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Get Ready For Clifton Day

Be it handcrafted items, rock-climbing, live bands or Civil War history, there's sure to be something for everyone at the 37th annual Clifton Day. Set for Sunday, Oct. 10, in the Town of Clifton, it runs from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (rain date, Oct. 17), and admission is free.

"Come enjoy the great music, crafts and fine food," said Mayor Jim Chesley. "Bring your comfortable walking shoes, spend the day in the country, take the train and avoid the traffic."

Those driving may park at Clifton Elementary and at marked lots off Chapel Road and Clifton Road. Or visitors 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.

SOME 150 VENDORS will display their wares throughout the streets of the town. Visitors will be able to purchase a wide variety of items, such as handmade jewelry, pottery and ceramics, stained glass, oil paintings and watercolors, photographs, wooden furniture and decorative items, baskets, herbs, wreaths, sculpture and metalwork, leather goods, floral arrangements, Halloween and Christmas decorations, candles, kitchenware, clothing and toys.

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. The members will discuss weaponry and show what soldiers and women wore in the 1860s.

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.

As for food, 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 chow down on hot dogs, hamburgers, sandwiches, soups, pizza, hot cider and the Heart in Hand restaurant's hearty Brunswick Stew. And homemade bread and fresh produce may be purchased at the Clifton Farmers Market on Chapel Road.

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

Visitors may also take self-guided tours, strolling by historic homes and lovely churches — including the Clifton Primitive Baptist Church, built by freed slaves in 1869.

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.

Clifton Day chairman, Tom Peterson, said more than 30 residents began working on the event in January. He especially noted the efforts of Phoebe Peterson (no relation), in charge of volunteers; Kathy Kalinowski, in charge of vendors and Michelle Stein, involved in all aspects.

Peterson also praised Chris Spina and Rick Peterson (Phoebe's husband), chairmen of the corporate sponsorship committee, for increasing the amount of this year's corporate sponsorship over last year's total. Major sponsors are Access National Bank, Colchester Hunt Title and Escrow, The Peterson Cos. and Outback Steakhouse.

This is Tom Peterson's first year as Clifton Day chairman, replacing Jim Fullerton, who passed the baton after some 14 years of hard work in that post. So why did he agree to do it?

"Clifton is such a great area to live in and does so many activities for good causes," he explained. "Everybody has to do their part, and I figured this was one small thing I could to."

For more information about Clifton Day, see www.cliftonday.com or call 703-968-0740. Added Peterson: "Come out and relax and see what a great town we have."