Sometimes it’s the little things that matter most.
That’s what many visitors to the 27th annual Taste of the Mountains Festival in downtown Madison discovered during the day Saturday.
All along the quaint Main Street of the quiet community located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, area residents visited booths where they tasted, tried on, viewed, discussed and bought food, beverages, crafts, trinkets, baubles, amulets, ornaments, bric-a-brac, knickknacks and even the occasional dog treat or bandana.
The annual Taste of the Mountains Festival is held Saturday of Labor Day weekend, and brings folks from far and wide to downtown Madison for a festival of food, music, crafts, vendors and a variety of activities.
The event gives the usually quiet community a chance to show off its wares and the down-home beauty oft its surroundings.
Crystal Garrett, owner of Jenny Lynd’s Pizza on Main Street, said the event draws a lot of people into town and provides a real boost for the town’s businesses.
“We actually get a whole lot of new people in here for the festival,” Garrett said. “And they come back.”
The festival also brings local residents out in force, she said.
“There’s not a lot to do in Madison, so when something happens, everyone wants to be there,” she said.
Garrett, who bought the pizza shop about 18 months ago, said she started prepping for the festival several days ahead of time.
“We use a cold, fermented dough, and it takes three days to proof, so we started about five days ago to make sure we have enough food for today,” she said.
“We double pretty much everything we would normally have for a Saturday. Even if it’s a smaller crowd, we can count on selling double during the festival,” Garrett said.
In addition to the food and crafts, visitors to the festival were able to enjoy a little music on the library lawn, along with a little wine at a tasting tent set up nearby.
Representatives from local vineyards Prince Michel, DuCard, Early Mountain and Revalation were on hand for afternoon tastings, as well as Bald Top Brewery.
The down-home nature of the annual festival is one of the things that keeps folks coming back.
Kathryn Corbin of Gordonsville said she likes to check out the homemade crafts when she visits the festival.
“There’s a lot of handmade stuff here. That’s what I like,” Corbin said. “We like to visit Etlan’s Country Store and Kite’s ham booths here. We always get some of their ham biscuits; they use the real country ham.”
The Corbins also brought along the family dog with them for the event.
Omri, a rescue bull mastiff-mix the family adopted during the past year, benefited from the local vendors who cater to families’ furrier members.
David Hawks of PawPaw’s Wholesome Homemade Dog Treats said he came to the festival for the first time this year.
A resident of Fluvanna County, Hawks said he markets at local events, as well as online and in 13 vendor locations throughout central Virginia.
“I’m up here twice this year,” Hawks said. “Once for this, and once for the Apple Harvest Festival at Graves Mountain Lodge that’s held the second week in October.”
While a lot of folks come to the annual Taste of the Mountains Festival for the food, music and vendors, a lot of local folks come out to spend a little time with their friends and neighbors.
Elizabeth Haines, 2019’s Miss Madison, was on hand Saturday, sampling some local cuisine and visiting with her fellow high school students.
“I’m a senior at Madison County High School. As Miss Madison, what I do is go to the parades and the local events,” Haines said.
“It’s a lot of fun, and I get to hang out with all of my friends who are out here,” Haines said.