Charles H. Harbaugh, IV, Mayor of Middletown receives his craft beer sample from Gerri Ludwig, Herndon Woman's Club, at the Labor Day Festival.
Photo by Mercia Hobson.
It's official. Summer’s gone, and fall is here, at least in the Town of Herndon. On Monday, Sept. 4, 11 a.m.- 5 p.m., the Herndon Parks and Recreation Department and the Herndon Woman's Club (HWC) produced one of the town's most popular annual events, the Labor Day Festival, which featured wine and craft beer tastings, live music, and vendors. Proceeds from the event will support various efforts of the town and HWC, including scholarships for students at Herndon High School, sponsorships for campers at Camp Easter Seals, Link Against Hunger Donation, USO gift bags, and more.
WELL BEFORE DAWN, Herndon’s Department of Public Works barricaded lower Lynn Street. They created a pedestrian friendly streetscape in the Historic Downtown District, directly in front of and beside the Herndon Municipal Center. Locals and visitors alike safely meandered down the traffic-free “promenade” and enjoyed the day.
Mark Buackington of Ashburn waited under the tent at Two Twisted Posts Winery. He held his souvenir glass. Asked how he heard about the festival, Buackington said his wife suggested they come for the day. "I do enjoy it. I’d be here rain or shine. This kind of event brings the community outdoors and brings them together. Herndon, keep on doing this," he said.
In the earlier days of the Herndon Labor Day Festival, jazz music was all the rage but for this festival, classic rock, rhythms, roots, and oldies dominated. The Acoustic Sound Tent offered shade and seating for festival goers. On the Lawn Stage behind the Municipal Center, music from the Woodstock generation pulsed.
Holly Popple is the Performing Arts/Special Events Supervisor for Herndon Parks and Recreation. “We found recent crowds respond well to cover music. The musicians here are fully accomplished. When one [band] is up, the other is down. And we're piping the music all over the festival," she said.
Cynthia Hoftiezer, Deputy Director of Parks and Recreation, Town of Herndon agreed. "The event has evolved. It is a wine and beer tasting," she acknowledged. That being said though, Herndon Parks and Recreation Department was ready for the many young families who came that day. Children played the yard games set out on the Town Green and readily danced to the country rock, pop, and soul music.
Stephen Vides-Sanchez commented how nice it was to see small local businesses and bands featured at the festival. With Vides-Sanchez was his friend, Cody Rush. He said, "I work locally. I live locally. It is important to get the word out to support small businesses."
Kat Link was one of the craft vendors. She is the Founder and Product Creator for “Ooh Baby, Baby!” Link said, "I've lived in Herndon my whole life. Graduated from Herndon High School and this is my new business, ‘Ooh Baby, Baby!’ I came to do this show because I love the Town of Herndon. I couldn't think of a better place to have my first show."
GIVEN THE FESTIVAL’S EASY ACCESS from the W & OD Trail, many town residents walked or cycled from their homes; people from nearby Reston could be seen coming into town on the W & OD Trail too, many riding bikes from Bikeshare.
Charles H. Harbaugh, IV is the Mayor of Middletown, Va. Harbaugh holds the distinction as the youngest person ever to win a mayoral election in Virginia. Asked why he came to the festival, Harbaugh replied, "I love going to events in other towns." He added it’s good to see how they do things. "It's also a good opportunity for me to promote our events," he said mentioning Middletown's Farm-to-Table Dinner on Sept. 10 to benefit adults with disabilities in the NW Works Program.
Pat Stark is a member of HWC. Asked how many volunteers were needed for the day's event, Stark began adding them up. "Thirty, plus twenty, plus ten more. That's 60 volunteers," she replied. Hoftiezer from Parks and Recreation estimated another 30 people from the town worked or volunteered on the day of the event. Hoftiezer added the festival could not be produced without the support of the Herndon Department of Public Works who secured the area with barricades and fencing and brought in the picnic tables, as well as the Herndon Police Department "The Herndon Police Department has always done great, making sure we have safe events. That's their number one priority."
Carolyn Berrigan sat on a landscape wall near The Acoustic Tent eating BBQ with her new husband, Cory. She did a little people watching. "You know, sometimes there are not enough people at events like this, and it feels awkward. Sometimes there's too many, and you have to fight the crowds. But here? In Herndon? It's the perfect size crowd."