Celebrating Fall with Festivals and Reenactments Shenandoah Valley

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Celebrating Fall with Festivals and Reenactments Shenandoah Valley
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Go Blue Ridge Travel

Now that fall is here, our Kids Bucket List salutes the fall festival season. This year will be the 150th celebration of the Antietam Battle in Sharpsburg, Maryland.  Back in the 1860’s West Virginia did not exist but instead this area belonged to Virginia. With the Potomac River separating Virginia and Maryland, the Battle of Antietam also known as the Battle of Sharpsburg took place just across the Virginia line in Maryland.  The towns of Shepherdstown and Sharpsburg were very much affected by this ‘bloodiest day in American history’.

The weekend of September 15th and 16th is a great time to take part in three events surrounding this event:

The Antietam Battlefield National Park will also be open and host special exhibits honoring this anniversary.  A beautiful walk or drive thru the battlefields is a memorable experience.

Fall Festivals are a great salute to Small Towns. Young people can learn about history, agriculture, nature, and most importantly about ‘Small Town Life’.  Plus almost all the festivals have kids activities. The Sharpsburg Heritage Festival will have games, crafts, and pony rides

Since I live right next to Sharpsburg in Shepherdstown, I drive thru this lovely village often to get to Hagerstown or Frederick, Maryland. I am not sure I personally know of a more patriotic small town. Depending on the holiday, flags are flying almost off of every single home on Main Street – at least that is how it seems when you are driving thru the town.  

For the older adults, there will be over 130 plus arts and crafts vendors with this year having a number of Civil War Artifacts vendors.  For the small towns these seasonal festivals allow the churches and local clubs to have fundraisers by offering food to the vendors. Any one local will tell you that one culinary experience in Sharpsburg not to be missed is Nutter’s Ice Cream Shop. 

If you are fond of cooking in a Iron Dutch Oven, then on Saturday plan on being there at 10 am to see Dutch oven cooking skills and win great prizes.  Food is judged on originality, ease of preparation and taste. During the event there will be a Colonial and a Civil War cooking demonstration. 

In case, you are one of these people who just want to bring a chair, sit back and enjoy an event, Sharpsburg Heritage Festival will be perfect for you as well.  Starting off with the Rohrerville Band marching into Town Square on Saturday morning followed by the children of Sharpsburg performing songs from the Civil war era, the day is filled with music from Drum and Fife to Civil War String Band to the Community Heritage Dancing on The Square with the caller David Giusti. 

Don’t worry about needing to move your car, there will be buses you can get use to visit the battlefields or the reenactment.  

The Antietam Remembrance Walk is a joint event between not only two towns but also two states.  Although one tends to only think of the soldiers who died that day, the towns and the residents of Sharpsburg and Shepherdstown were unbelievably affected.  It was said that the streets, which were mud back then, were rivers of blood. Unlike the Union soldiers who had hospital tents set up, the Confederate army did not and had to rely on the mercy of the residents, businesses, and churches of the town of Shepherdstown to open their doors and care for the wounded.

2012 has been the 250th Anniversary of Shepherdstown, West Virginia. Join the towns of Shepherdstown WV and Sharpsburg MD in ceremonies and a commemorative walk from Sharpsburg over the Potomac River to Shepherdstown on Sunday, September 16th. The event honors those who fought at the Battle of Antietam and the residents of both towns who opened their home following the battle to care for the wounded and the dying.

The Sharpsburg Heritage Festival is FREE.  There are fees to the Reenactment and the Park Exhibits.  On the Kids Bucket List – this is  $ (inexpensive) experience. 

Become a Junior Ranger at Antietam National Battlefield

Explore The Journey Through Hallowed Ground

Check out Accommodations in the Area for a Weekend Stay!