The anticipated 5,000 visitors who attend the Orange Street Festival next Saturday, Sept. 7, will find a number of new features and additions at the 44th annual event.
Orange County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Tammy Collins said feedback from vendors and patrons helped influence some of the changes the organization will introduce at this year’s festival.
In recent years, the festival has featured a beverage garden in Taylor Park where visitors can enjoy local wines and beer with live music. This year, patrons won’t be limited to enjoying their beverages in the park.
“This will be the first year people can ‘sip and stroll,’” Collins said. “They’ll be able to take their beverages out of the park and shop up and down Main Street and Short Street.”
Collins said last year, it became clear those in the beverage garden felt rushed to finish their drinks before they resumed their shopping or visiting with friends on the street.
“Since the perimeter of the event is already blocked off, it didn’t make sense to make people stay in the park to enjoy their drinks,” she said. “We hope this will make the event more enjoyable for those who want beer or wine.”
Orange County’s Horton Vineyards and Hammerstone Cellars will be the event’s wine vendors, while Red White Bleu and Brew, from Locust Grove, will provide the beer.
Music will include a live broadcast from WJMA from 9 to 11 a.m., followed by 1990’s cover band Waking Napster. Collins said a new speaker system should help those outside the park area hear the music up and down the street.
At the other end of the street, The Music Room will feature performances by the Rapidan Orchestra fun band, Rapidan Pops and Kenwood Players throughout the day.
Locust Grove-based Dance Xpressions will perform Irish and hip-hop dancing up and down Main Street throughout the day.
More than 225 vendors have registered for the festival, Collins said.
The Orange Street Festival is one of the events within the “50 Ways to Fall in Love with the Foothills” regional tourism promotion in Orange, Madison and Greene counties.
In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the “Virginia is For Lovers” campaign, the three counties received a grant to promote more than a dozen events and activities across a 50-day period this fall.
For more information on the Sept. 7 event, visit www.orangevachamber.com/OrangeStreetFestival.