Forty-six years old, a bigger Kiwanis Wilderness Trail Festival fun for whole family

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In its 46th year, the annual Kiwanis Wilderness Trail Festival will take place in downtown Christiansburg on Sept. 21 featuring exciting changes.

The annual Kiwanis Wilderness Trail Festival, bigger than ever features hand-crafters, music, food, fire trucks and bouncy houses.

With the rainout last year – the first ever in 45 years that the festival has existed – some of the changes that were scheduled for last year will be introduced this year.

A new Home Improvement Row will be located on West Main Street near Burger King and the News Messenger offices.

For anyone involved in the home improvement line of business who would like to participate, an application is on the Kiwanis Wilderness Festival website: www.wildernesstrailfestival.com.

The overall festival footprint continues to grow as an additional food court is added, the number of vendors has grown and it now extends on Main Street from Burger King to Town Hall, most of Hickok Street and some of College Street.

The children’s area will be moved to the Front of the Atlantic Union Bank branch, located at the intersection of Main and Franklin Streets. It will include four inflatables: two slides and two bouncy houses.

A new addition will be children’s face paintings in close proximity to the fire trucks, rescue vehicles, police cars and the live crafter demonstrations. All activities are free.

In past years, the arts and craft festival has drawn from 7,500 to 10,000 attendees from all over Virginia and neighboring states.

The event will include the usual local arts and crafts vendors, craft demonstrations, children’s area, two stages, an emergencies services area, the Blue Ridge Model A’s, classic cars, great food all day, raffles and more. Also, Shentel will be broadcasting NCAA football games.

Crafters, in the heritage and skills area, have been greatly enhanced and will be located on East Main Street near the Town Hall. This area will include two blacksmiths, a wood turner, a basket maker, a bullet maker, a millstone preservationist, a hand crafted leather worker, corn-shuck chair bottom weavers; a spinner; the Wilderness Trail Museum and others.

The community stage will be in the medical parking lot at the corner of Main and Hickok Streets with performances beginning at 9:00 a.m. and ending at 4:00 p.m. Performers include: Blue Ridge Dance, Christiansburg High School Chamber Ensemble, NRV Traditional Karate, Appalachian Shock, Mike Peterson’s Kempo Karate, Tora Martial Arts and Westover Ballet.

A second stage will be located in front of Wells Fargo Bank in the circle near the post office. This stage will feature young performers from this area.

This year there will be two food courts with several vendors preparing and cooking fresh food which include: hotdogs, hamburgers, meatball subs, pork barbecue, Chinese food, kettle corn, pizza, chicken wings, snow cones and ice cream. One food court will be located on College Street and the other on north Franklin Street near the Main and Franklin Intersection

The Model A’s and Classic cars will be back again this year, in the Presbyterian Church lot.

All proceeds from this event benefit the youth-focused programs of the Kiwanis Club of Christiansburg. The Kiwanis Club assumed operation of the festival from the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce in 2009.

Admission to the event, parking and the children’s area are free.

For more information, call 540-239-7058 or visit www.wildernesstrailfestival.com