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It's Almost Time For Clifton Day, Oct. 10

Fall is here and the evenings are getting cooler — that means it's almost time for Clifton Day. This year's 37th annual celebration will be Sunday, Oct. 10, in the charming and historic Town of Clifton.

Arts and crafts, food, rock-climbing, music, antiques and even a Civil War encampment will all be part of the big day. The event runs from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (rain date, Oct. 17) and, as always, admission is free.

"Clifton Day is special because it's one of the oldest festivals around," said this year's chairman, Tom Peterson. "It's a feel-good day where people can just come out and relax and see what a great town we have."

The live music will showcase local talent in the form of two groups composed of students from Robinson Secondary School. They are Aztec and Monty Quick, and both perform classic rock. Also entertaining the crowd will be the Janet Garbe Band and the Jimmy Cole Band — which plays jazzy blues. The shows are free and will begin at 10 a.m.

Clifton Day is put on by town residents, and 100 percent of the proceeds are donated to a variety of 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, which is geared toward the town's preservation.

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

Approximately 150 vendors will display their wares throughout the streets of the town. And crafters will give live demonstrations of woodcarving, syrup-making, basketry spinning, herbal crafting, lace tatting, pottery-making, rug weaving and silhouette creating.

The 49th Virginia Regiment will hold a Civil War encampment, providing an accurate glimpse into the lives of some of the soldiers who fought along the railroad line from Manassas to Alexandria.

And there'll be food galore, including complete chicken dinners from the Clifton Presbyterian Church, as well as award-winning chili, hot dogs, hamburgers, sandwiches, soups, pizza, hot cider and Brunswick Stew. Visitors may also purchase homemade bread and fresh produce at the Clifton Farmers Market on Chapel Road.

Parking will be available at Clifton Elementary and at market lots off Chapel Road and Clifton Road. Or attendees may travel to and from Manassas, Manassas Park, Rolling Road or Burke via 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.

Major sponsors of Clifton Day 2004 are Access National Bank, Colchester Hunt Title and Escrow, The Peterson Cos. and Outback Steakhouse. For more information about Clifton Day, see www.cliftonday.com or call 703-968-0740.