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Volunteers turn Day of Service into an effort to cleanup part of Warren County



Rea with Eric and his sons are ready to fill some trash bags

Roadside trash includes fast food containers, plastic bags, lighters, butts, bottles, cans, and Styrofoam.

As part of this year’s National Day of Service, a group of folks from Warren County decided to clean up sections of Route 522 between Robin Lane and Gate 3 of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute.  It was a perfect day for the cleanup, with temperatures above freezing and into the 40s, and little wind or precipitation.  One big advantage of doing a cleanup at this time of year is that you can go into the underbrush and not worry about encountering a snake, or dealing with ticks, spiders, etc.  In addition, with the leaves off the trees and bushes, it is easier to spot trash.

Most of the cleanup crew members met at Mountain Home B&B about 10am on January 18th, dressed for the weather and wearing good boots for tromping along the side of the road and into the brush.  Mountain Home provided trash bags and gloves, and offered a free Gatorade or Vitamin Water for each volunteer.  The B&B owners also assured participants that they would transport all the bags of trash to one of Warren County’s five refuse/recycle collection sites.  Several participants also helped with taking pictures to commemorate the event.

Steve shows what’s already in the bag

The road section that was cleaned up includes the Appalachian Trail road crossing and parking area, but that wasn’t where most of the trash was found.  Cigarette butts, glass and plastic bottles, beverage cans, Styrofoam cups and plastic lids and straws, were distributed fairly evenly across the entire stretch of roadway, indicating that some people in vehicles must be tossing these items out their windows as they drive along.  One brand of beer kept showing up again and again, leading us to wonder if one person was throwing a beer bottle out the window every day.  Other items collected appeared to be construction debris that was not carefully strapped down and then flew out of trucks as they began to accelerate.

Most of the trash bags headed to the refuse collection site

Rea and Lisa prep to pick up trash

Smokers may not realize that tossing their butts out the window or on the ground (unless it is on your own private property) is littering and is against the law.  The filters, made up of plasticized cellulose acetate, do not biodegrade and can last for many years.

Besides being gross, and littering being illegal, the trash isn’t good for the local wildlife either.  It can be eaten by fish, birds, and insects, cause suffocation, and eventually get into our streams and contribute to pollution in our oceans.  Plastics and Styrofoam are particularly troublesome as they do not biodegrade, but just break into smaller and smaller pieces that make them even more likely to be consumed in the ecosystem.  Trash on our roadsides will not help bring visitors into our county and town, or help local businesses, or bring tax revenue into our local government.

Rea stands ready to tote some trash

The only excuse for littering is laziness and disrespect.  If we love our country, and love our county, we need to stop trashing it!

Disposing of trash properly (and reducing the Styrofoam and plastic packaging that you buy in the first place) helps keep it out of the environment and helps make Warren County a nicer place to live.  The 12 roadside cleanup volunteers did a fantastic job today, collecting roughly a dozen big, contractor bags of trash, and a few larger items like car parts and a cabinet panel. There are several places around Warren County where trash seems to accumulate at an alarming rate, and this stretch of 522 is one of them.  Any time you want to get out and make a difference, you can grab a trash bag and just pick up trash.  Just be sure to take each bag to a refuse/recycle collection site when you are done.

Steve extracts bottles from the brush

The National Day of Service is now a tradition each year on the 3rd Monday in January, Martin Luther King Day, to honor the life of Rev. Martin Luther King, who “sought equality and human rights for African Americans, the economically disadvantaged and all victims of injustice through peaceful protest.”  (The History Channel website)

Susan and Lisa are ready to tackle the terrain

Several groups interested in service projects and/or caring for creation were specifically invited to participate, but everyone was welcome.  There were representatives from the Warren County Democratic committee (WCDC), the Warren Front Royal Appalachian Trail (WFRAT) Committee, Calvary Episcopal Church and even an Appalachian Trail hiker who stopped by to help.  If you or your group are interested in helping with the MLK roadside cleanup next year, or with other roadside cleanups, please contact Lisa Jenkins of Mountain Home B&B at

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Community Events

Boots, Bourbon, and Big Hearts: Rotary Club of Warren County Gears up for Annual Fundraiser



Warren County Fairgrounds Set to Host Popular Event.

