The Heritage Festival

Experience a revamped festival celebrating Southwest Virginia’s unique heritage. Emphasis has been placed on making the festival even more enjoyable for visitors featuring handmade Appalachian crafts, live music, demonstrations and more. This year’s music lineup is headlined by country music artist Jimmy Rose, who grabbed the spotlight of Season 8 of America’s Got Talent where he finished third and Denise Lawson Glass, who will perform her very popular Patsy Cline tribute. Storytellers and woodcarvers will also take the stage during the event which also includes Appalachian crafts for sale, demonstrators showcasing their time-honored skills and a children’s festival where the young ones enjoy fun and educational activities all with an Appalachian theme. Enjoy an old fashioned apple butter stir, watch the hands of a basket weaver and take a stroll inside the Karlan Mansion to see quilting demonstrations. Admission is now just $5 per vehicle. Begins at 10 a.m.

From its humble beginning as one of Wilderness Road State Park’s first special events, to one of the area’s most celebrated fall festivals, the Heritage Festival remains a staple for the Friends of Wilderness Road State Park. The Friends have sponsored the annual event each year which serves as their primary fundraiser in their effort to support the park.

Each year, the golden sounds of live music dance on the fresh autumn air, mixing with the mouth-watering smell of old fashion food to create a unique combination that truly celebrates this area’s rich heritage. Add in a touch of fall colors from the massive trees that line the lawn of the Karlan Mansion and the perfect setting for a fall festival is born.

Authentic handmade Appalachian Crafts and live music highlight the event, taking many back in time where they can reflect on their heritage. The Children’s Festival continues to be a very popular part of the Heritage Festival with activities that include old fashioned toys and games that feature and Appalachian theme.

The Karlan Mansion will be open during the day with pictures and family stories to help tell the history of the mansion, originally known as the Ely Mansion, built by Robert Ely in 1878. Also inside the mansion, watch the skillful hands of quilters as they showcase their time-honored tradition.

The park staff is looking to highlight local craft demonstrators to allow guests to see how these Appalachian treasures are crafted. Basket-weaving, chair caning, apple butter stir, walking stick carving, quilting, corn shuck doll making, wood carving and more can be seen during your visit.

​During your visit, journey back to another time, another culture, another heritage. Martin’s Fall Encampment at Historic Martin’s Station brings the frontier to life with a weekend of history and adventure. Become immersed in living history as you meet historical figures such as Joseph Martin, John Redd and others as they gather for a festive social before the harsh winter months invade the Powell’s Valley. Visit an 18th century market faire, meet skilled colonial tradesmen and participate in life as it was on Virginia’s frontier.