The Kiwanis Club of Christiansburg turned downtown into a place of celebration and fun Saturday, Sept. 18, by sponsoring the 48th annual Wilderness Trail Festival.
Last year’s festival was cancelled because of the pandemic. Some sponsors and vendors nevertheless chose to donate their pre-paid fees to the club and the club had some reserves on hand, so all planned youth activities were funded.
This year’s event included the usual local arts and crafts vendors, craft demonstrations, a children’s area, two stages, an emergency services area, great food all day, and raffles.
A noticeable change to Saturday’s footprint was that Hickok Street was closed by the town for planned repairs. The vendors normally located there were moved to East Main Street and the medical parking lot. The Home Improvement Row was located on West Main Street near Burger King.
The overall festival grew once again as an additional food court was added, and the number of vendors grew so that space extended on Main Street from Burger King to town hall.
The children’s area was located in front of the Atlantic Union Bank branch at the intersection of Main and Franklin streets. It included two inflatables, a slide, and a bouncy house. This location was close to the emergency service location on South Franklin Street that included fire trucks, rescue vehicles, and police cars.
The live crafters area was greatly enhanced and was located on East Main Street in the town hall parking lot. This area included a blacksmith, a wood turner, a basket maker, a bullet maker, hand-crafted leather, a corn shuck chair bottomer, and the Wilderness Trail Museum.
The community stage sponsored by Shentel was in the Dollar General Store parking lot on West Main Street near Burger King with performances beginning at 9:00 a.m. and ending at 4:00 p.m.
A second stage sponsored by Great Road on Main was located on North Franklin Street at the intersection of Main Street near the Atlantic Union Bank. Again, performances ran from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.
Two food courts offered several vendors preparing and cooking fresh food. One food court was on North Franklin Street near the Main and Franklin intersection and the other was placed on East Main Street near the Christiansburg Town Hall.
In past years, the arts and craft festival drew from 7,500 to 10,000 attendees from all over Virginia and neighboring states.
All proceeds from this event benefited the youth-focused programs of the Christiansburg Kiwanis Club, which assumed operation of the festival from the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce in 2009.