The calendar flips, and autumn leaves whisper the return of the Rotary Club of Warren County’s annual “Boots and Bourbon” fundraiser, an event that last year had the town talking and feet stomping. This year, the much-anticipated event finds a new home at the expansive Warren County Fairgrounds, promising more space and even grander festivities. This event takes place on September 30th from 6 to 10 p.m. Special event at 5 p.m. with Judge Ron Napier.

A history that only spans two years, “Boots and Bourbon” has quickly become a staple for locals looking for good times while contributing to a greater cause. The Rotary Club, always keeping the community’s youth at the forefront, aims to raise funds to award five $3,000 scholarships to Skyline High School students. Two of these scholarships are specifically designed for students pursuing community college or trade school, reflecting a growing recognition of the importance of diverse educational pathways.

While the scholarships take center stage, there’s also mention of book vending machines for elementary schools – an initiative introduced last year. Schools have embraced these machines, further motivating students to dive into the world of reading. The success of this project saw active participation from community members like Dr. Craig Zunka, Kiwanis, and Rotary themselves.

For attendees, the evening promises a flurry of activities. From testing grit and balance on a mechanical bull – where staying on the longest might line your pockets with a cash prize – to getting groovy with a line dancing instructor, the fun is unending. A private VIP bourbon tasting, curated by the bourbon connoisseur, Judge Ron Napier, precedes the main event. Here, attendees can savor five exquisite bourbons while Judge Napier unravels the stories behind each.

As for the cuisine? Chef Devin Smith’s mouthwatering brisket and creamy mac and cheese are set to tantalize taste buds. Add to this an open bar featuring select bourbons, and the stage is set for an unforgettable evening. Silent and live auctions, with alluring prizes ranging from ocean-view vacations to gourmet bourbon dinners, offer another avenue for attendees to contribute.

Behind all the festivity is the Rotary Club’s unwavering dedication to serving the community. With sponsors like Jean’s Jewelers, Bill Long Auto Care, and Warren County Veterinary Clinic, among many others, this event stands as a testament to Front Royal’s spirit of unity and generosity.

For those still contemplating, Kathy Napier, one of the key organizers, offers an invite: “It’s always so much fun. Many don’t participate, and they’re really missing out on some of the camaraderie.” Tickets are available at Jean’s Jewelers, Turning Leaf Realty, On Cue, and the club’s official website.

This year, as the cool September wind ushers in the “Boots and Bourbon” event, the Warren County Fairgrounds won’t just be a space for festivities but a confluence of community spirit, commitment, and celebration

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Community Events

Kids’ Day Moves Indoors but Fun Remains Unshaken



Warren Coalition partners with local agencies to adapt and enhance the celebration.

As the first raindrops fall and the sky turns a shade darker, Warren County residents might be revisiting their weekend plans. But, those looking forward to the Celebrate Kids Day have nothing to fear, as the event will go on without a hitch. This event is from 1 pm to 4 pm on Sunday, September 24.

Thanks to quick thinking and a community that rallies behind its children, the Warren Coalition, in collaboration with Warren County Parks & Recreation, has made suitable adjustments. The event, initially planned outdoors, will now be majorly hosted inside the 15th Street Gym at the Health & Human Services Complex and the Diversified Minds Conference Room. This change, aimed at dodging mud and incoming light rain, comes after Diversified Minds graciously opened its space for the celebration.

Despite the change of venue, the day’s line-up remains as exciting as ever. From inflatable rides and pumpkin painting sessions, for the first 200 children to face painting and a plethora of games, children are in for a treat. Additionally, the music, performances, and cake walks promise a day full of energy and laughter. Local agencies have come on board, amplifying the joy and ensuring an array of fun-filled activities for children of all ages.

