Radford Visitor’s Center to sponsor dramatic performance at “An evening with Mary Draper Ingles”


The community is invited to take a step back in time for tastes of historically-inspired tavern food and spirits reminiscent of the 18th century while spending “An Evening with Mary Draper Ingles.” The special event begins at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 22, at the Long Way Brewery at 501 Second St. in Radford.

Sponsored by the Radford Visitor’s Center, the event has been made possible through a grant from the American Evolution project celebrating 400 years of Virginia’s unique culture and history. The centerpiece of the evening will be a living history performance by West Virginia actress Karen Varunch. Acclaimed both regionally and nationally for her performances of various women in history, Varunch also teaches theatre at Concord University.

We’re so fortunate to have Karen bring our local heroine to life on stage as part of the state’s focus on the season of Thanksgiving and its ‘Come Home to Virginia’ marketing theme,” said Radford’s tourism director, Deborah Cooney.

Mary Ingles’ amazing frontier story, described in the national bestseller “Follow the River,” began with her capture by Shawnee Indians from her Montgomery County home in July 1755 during the French and Indian War. Although she was forced to travel through wilderness and held in servitude, Ingles demonstrated remarkable physical and mental strength. She escaped from her captors and walked hundreds of miles through Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia and Virginia, navigating only through memory back to the New River Valley.

It’s a well-known story and one which we want to tell whenever we can,” said Cooney. “I can’t think of anything more appropriate than to recreate an evening with Mary Ingles at a new business located just a few miles from the Ingles farm and named in honor of the original play depicting her story,” she said. That play ran for almost 30 years in Radford.

Food, mead, cider and wine tastings will be followed by the living history performance. A New River caterer has created a sampling menu of tavern food, and a skilled brewer will be on hand to talk about the history of brewing. Tickets, which can be purchased via credit card at Eventbrite.com or by cash or check at the Radford Visitor’s Center, 600 Unruh Drive inside Glencoe Museum, are $20 for the evening and include a commemorative mini-sized stein. Additional spirits will be available for purchase.

For more information, contact Deborah Cooney at info@VisitRadford.com or 540-267-3153.