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Come to Clifton Day on Sunday

There's something about the Town of Clifton that particularly lends itself to old-fashioned gatherings. It could be the historic homes along Main Street, the overhanging trees, the town's red caboose or the sound of a train whistle that harkens visitors back to yesteryear.

Whatever it is, it'll only be enhanced when residents and visitors alike flock to the town, this Sunday, Oct. 10, to celebrate the 37th annual Clifton Day. Hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (rain date, Oct. 17), and admission is free.

"We have lots of family activities this year, and we want everybody to come and enjoy," said Michelle Stein, president of the Clifton Betterment Association (CBA), which helps put on the event. "And we thank our great sponsors and the hundreds of Clifton-area volunteers who work so hard, the days before and after Clifton Day, to make it such a big success."

Handmade crafts and gift items, antiques, children's activities, delicious food, a Civil War soldiers' encampment, rockin' bands and craft demonstrations are just a few of the many treats in store for attendees.

The Clifton Horse Society will offer pony rides, and the kids' area on Pendleton Street (between Chapel Road and Water Street) will feature cool things such as face-painting, arts and crafts, a children's yard sale and even a rock-climbing wall.

The 49th Virginia Regiment will hold a Civil War encampment, talk about weaponry and illustrate what soldiers and women wore in the 1860s.

Several students from Robinson Secondary School will provide live, musical entertainment that's sure to wow the crowd. They compose the bands, Aztec and Monty Quick, which both perform classic rock. Also making music will be the Janet Garbe Band and the Jimmy Cole Band — which plays jazzy blues. The shows begin at 10 a.m. and are free.

Some 150 vendors will display their wares throughout the streets of the town. Visitors will be able to purchase items such as handmade jewelry, pottery and ceramics, stained glass, oil paintings and watercolors, Halloween and Christmas decorations, candles, kitchenware, clothing, toys and more.

And crafters will give live demonstrations of woodcarving, syrup-making, basketry spinning, herbal crafting, lace tatting, pottery-making, rug weaving and silhouette creating.

With so much to do, visitors are bound to work up an appetite, and the town will provide a variety of mouthwatering options to satisfy all those hungry tummies. The Clifton Presbyterian Church will offer its ever-popular, complete chicken dinners, and the Clifton Gentlemen's Club will dish up steaming bowls of its award-winning chili.

Attendees may also feast on hot dogs and hamburgers cooked by members of the Clifton Lions Club, as well as sandwiches, soups, pizza, hot cider and the Heart in Hand restaurant's hearty Brunswick Stew. And homemade bread, fresh produce, pumpkins and honey may be purchased at the Clifton Farmers Market on Chapel Road.

Parking is available at Clifton Elementary and at marked lots off Chapel Road and Clifton Road. Those coming from Manassas, Manassas Park, Rolling Road or Burke may take the Virginia Railway Express. Trains will run from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. The schedule is at www.vre.org., and $5 return-trip tickets may be bought at Clifton's red caboose.

Clifton Day is put on by town residents, with all proceeds donated to charities, including a children's AIDS clinic in Haiti, the Clifton Lions Club, the Clifton Elementary PTA, Boy and Girl Scouts and the Clifton Betterment Association, geared toward the town's preservation. For more information, see www.cliftonday.com or call 703-968-0740.