For those who don’t mind a sprinkle or two, the pitch burst, and pony rides are still on the roster, along with a petting zoo to add that extra touch of delight. As forecasts suggest, the rain should recede by the afternoon, giving ample time for these outdoor activities to shine.

Yet, this spirit of adaptability isn’t just seen in the Coalition’s event planning. The Celebrate Kids Day is more than just an event; it’s a testament to Warren County’s commitment to its children and the community at large. Rain or shine, the county proves once again that the spirit of celebration cannot be dampened.

Warren Coalition’s “Celebrate Kids Day” Has New Home This Year


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Community Events

A Step Back in Time: George Mercer and Winchester’s Historic Weekend



Reliving the 1750s: Mercer’s Legacy and Winchester’s Pivotal Role.

Winchester, Virginia – It’s not every day that one gets a chance to walk through history and meet some of its iconic figures. On Oct 7 and 8, 2023,  at Abram’s Delight, history enthusiasts and curious locals alike will get just that chance as members of George Mercer’s Company of the Virginia Regiment prepare to recreate life from the mid-1700s.

Tony Elar Jr., a captain of the Mercer’s Company re-enactment group, points out that George Mercer wasn’t just any historical figure. “Mercer was Washington’s aide-de-camp at Fort Loudoun, effectively becoming his right-hand man,” said Elar. The fort, which stands as a testament to Winchester’s defense strategies during the French and Indian War, was also a hub for repairing weaponry and offering soldiers some much-needed rest.

One might imagine the fort as a quiet place, but Elar paints a different picture. “The Virginia Regiment sometimes had about 500 men in town, stationed at the fort. And these soldiers? Well, they had their share of fun, often sneaking off to local taverns,” he chuckles, recalling the many letters Washington had to pen to local innkeepers, asking them to keep his men away from alcohol.

Fast forward nearly 270 years, and George Mercer’s legacy is alive and kicking. Thanks to Elar’s group, which was formed in 2015, the history of the Virginia Regiment and their authentic 1756 uniforms (shipped from none other than England!) are showcased at regional events.

Beyond the reenactments, the weekend promises more than just a visual treat. As visitors explore the camp at 1340 S. Pleasant Valley Road, they’ll get a sense of the clothing, culinary arts, and weaponry of the period. “We camp out overnight, with tents set up exactly as they would have been back in the day,” added Elar, admitting that the busy South Pleasant Valley Road corridor makes for some noisy nights.

And for those wondering about the heavy woolen attire in potentially scorching weather? Elar laughingly remarked, “Once you start sweating in wool, it’s almost like having an air conditioner!”

But the weekend’s highlight? Engaging tales of Winchester during the French and Indian War. With no battles on record here, the spotlight is on Fort Loudoun and how French officers, upon surveying the fort, deemed it “too powerful, too strong” to attack.

Furthermore, visitors are in for a special treat. Middletown Mayor Charles Harbaugh IV will bring a young Col. George Washington to life, with whispers of a surprise visit from General Edward Braddock, the colonies’ commander-in-chief at the war’s beginning.

Winchester isn’t just a location. It’s a time machine to the 1750s, bringing forth the tales, sounds, and sights of a bygone era. An era of resilience, strategy, and iconic figures. All are invited to this journey, with no admission fee for the ceremony, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday at Abram’s Delight.

Click here for more information on the ceremony.

Abram’s Delight is open Monday – Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Admission: Adults $6.00; Seniors $5.00; Students K-12 $3.00

Click here for more information on Abram’s Delight.



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Community Events

Experience fall in the mountains at the 2023 Hands & Harvest Festival



Highland County’s annual Hands & Harvest Festival returns with county-wide fall fun during the weekend of October 6 – 8, 2023, where everyone is invited to celebrate the traditions, harvest, and crafts found in this rural mountain community.

