu items such as hamburgers, hot dogs, gyros, fried and teriyaki chicken, Italian sausage, kettle corn, pizza, ice cream and funnel cake. Food and craft vendors will be selling items from 10 AM to 9 PM.
Three local museums will be open from 10 AM – 4 PM in honor of the festival: Newtown History Center Transportation Museum – Old Stephens City School, Steele & Brothers Store – 5353 Main Street and Newtown History Center – 5408 Main Street.
People generally attend the festival to sample their favorite food, music, artisan tents and remain for the fireworks. However, for additional Stephens City history, folks may take an 11 AM or 4 PM trolley tour presented by Rick Kriebel, Stone House Foundation Manager of Collections and Programs. titled “Up along Mulberry.” The one-hour tour will depart from the Capon Valley Bank and identify pertinent buildings along Mulberry Street. Reserve your free ticket(s) by emailing NHE30th@gmail.com.
A Museum Hamlet will be located in the side yard of the Newtown History Center. The following organizations will be set up for displays; The Stewart Bell Archives, Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation, The French and Indian War Foundation and The Sons of the American Revolution.
There will be Famous Barbeque Chicken drive through and takeout from 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM at Stephens City Volunteer Fire and Rescue – 5346 Mulberry Street. It is a firehouse secret recipe.
The 2 PM north-south Main Street one-mile-long parade highlights the hometown festival. Families schedule reunions around the event each year, old friends are back in town and children are mesmerized by the experience. The casual ambiance emanating from the parade promotes a hometown feel. There is an excitement in the air come 2 PM when residents leave their homes, sit on the curb in lawn chairs, only a few feet away, and become interactive with the parade participants.
Everybody knows each other personally, and the intimate nature of the parade makes it easier to laugh and converse with one another among an enthusiastic crowd. The parade gradually evolves into an electrifying fun packed; family filled get-together. It is what makes small towns the heart and soul of America.
Festival Committee member Donna Steward provided a summary of parade entries. “The Frederick County Sheriff’s Department Honor Guard will carry the flags and the Stephens City Boy Scouts will lead with the Festival Banner. Other participants include Sons of the American Revolution, antique cars, including those from the car show on the south end of town, Mayor of Stephens City Mike Diaz and Festival President Tootie Rinker, Newtown Beauty Pageant winners, Shenandoah Valley Gas and Steam Club and VFW Post 2447 Rider’s Group from Edinburg. Italia Performing Arts, Gore’s Meats and several churches will have floats and there will be numerous walking groups,” Steward said.
Judging will be done by festival past president, Adrian O’Connor. “Plaques will be awarded for the following, Best Display of Heritage, Best in Originality and Best Overall Appearance,” Steward concluded.
A first-time, all day Selfie Tour around the Stephens City area will feature stand up and hand-held cutout boards which portray you as Mona Lisa, American Gothic, big apple with a worm, Nellie the Cow, a Conestoga wagon, ice cream cones and gourds. Receive a map of exact locations at the Information Booth or on our Facebook page.
A Pie-eating contest (youth and adult divisions) will take place in front of the Stage on the Commons at 6 PM. Pre-registration is required at the Festival Tent.
According to Festival Committee member, Adrian O’Connor, Souled Out, Crosswinds, and the acoustic ensembles from the Newtown Music Center were the first bands he invited this year. “These bands were selected because they are local, thus providing a true hometown feel to the first in-person festival held since the COVID shutdown. The bands came out to support the festival when we put on the “virtual” streamed concert last year. We are all so happy they accepted our invitations again this year,” O’Connor said.
The following entertainment will perform Saturday at the Stage on the Commons:
- The Virginia Rain Bluegrass (new to the festival) is based in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, where bluegrass roots run deep, traditional and true, from Noon – 1:45 PM.
- Crosswinds is based in Frederick County, and perform today’s Country Hits… and the Classics that count, from 4 PM – 6:30 PM.
