ROMNEY, W.Va. — The Hampshire Highlands Arts & Music Festival will be held Sept. 14 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Planners are hoping the whimsically decorated festival grounds on South High Street will appeal to everyone from “toddlers, teens, in-betweens and the young at heart” to join in celebrating a plethora of local arts and music. A sculpture centerpiece that will be in place for the event is inspired by artist Dale Chihuly.
Sponsored by the Hampshire County Arts Council, the event is free and open to the public. Containers will be available for donations.
“Bubbles, bubbles, and more bubbles will entertain even the smallest of visitors,” Joanne Snead, co-chair of the festival along with her husband, Charlie, said in an emailed news release. “Two puppet shows will delight all ages. Would-be puppeteers can create performances with animal kingdom hand puppets in their own show booth.”
The Sneads both serve on the board of the arts council.
The festival will feature music performances by local groups, ranging from traditional Appalachian, pop, rock and jazz. All the while, artists will be on hand displaying and offering for sale their diverse creative works.
Musical performances throughout the day will include Hay Fever, Honey Bee Community Chorus, Romney Middle School Chorus and the Hampshire Ukulele Club, as well as a local teen band, Crunchy Half Notes. The Supper Club will cap off the evening with jazz.
An added attraction will be performances by the three winners of The River House’s open mic competition the evening before the festival. That event also is open the public.
Morning and afternoon puppet show performances of “All Hands In” will emphasize a secondary festival theme of protecting natural resources by reusing and recycling whenever possible. The Earth Art booth will help festival goers re-purpose trash and recyclables into useable items and treasures. Youth of the Youth Environmental Program will be in the Kids Art Tent with recyclables and supplies waiting to be turned into fun art projects. Visitors can decorate reusable shopping bags to have for their daily use.
Other hands-on art activities around the festival grounds will include Community Mural Squares, where residents of all ages can add their personal touch to parts of a large butterfly mural to be on public display. The Hampshire Library group will offer varied arts projects.
Creative, handcrafted and personally designed art will be displayed and offered for sale by local artists, including stained glass, photography, fishing lures, jewelry, fiber arts and children’s clothing, books, wood items, paintings and blown glass with demonstrations.
Food, including barbecue, hamburgers, hot dogs, funnel cakes and ice cream bars will be available.
“Relax with a mimosa or glass of wine in the Hampshire Co-op’s Wine Bar throughout the day,” said Joanee Snead. Colorful festival T-shirts will be on sale at the Hampshire Arts Council’s information booth.
In addition, a guided hike at the Ice Mountain Preserve will be offered on Sept. 15, along with Ducks on the South Branch, a rubber ducky race with music, food, games and a scarecrow-building contest.
More information and a full schedule of events may be found online at www.hampshirearts.org or Hampshire Highlands Arts & Music on Facebook.
Other festival sponsors are the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History, Bank of Romney, Koolwink Motel, FNB, the Loy Foundation and Spring Valley Farm and Orchard.