From farms to a fire tower, visitors can experience the sights and tastes of the season while viewing the beautiful countryside of fall foliage.  On the self-guided Harvest Trail, the public is invited to take part in traditional fall staples like cider pressing, making apple butter, or picking pumpkins at local farms and maple sugar camps, or they can try something different like viewing the process of creating colorful barn quilts or taking a tour of a mini equine sanctuary.  While traveling, guests can get their Virginia Maple Syrup Trail passports stamped at five sugar camps – get them while you can before the trail program ends on March 31, 2024 (

Community activities include an exciting 5K Fall Color Run, Valley AeroSpace Team Rocket Launches, the restored Sounding Knob Fire Tower, popular annual sweater and used book sales, historic Monterey walking tours starting from the Highland Inn, and more.  New attractions like the Charles Pinckney Jones House Museum, the working cattle farm of Hazy Hollow Farm, and the grand opening of the local artist gallery The 3rd Space add to the opportunities to create lasting memories.

Free entertainment in Monterey is available for the entire family!  Kick off your weekend on Friday afternoon with bluegrass music at the Highland County Courthouse Lawn from Eyes on Him while you shop.  On Saturday starting at noon, children can take a ride on Andy’s Bug Train that is sure to bring smiles.  On Sunday afternoon, join in the excitement of an old-fashioned Street Dance on Spruce Street with one of Virginia’s oldest clogging groups, the Little Switzerland Cloggers, as well as local square dance callers Ellen and Eugene Ratcliffe for a rollicking performance and interactive fun.

Get an early start on holiday shopping at the Arts & Crafts Vendor Market located on the courthouse lawn.  Complete your shopping needs by visiting an old general store or unique venue nestled among the countryside like Sugar Tree Country Store, Blue Grass Mercantile, Jenny Wren Gatherings, Ginseng Mountain Farm & Store, The Church at the Old Oak, or the new Highland Roots Market.

Bring your appetite, because there will be abundant food options available around the county.  The Friday Highland Farmers’ Market, Puff’s BBQ, and Martinez Kitchen will be open on the courthouse lawn.  Fall-themed menus at local restaurants with expanded hours are sure to please.  Whether you visit traditional staples like High’s Restaurant and Hull’s Hideaway Restaurant & Tavern or newer establishments like Claire’s Cakes & Café, The Curly Maple, or the Monterey Inn, your tastebuds will thank you!  Plus, Big Fish Cider, Co. will be open with their award-winning craft ciders in Monterey.

Many adventures await with a visit to Highland County, Virginia.  The full schedule, details, and addresses of all the festival happenings can be found at  Maps with daily schedules will be available at local stores and on the Highland County Courthouse Lawn in Monterey during the event.

The Hands & Harvest Festival is brought to you by the Highland County Chamber of Commerce.  Top sponsors include Bath Community Hospital, Fair Lawn Farm, and the Highland County Arts Council.

The Highland County Chamber of Commerce is a 501(c)(6) membership nonprofit organization with a mission to lift up local businesses and entrepreneurs, promote Highland County, and champion economic prosperity and quality of life.  For more information, please visit

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Community Events

Lake Frederick Annual Veterans Association Picnic & Fundraiser 2023



Last week, the Lake Frederick community gathered to honor veterans from all over, including the guest of honor Captain Dale Davis, US Army Retired. Captain Davis has served on the Lake Frederick Veterans Association as President for the last seven years. He was celebrated at the picnic and thanked for his efforts through the years.

At the event, the Randolph-Macon Academy Drill Platoon commanded by Cadet 1st Sergeant Michael Hays ’25, and Color Guard commanded by Cadet 1st Lieutenant Kamila Yusupova ’24, opened the event with the long-standing military tradition of pass in review and presentation of colors. Winchester Pipes and Drums did an amazing job assisting the ceremony. The Association has 307 veteran members from Lake Frederick and the greater Lake Frederick area!

