Bridge to be showcased Saturday

 

Horse and mule wagon rides are among the highly anticipated offerings of the Covered Bridge Festival. The event will be held on Saturday in Woolwine. (Photo contributed by Billie Sue Morrison)

Down home simplicity and rustic charm will take center stage on Saturday, June 16, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the 14th annual Virginia Covered Bridge Festival in Woolwine.

There is no admission fee to the festival, and free parking is available near both the Jacks Creek Covered Bridge and the site of the former Bob White Covered Bridge, according to Regena Handy, an organizer of the event.

As part of Patrick County’s tourism efforts, the festival is hosted and manned by volunteers from the Smith River Rescue Squad, the Woolwine Volunteer Fire Department, community residents and supporters.

Additional help is always needed, Handy said, adding area residents are encouraged to join in and help promote the county’s local treasures.

The festival celebrates the two covered bridges in Patrick County – the Jack Creek Covered Bridge and the Bob White Covered Bridge.

The former is a 48-foot oak construction that was built in 1914 by Charles Vaughan and designed by Walter Weaver of Woolwine.  The latter was destroyed in a 2015 flood. An effort is underway to build a similar structure on the same site.

The festival, which encompasses both sites, includes a variety of activities.

“There’s something for everyone,” Handy said. “From the horse and mule drawn wagon rides” offered for a small fee, “to the live musical performances scheduled at both sites throughout the day.”

The lineup of performers includes those dedicated to preserving bluegrass, gospel, country, blues, old time string, and Americana music, Handy said.

Performers at the Jacks Creek site include Paula Dellenbeck, Janet Turner accompanied by Mac Traynham, The F.A.R.M.  T.E.A.M., and Charles Bowman and band, she said.

Performers at the Bob White site include Shelley Roberts, The Compton’s, Mountain Melodies, and Over the Hill Gang, Handy said, adding the horse and mule wagon rides between the bridge sites are always a highly anticipated part of the festival.

A “duck race” in the river near Jacks Creek Bridge is another popular event, Handy said. The race will be held at 3:30 p.m., with prizes awarded for first, second and third place winners, she added.

Artisan, craft and food vendors also will be on site, situated in a field near Jacks Creek Bridge, which spans the Smith River and is located just off Virginia 8 North on Jacks Creek Road.

The site of the former Bob White Bridge is located a short distance away, just off Elamsville Road.

“We hope everyone will attend the festival and ‘experience the simple life,’” Handy said of the festival that showcases the covered bridge sites and highlights the surrounding area.

The county is proud to claim its heritage associated with the historical covered bridges and of its local festival which was officially recognized as a state event during the 2007 session of the Virginia General Assembly, according to a release from the Patrick County Tourism Office.

Free vendor spaces also are still available. Call (276) 930-2578 for more information.

Additional information is available at www.facebook.com/virginiacoveredbridgefestival, the county’s tourism website at www.visitpatrickcounty.org, or by calling (276) 930-2578.

The 8th annual Covered Bridge 5K Run/Walk will be held early the morning of the festival.  For further information, contact Stephanie Vipperman at (276) 694-3945 or stephanievipperman@embarqmail.com.

The festival also is a 2018 partner of the Crooked Road’s Mountain of Music Homecoming. For more information, visit www.mtnsofmusic.com

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