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Fall Fun: Come On Down to Clifton

Clifton’s 44th annual festival is Sunday, Oct. 10.

Clifton Day is always a fun-filled, fall event, and this year’s festival — the 44th annual — is no exception. In addition to the usual crafts, food, music and displays, it will feature an Oktoberfest and the return of local musician, Randy Thompson.

The festival is Sunday, Oct. 10, from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., with a rain date of Oct. 17. Admission is free; parking, $5/car, with proceeds going to charity.

“It’s a great, family outing, an old-time, down-home, country-style festival,” said event Chairman Fred Ansick. “We should have great weather, the leaves are turning and there’s fun for all ages.”

The Oktoberfest will be at the stage in front of the Clifton Town Meeting Hall on Chapel Road. Catered by Rachelle Slotnick, who catered a booth at the recent wine festival, it will offer a-la-carte, German-style food such as bratwurst, kielbasa and sauerkraut. A variety of beers will also be available.

Altogether, 10 food vendors will sell their wares throughout the town, including funnel-cake and kettle-corn vendors. The Heart in Hand restaurant, Trummer’s on Main, The Clifton Store and Peterson’s Ice Cream and Dog Pound will be open for business, as will the town shops.

The Clifton Lions Club will serve hamburgers, hot dogs and barbecue; Clifton Presbyterian Church, Italian sausage; Clifton Gentleman’s Club, red beans and rice, chili and chili dogs; Cub Scout Packs 1861 and 1104, cotton candy, popcorn, lemonade, cookies, candy and apple cider; Acacia Lodge, pulled pork, bratwurst and hot sausage; and Baja Fresh, burritos, quesadillas and chicken, fish and shrimp tacos.

The Clifton Betterment Association (CBA) puts on Clifton Day and proceeds go to the town’s nonprofit groups, including the Clifton Lions Club, Girl and Boy Scouts, Clifton Presbyterian Church, Clifton Gentleman’s Club, Clifton Woman’s Club, the CBA and Acacia Lodge. “It’s the largest fund raiser for the local nonprofits,” said Ansick.

MORE THAN 200 arts-and-crafts vendors will sell items including jewelry, candles, plant hangars, glasswork, children’s clothing, baskets, ceramics, woodworking products, furniture, mixed media, needlework, quilts, sculpture, metalwork, seasonal decorations and holiday items, sports memorabilia, toys, stained glass, and watercolor and oil paintings.

Artisans at Ayre Square on Main Street will demonstrate crafts such as wood-carving, wool spinning, weaving and pottery- and basket-making. Antiques vendors will be behind the Heart in Hand and in front of the fire station on Chapel Road. And the Appalachian Bowhunters Association is putting on a taxidermy display in the Acacia Lodge, and donations will be accepted to help rebuild the lodge.

Entertaining the crowd will be the Unicycle Lady, and strolling through the town will be the Banjo Man, back by popular demand for the third year. And the Northern Virginia Therapeutic Riding Academy will give pony rides by the barn behind Acacia Lodge.

The town park off Chapel Street will also host fun activities for children. Five Blessings Farm will bring a petting zoo with baby animals, and Jumpworks will have inflatables and moonbounces. Face-painters will be in the park and at Ayre Square, and Girl and Boy Scout troops will have eight booths in the park with games such as beanbag toss.

“We encourage the young kids to be part of the festival,” said Ansick.

Singers, dancers and musicians will perform on stage. At 10:30 a.m. is the Barbara Sheppard Dance Academy; 11:15 a.m., Boyle School of Irish Dance; 12:15 p.m., The Wayward Street Players – old-time, string-band music; 1:15 p.m., Hair of the Dog – blues and rock featuring Clifton’s Raymond Liender; 2:15 p.m., The City-Dwelling Nature Seekers – rock Americana music; and 3:30 p.m., Clifton’s Randy Thompson, just returning from a European tour and playing Americana/roots music.

Civil War re-enactors Tony Meadows and the 49th Virginia Infantry will be encamped in the yard across from the stage on Chapel Road. “They’ve come here at least a dozen years,” said Ansick. Also, the Blue Star Mothers of America, a nonprofit group that raises money for injured military veterans, will have an information table.

The American Red Cross Bloodmobile will also be there, and those donating a point of blood will be entered in a drawing for a gift certificate from Trummer’s or a bottle of wine from the Clifton Wine Shop.

The VRE train will run to and from Clifton, or festival attendees may park at Clifton Elementary, the floodplain, Kincheloe Road, Newman Road, and Chapel Road at Frosty Meadows. Shuttles, sponsored by Acacia Lodge, will ferry people to and from the latter two lots. For more information, see www.cliftonday.com.

This year’s sponsors are The Peterson Cos., Ourisman Toyota, Wetland Studios and Solutions, VRE, AAA and the Norfolk Southern Railroad.

“We really make Clifton Day family-oriented,” said Ansick. “And we try to get the whole community involved. So come spend a day with us. It’s the only day the train stops in Clifton.”