After the ceremony, R-MA cadets were invited to join Lake Frederick residents, guests, and families during the picnic. Music by Robbie Limon Band created a fun atmosphere for the rest of the day!

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Walking with History: A Fundraiser Tour to Remember the Fallen



Battlefield Tour and Virtual Experience to Benefit Wreaths Across America.

This October, history enthusiasts have the unique opportunity to walk the grounds where the Battle of New Market transpired while simultaneously supporting the non-profit Wreaths Across America. At the heart of this initiative are historians Sarah Kay Bierle and Jon Tracey, who are combining their passion for history with a cause close to their hearts.

Scheduled for Sunday, October 1, 2023, from 2-4 p.m., the fundraiser battlefield tour at New Market Battlefield State Historical Park promises attendees an enriching experience. While tracing the paths of the Virginia Military Institute Corps of Cadets and the Union soldiers they clashed with, participants will cover approximately 1.5 miles of historic terrain. Tickets are required for the fundraiser tour and are $25 per person and may be acquired here.

However, it’s not just about the battle itself. The tour will delve deep into stories of the soldiers and cadets, detailing the lengthy process of laying these heroes to rest, with many finding their final resting place in Winchester National Cemetery.

For those unable to step onto the battlefield in person, there’s a virtual alternative. A donation of $17 grants access to a recorded history program available on October 7, discussing fresh research on the Battle of New Market and the significance of Winchester National Cemetery. Tickets for the virtual program may also be acquired here.

The goal is straightforward and noble: to raise $3,000 to help Wreaths Across America place more wreaths at Winchester National Cemetery during the holidays. Bierle and Tracey are leveraging their extensive research and guiding skills, even donating their time to this worthy cause. Their commitment is evident in their past works and affiliations, with both holding significant positions at Emerging Civil War, a platform dedicated to sharing original articles related to the American Civil War and fostering a community of budding researchers and historians.

Their motivation? For Bierle, the gratitude she feels for the sacrifices of soldiers resonates deeply. “This year, we will have the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of these fallen soldiers… they are not forgotten,” she expressed. For Tracey, who has extensively researched Winchester National Cemetery, the act of remembering is diverse. Whether it’s walking the battleground or placing a wreath, each gesture is a tribute to the soldiers’ memory.

With the combined allure of history and a heartwarming cause, this fundraiser offers a unique experience for attendees, both in-person and virtual. As Bierle encapsulated, “Come join us on October 1 or virtually on October 7. We hope many will join us… to create a meaningful, honoring experience.” The layers of Civil War history in the Shenandoah Valley beckon with a message of remembrance, learning, and tribute.

Click here to make a donation to Emerging Civil War’s fundraiser for Wreaths Across America and participate on the battlefield or virtually.

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Thank You to our Local Business Participants:


Aders Insurance Agency, Inc (State Farm)