- Souled Out, a funk/soul/dance band is based in Winchester, VA from 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM.
- The evening will close with a 9 PM massive fireworks display.
For further information on Festival Times and Events, call the Town Hall at 869-3087.
Festive Flights of Fun: Front Royal-Warren County Airport Hosts ‘Breakfast for Dinner & Reindeer Games
A Unique Evening of Holiday Cheer and Community Engagement.
The Front Royal-Warren County Airport is all set to host an evening that promises to blend festive joy with a delightful twist. On Saturday, December 9, 2023, from 3 to 6 pm, the airport will transform into a Christmas-themed playground, offering an event titled ‘Breakfast for Dinner & Reindeer Games.’ This unique event is geared towards bringing families and community members together for an evening of fun, food, and holiday spirit.
The event is designed to offer something special for every attendee. The highlight is the ‘Breakfast for Dinner’ menu featuring mouth-watering reindeer-decorated pancakes alongside classic breakfast favorites like bacon and sausage. At an affordable cost of just $5 per person and free entry for veterans, this event makes for an inexpensive family outing.
But the excitement doesn’t stop at delicious food. The event has lined up a ‘Reindeer Games’ series to keep everyone entertained. Activities include ‘Shrinky Dink Ornament Making,’ where attendees can craft their own festive decorations, and ‘Pin the Nose on Rudolph,’ a holiday twist on the classic party game. Additionally, families can participate in spreading ‘Reindeer Food’ on the lawn, a magical way to guide reindeer to your home the night before Christmas. For those who love a keepsake, there’s an opportunity to get ‘Reindeer Portraits’ done, capturing the holiday spirit in a memorable way.
The Front Royal-Warren County Airport, typically known for its aviation services, has increasingly become a hub for community events. This holiday-themed event is a testament to the airport’s commitment to serving and engaging with the community in fun and innovative ways.
‘Breakfast for Dinner & Reindeer Games’ at the Front Royal-Warren County Airport is more than just an event; it’s a celebration of community spirit and the joy of the holiday season. It offers an opportunity for families to come together, enjoy good food, partake in festive activities, and make lasting memories. This event is a shining example of how community spaces can be creatively used to bring people together and spread joy.
The Harlem Globetrotters: Bringing Hoops and Hope Back to Winchester
Shenandoah University Set to Host Globetrotters’ Exhilarating Performance on March 7.
The Harlem Globetrotters are gearing up to bring their unique blend of basketball artistry and family-friendly entertainment back to Winchester. Presented by Jersey Mike’s Subs, the Globetrotters will showcase their skills at Shenandoah University’s James R. Wilkins, Jr. Athletics and Events Center, marking their fourth appearance at the venue.
As part of their 2024 World Tour, the Globetrotters are set to perform on Thursday, March 7, at 7 p.m., facing off against their long-time rivals, the Washington Generals. The event promises to be a spectacle of high-flying dunks, impressive ball handling, and comedic antics that have defined the Globetrotters’ performances worldwide.
Tickets for this much-anticipated event are available starting at $25, with a total of 1,800 seats up for grabs. Considering the team’s popularity and the sold-out shows in 2018, 2021, and last spring, early ticket purchase is advised to avoid missing out on this entertaining evening. Attendees can also opt for the Magic Pass, a special pregame experience offering an up-close chance to interact with the players through activities like learning tricks and taking photos.
Organized by Russ Potts Productions, Inc. (RPPI) and sponsored by United Bank, the event is more than just a basketball game. Zach Franz, president of RPPI, shared his excitement during a recent Shenandoah University basketball game, highlighting the family-friendly nature of the event and its importance to the community.
In keeping with the spirit of giving, a food drive will be conducted during the game to support Bright Futures-Frederick/Winchester. This nonprofit organization works to meet the needs of local K-12 students, showcasing the Globetrotters’ commitment to community engagement.
