More than 60 years ago, a group of women in Hardy County, W.Va., decided to arrange a fundraiser to support the public library. Their signature event — the Hardy County Heritage Weekend — is still going strong today, and continues to be the only countywide fair and festival held in West Virginia.
“The festival is unique in that it doesn’t focus on a specific town, but on the whole county,” explained festival organizer Ashley Anderson. “It still serves as a fundraiser for the library — last year, we raised $20,000 for them, and we also give donations to other organizations that promote historical restoration or put on historical events.”
One of the original attractions of the weekend, a historic home tour, is still the highlight of the festival. “While the event has evolved over the past 66 years, the home tour is still our focus,” said Anderson, adding that this year, historic churches and buildings will also be part of the tour. “We really appreciate the kind and gracious people who are willing to open their homes to visitors.”
Hardy County Heritage Weekend, which will take place from Friday, Sept. 27 to Sunday, Sept. 29, will have a host of other events as well. A huge craft show will take place at Moorefield High School throughout the weekend, featuring many handmade items as well as live demonstrations. There will also be a quilt show in Moorefield Elementary, which is included in the price of the home tour ticket.
Home tours will take place on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. The $15 ticket includes admission into all of the homes and buildings and the quilt show. Kids 12 and under are free.
Anderson says that there will be one big change to the home tour this year.
“Every year since the 1960s, a home on the tour has been selected as the Tile House of the Year, but this year, for the first time, we’re doing a Tile Barn of the Year,” she explained. The winner of this honor gets their house (or barn) drawn by an artist, with the drawing then made into a commemorative tile.
Visitors to the Ben Mathias barn can enjoy live performances by the Bear Hill Bluegrass Band on Saturday.
There will also be a special train running from Moorefield through The Trough and back, which will feature live music onboard and Civil War reenactors. There are only 200 seats available for this first come, first served event, which costs $20. The train trip leaves the station Saturday at 12:30 p.m. for the two-hour ride.
“In addition to the ticketed events, a lot of events are free,” said Anderson. “This includes performances by three different West Virginia History Alive! players, who will portray Stonewall Jackson, Harriet Tubman and Benjamin Franklin.” These performances are in partnership with the West Virginia Humanities Council.
Visitors can also take advantage of a community yard sale, pancake breakfast, photo exhibitions, children’s activities, an antique farm equipment show, Civil War living history demonstrations, pie contests, an antique auction and more.
“At 11 a.m. on Saturday, local author Ashley Wilkins will present a poetry reading, and other presentations throughout the weekend will include talks by local historians on the Definitive Battle of Moorefield and Claypool’s Rebellion,” added Anderson.
There is also a free walking tour of Moorefield, as well as a guided tour with a local historian that is included in the home tour price.
A full schedule of events can be found online at heritageweekend.com. There will also be booklets on-site as well as digital copies online. Tickets can be purchased on the website in advance or at any of the welcome center locations throughout the weekend.