Aire Serv Heating and Air Conditioning

Apple Dumpling Learning Center

Apple House

Auto Care Clinic

Avery-Hess Realty, Marilyn King

Beaver Tree Services

Blake and Co. Hair Spa

Blue Mountain Creative Consulting

Blue Ridge Arts Council

Blue Ridge Education

BNI Shenandoah Valley

C&C's Ice Cream Shop

Card My Yard

CBM Mortgage, Michelle Napier

Christine Binnix - McEnearney Associates

Code Jamboree LLC

Code Ninjas Front Royal

Cool Techs Heating and Air

Down Home Comfort Bakery

Downtown Market

Dusty's Country Store

Edward Jones-Bret Hrbek

Explore Art & Clay

Family Preservation Services

First Baptist Church

Front Royal Independent Business Alliance

Front Royal/Warren County C-CAP

First Baptist Church

Front Royal Treatment Center

Front Royal Women's Resource Center

Front Royal-Warren County Chamber of Commerce

Fussell Florist

G&M Auto Sales Inc

Garcia & Gavino Family Bakery

Gourmet Delights Gifts & Framing

Green to Ground Electrical

Groups Recover Together

Habitat for Humanity

Groups Recover Together

House of Hope

I Want Candy

I'm Just Me Movement

Jean’s Jewelers

Jen Avery, REALTOR & Jenspiration, LLC

Key Move Properties, LLC

KW Solutions

Legal Services Plans of Northern Shenendoah

Main Street Travel

Makeover Marketing Systems

Marlow Automotive Group

Mary Carnahan Graphic Design

Merchants on Main Street

Mountain Trails

Mountain View Music

National Media Services

Natural Results Chiropractic Clinic

No Doubt Accounting

Northwestern Community Services Board

Ole Timers Antiques

Penny Lane Hair Co.

Philip Vaught Real Estate Management

Phoenix Project

Reaching Out Now

Rotary Club of Warren County

Royal Blends Nutrition

Royal Cinemas

Royal Examiner

Royal Family Bowling Center

Royal Oak Bookshop

Royal Oak Computers

Royal Oak Bookshop

Royal Spice

Ruby Yoga

Salvation Army

Samuels Public Library

SaVida Health

Skyline Insurance

Shenandoah Shores Management Group

St. Luke Community Clinic

Strites Doughnuts

Studio Verde

The Arc of Warren County

The Institute for Association & Nonprofit Research

The Studio-A Place for Learning

The Valley Today - The River 95.3

The Vine and Leaf

Valley Chorale

Warren Charge (Bennett's Chapel, Limeton, Asbury)

Warren Coalition

Warren County Democratic Committee

Warren County Department of Social Services

Warren County DSS Job Development

Warrior Psychotherapy Services, PLLC

WCPS Work-Based Learning

What Matters & Beth Medved Waller, Inc Real Estate

White Picket Fence

Woodward House on Manor Grade

King Cartoons

Front Royal
7:04 am7:02 pm EDT
Feels like: 57°F
Wind: 1mph WNW
Humidity: 90%
Pressure: 30.29"Hg
UV index: 0

Upcoming Events

10:30 am College Day @ Corron Community Development Center
College Day @ Corron Community Development Center
Sep 27 @ 10:30 am – 12:00 pm
College Day @ Corron Community Development Center
Join us for College Day at the Middletown Campus, 10:30 a.m. to noon, Wednesday, Sept. 27, in the Corron Community Development Center. Meet with reps from more than 40 public and private universities, including Bluefield[...]
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
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Sep 27 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
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Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
10:00 am Fall Wild Edible Plants: Earth C... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Fall Wild Edible Plants: Earth C... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Sep 30 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Fall Wild Edible Plants: Earth Connections Series @ Sky Meadows State Park
Carriage Barn in the Historic Area. Join professional outdoor instructor Tim MacWelch to learn about the remarkable seasonal wild edible and medicinal plants of the Blue Ridge Mountains. This full-day hike will cover native and[...]
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Oct 4 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
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Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
11:00 am The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
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Oct 7 @ 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
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Historic Area. The forge is fired up and the blacksmiths are hard at work showing off their skills. Members of The Blacksmiths’ Guild of the Potomac have set up shop in the forge, located behind[...]
1:00 pm Front Royal Bluegrass Music Jam @ The Body Shop
Front Royal Bluegrass Music Jam @ The Body Shop
Oct 7 @ 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Front Royal Bluegrass Music Jam @ The Body Shop
New Bluegrass and traditional music jam the first Saturday of each month starting Feb. 4th, from 1pm till 4pm. All levels of playing invited to attend.
11:00 am The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
Oct 8 @ 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
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Historic Area. The forge is fired up and the blacksmiths are hard at work showing off their skills. Members of The Blacksmiths’ Guild of the Potomac have set up shop in the forge, located behind[...]
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Oct 11 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
11:00 am The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
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