The Harlem Globetrotters, with a rich history dating back to 1926, have always been more than just a basketball team. Known as the “Ambassadors of Goodwill,” they have played in 123 countries and territories, reaching more than 148 million fans globally. Their blend of athleticism, theater, and comedy continues to delight fans of all ages, making their events a memorable experience.
The Harlem Globetrotters’ return to Winchester is not just an exhibition of basketball prowess; it’s a celebration of community spirit and the joy of the sport. As they take to the court at Shenandoah University, they bring a legacy of goodwill and a promise of an evening filled with laughter, awe, and inspiration.
Ride for a Reason: Winchester Community Revs Up Support for Evans Home for Kids
Skyline Harley-Davidson Hosts Festive Fundraiser with Shenandoah Valley Christian Riders.
As the festive season approaches, the spirit of giving is revving up in Winchester, Virginia. The Henry and William Evans Home for Children has teamed up with the Shenandoah Valley Christian Riders (SVCR) for a unique Christmas fundraising event. Dubbed the “Christmas Fund Ride,” this event invites motorcycle enthusiasts and community members to hit the road for a noble cause: bringing holiday cheer to children in need.
Set against the scenic Shenandoah Valley backdrop, the event will kick off at the iconic Skyline Harley-Davidson, located at 140 Independence Road, Winchester. Registration begins at 2:00 p.m. on December 10, 2023, with engines starting at 2:15 p.m. In case of rain, the event has a backup date set for December 17, ensuring that the ride will go on, come rain or shine.
Leading the pack will be members of the SVCR, a local chapter of the Christian Motorcyclists Association, known for their commitment to community service and love for the open road. Participants are encouraged to contribute $20 per rider or non-motorcycle vehicle and $10 for each motorcycle passenger. These donations will go directly towards purchasing Christmas gifts for the children residing at the Evans Home, making the holiday season brighter for those who need it most.
Mitch Berkenkemper, the President of SVCR, is the go-to person for more information about the ride. He can be reached at email@example.com or via phone at 540/520-0330. His enthusiasm for the event is infectious, as he calls on the community to show their support not just as riders but as benefactors of a heartfelt cause.
This Christmas Fund Ride is more than just a motorcycle event; it’s a testament to the power of community spirit and the joy of giving. As the engines roar to life on December 10, it won’t just be about the thrill of the ride but the collective effort to make a difference in the lives of children. In the true spirit of the holiday season, the Winchester community is invited to come together, ride, and spread joy where it’s needed most.
This Week’s Showtimes at Royal Cinemas as of December 7th
Are you looking for the full movie-going experience without having to wait in the long lines that often accompany that experience? Then look no further because Royal Cinemas movie theatre is the answer. Get the whole gang together and enjoy a movie! Reserved seating in all auditoriums.
Here is a list of this week’s showtimes at Royal Cinemas as of Thursday, December 7:
Ticket prices are as follows:
- Adult: $10
- Child (under 12): $7
- Military: $8
- Student (college): $8
- Senior: $8
- Matinees, All Seating: $7
FREE “Christmas Classics” Movies
“NAUGHTY OR NICE TRIPLE FEATURE”
Saturday and Sunday @ 1:00pm
- “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom”
Triumphant Harmony: Fishnet Ministries Hosts Three Pianos Christmas Concert
A Unique Musical Celebration to Herald the Festive Season in Front Royal.
In the heart of December, when the chill of winter meets the warmth of festive cheer, Fishnet Ministries Church in Front Royal, VA, is set to host an extraordinary musical event: the Three Pianos Christmas Concert. Scheduled for Sunday, December 17, at 6 pm, this concert promises to be a harmonious blend of pianos and voices, celebrating the joy and peace of the Christmas season.
The concert, a novel concept featuring three pianos played simultaneously, is set to be led by Bobbi Andes, a Shenandoah University alumnus, alongside talented pianists Naomi Marie Caricofe and Zack Dodson. This trio of pianists will merge their skills to create a captivating and inspiring atmosphere filled with beloved Christmas Carols. The synchronization of three pianos is a testament to the pianists’ skill and a symbolic representation of the harmony and unity that the holiday season embodies.
