The Virginia Highlands Festival
For 10 days every summer, Abingdon is completely transformed, playing host to one of the biggest and best arts festivals in the southeast. The celebration extends beyond the downtown street festival, though, with opportunities to play outdoors in nature, attend classes and workshops, time travel to Abingdon’s colonial past with living historians, or even ride in a vintage biplane.
Named “Best Art Event” in the region by readers of Virginia Living magazine, the Virginia Highlands Festival offers activities and entertainment for the whole family.
The 10 day festival runs July 28 to August 6, 2017. For a full listing of events, visit vahighlandsfestival.org.
Anchored by an antiques market and an award-winning juried arts and crafts show, the Festival includes live music, historical re-enactments, fine art and photography competitions, performances, creative writing workshops, guided nature hikes, and numerous activities for kids.
Robert Porterfield, founder of both the Virginia Highlands Festival and the famed Barter Theatre, held the first Festival in 1949 at the Martha Washington Inn. His purpose was to preserve and celebrate the cultural heritage of this area. The Festival, over the past six decades, has grown in scope to represent all of Southwest Virginia. Now it not only preserves the arts, crafts and skills that developed in this region, but also imports talented artists and performers from all over the USA and the world for the enjoyment of area residents and visitors.
Held in Historic Abingdon and the surrounding area, the annual Virginia Highlands Festival offers juried fine art and crafts, antiques, performing and literary arts, music, local history, the great outdoors, and fun for kids of all ages!
The juried fine art show and many of the concerts take place in downtown Abingdon on the Barter Green (110 West Main St.). However, there are plenty of other Festival events taking place in and around Abingdon, from antiques, to classes, to hikes, to photography shows.
Festival Entry and Information
A festival info tent will be set up at the Juried Arts & Crafts Show on the Barter Green at Main St. and Partington Pl. (110 W. Main St.). This tent will have general festival information and volunteers available to answer your questions. While Festival admission is free, there is a requested $1 donation per person over the age of 12 to help support the many activities of the Festival.
Parking and Transportation
Ample parking is available in the Festival lots off I-81 at exits 14 (Antiques Market and Heartwood) and exit 19 (Roses/Wolf Hills Shopping Center). Free shuttles run to Festival sites and to Abingdon’s Historic District from these lots from 9:30am – 6pm.
Most Festival venues are accessible. If you are uncertain or need to make special arrangements, please call the Festival office at (276) 623-5266.