Heart of Virginia Festival is Saturday

Published 6:02 pm Thursday, May 5, 2016

The 38th annual Heart of Virginia Festival will kick off at 9 a.m. Saturday in downtown Farmville.

The festival, which encompasses Main and High streets, will be preceded by a 10K run/5K walk at Hampden-Sydney College at 8:30 a.m.

The scheduled evening music has been relocated from the Farmville Regional Airport to Riverside Park and the fireworks have been cancelled, according to Festival Chair Ashley Atkins-Austin.

“With all of the rain we have had and the rain that is supposed to come in (Wednesday) and (Thursday), it is just too wet to park vehicles out there at the airport,” she said.

“We will be moving bands and food vendors to Riverside Park (on North Main Street). All of the bands should be able to play and we are working on which food vendors will participate,” Atkins-Austin said.

A revamped outdoor art show is part of this year’s celebration, along with a food festival, children’s games, craft shows, cultural events, music at various locations, a classic car show and much more.

Presenting sponsors include Centra Southside Community Hospital, Prince Edward County and the Town of Farmville.

“We’ve really started to try to up the art show,” festival spokesman Sam Bowles said, “and try to really bring that back into focus.”

“We’ve actually gotten a lot more artists this year,” he said of artists’ participation, compared to previous years. “We have 37 artists (who) are going to be displaying artwork in front of Ruffner in front of the Rotunda … We’re pretty excited about that.”

The festival, which will conclude around 3:30 p.m., will feature live music, food, educational booths, crafters and much more.

“We are doing things a little differently with the food,” Bowles said. “(We’re) going to use a different Longwood parking lot instead of El Patron. But they’re still going to be centered up near High Street.”

Food locations also include upper High Street and Main Street near Crute Stage.

Almost 70 craft vendors “all with original handmade work from around the state” will be part of the festival.

Live music will begin about 9:30-11 a.m. and conclude by 2 p.m. at the Colonnade Stage, Lancaster Stage, Chichester Stage, Crute Stage and on the courthouse steps.

Performers include the Voices of Unity Choir, The Heart of Virginia Community Band, the Commonwealth Chorale and the Fuqua School Jazz Band.

The classic car show will begin at 9 a.m. on Main Street.

The children’s area, at Bicentennial Park on High Street, will include Teddy Spaghetti, Robb Wescott and Prince Charming and Flextacy Hula and Aerial Hoops. The activities begin at 10 a.m. and will conclude after 3 p.m.

Dirt Road Scholars will perform at 6 p.m., Nelly’s Echo at 7 p.m. and Class Act at 8 p.m. at Riverside Park.

“We feel the festival gets better every year,” Bowles said in a press release, “and we cannot wait to have everyone see the so many events and items we have in store for them on Saturday. The Heart of Virginia Festival strives to bring many different cultures together, as is seen through eclectic musicians, artists and vendors.”

Weather forecasters are predicting a 20 percent chance of rain and a high of 76 degrees.

With over 170 vendor booths, multiple music stages, artists’ showcases and plenty of food and fun, “no reason is left not to attend the Heart of Virginia Festival,” the release stated.

For more information on the festival, visit www.heartofvirginia.org, call (434) 395-2744 or email hovinfo@gmail.com.