Bobbi Andes, renowned for her God-inspired touch on the keyboard, brings a wealth of experience to this event. Together with her husband, Pastor Larry Andes of Fishnet Ministries Church, she has historically guided worship for vast crowds at the Fishnet Festivals. Her profound musical heritage and deep ties with the community infuse this concert with genuine depth and resonance.
Adding to the musical spectacle, vocalists Cheryl Yancey and Tracy Atsiknoudous will lend their voices, further enhancing the melodic experience. The concert will also feature a vibrant display of banners presented by the youth, adding a visual element to the auditory experience.
In keeping with the spirit of giving and community, the Three Piano Concert is offering free admission. Attendees can also look forward to enjoying refreshments, making the event not just a concert but a communal celebration. This musical evening is not just a performance; it’s an invitation to the community to come together and share in the joy and peace of the holiday season.
The Three Pianos Christmas Concert at Fishnet Ministries Church is more than just a musical event; it’s a gathering that epitomizes the essence of the Christmas spirit. Through the harmonious blend of pianos and voices, the concert aims to spread joy and peace, reminding us of the true reason for the season. This unique celebration is open to everyone, promising an evening of enchanting music and festive cheer. Don’t miss this special opportunity to be part of a memorable holiday experience on Sunday, December 17, at Fishnet Ministries Church located beside Rockland Park, 391 Fishnet Blvd., Front Royal, VA 22630
Magical Radio Days Reimagined: Selah Theatre Project Brings a Holiday Classic to Life
Andrew J. Fenady’s ‘Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Claus’ Hits the Stage This December.
The charm of old-time radio, where imaginations ran wild and stories came to life in the minds of listeners, is being rekindled in Middletown, VA. This holiday season, Selah Theatre Project, in collaboration with Laurel Ridge Community College, is set to enchant audiences with its latest production, “Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Claus.” The play, written by the celebrated Andrew J. Fenady, is a visual and auditory feast, an adaptation of the beloved 1897 editorial from the New York Sun.
In an era dominated by screens, this production harks back to the golden age of radio, offering a unique theatrical experience. It revolves around a heartwarming exchange where young Virginia, in her quest for truth, writes to the New York Sun asking about the existence of Santa Claus. This inquiry leads Ed Mitchell, the editor, to assign the task to Frank Church, a reporter grappling with personal struggles. Church’s profound response, affirming Santa’s existence, has since woven itself into the fabric of Christmas traditions worldwide.
With nineteen actors, both budding and experienced, the Selah Theatre Project’s rendition promises a blend of nostalgia and innovation. Audiences will be swept away to an era where radio reigned supreme, meeting an array of vivid characters including Virginia, Frank Church, and Santa Claus himself. The cast, under the skillful direction of LaTasha Do’zia, breathes life into this classic tale, ensuring a visual and auditory treat.
Selah Theatre Project, known for its commitment to quality community theatre, finds this production especially close to its heart. The play not only celebrates the Christmas spirit and the innocence of childhood but also stands as a testament to the enduring power of storytelling. Supported by a grant from the Community Foundation of the Northern Shenandoah Valley, this production is more than a play; it’s a community event, fostering the arts and bringing people together in the spirit of the holidays.
As the holiday season approaches, “Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Claus” offers a perfect opportunity for families and friends to gather and immerse themselves in a world of wonder and joy. Selah Theatre Project invites everyone to experience this enchanting production, which not only entertains but also supports the arts in the community. With performances scheduled from December 8-10 & 15-17 at the William H. McCoy Theatre, Laurel Ridge Community College, this is an event not to be missed. Tickets are available online, via phone, or at the door, promising a magical evening for all.
Tickets can be purchased at selahtheatreproject.org or call 540-684-5464 or at the door.