“Walk to Freedom” to debut New River setting

In the 1700s, the New River guided kidnapped Radford heroine Mary Draper Ingles home. Now, in the traditional retelling of the young woman’s harrowing experience, the town’s July dramatic reenactment will be set beside the river, making it practically a character of its own.

Steve Frey,
Contributing Writer

“Walk to Freedom: The Mary Draper Ingles Story” is moving closer to the river for this year’s performance. Yes, the acclaimed outdoor drama will be held right next to the New River, the very river Mary followed on her courageous journey back to freedom and family over hundreds of treacherous miles.

The new site at 101 University Drive, Lot FF, at Radford University, is right next to the peaceful flow of the New, and the steep inclines across the river will remind the audience of the cliffs near Eggleston where Mary was found at the end of her trek. The site is also just down the river from the Ingles’ farm and former ferry crossing where Mary and her family assisted thousands of families making their way across the frontier along the Wilderness Road.

The river provides the perfect backdrop for the outdoor drama and will help to vividly illustrate Mary’s intrepid struggle to find her way back home using the river as her guide.

Performance dates have been set for July 14, 27, 28, and August 4, and tickets can be purchased online at MaryDraperInglesTrail.com. If a show is canceled because of weather on any of the July dates, tickets will be honored for a special August 3 rain date. The $20.00 ticket level provides you with reserved seating centered in front of the stage, but you can also bring your own chair and choose a spot anywhere in the expansive viewing area for $15.00.

Be sure to come early because musician Jim Lloyd will be playing “music from the Blue Ridge” for about a half hour before the 6:30 p.m. showtimes. Lloyd plays a variety of instruments including the banjo, guitar and mandolin, and the beautiful mountain music will provide the perfect introduction to the drama to follow.

If you have any questions about performances, email maryinglesplay@gmail.com or phone 1-540-999-1755 and a staff member will be more than happy to help you.

The river is calling you, and what better way to experience the story of Mary Draper Ingles’ struggles through the harsh wilderness than to see it performed right next to the river that guided her so many miles back home!