By KATHLEEN SHAW
Daily News-Record 10/12/19
MASSANUTTEN — If you find yourself in Massanutten today and notice the lush sounds of nature have been replaced with the rattling strum of blues and rock, do not be alarmed. It is fall festival season, and Massanutten Resort is hosting its annual autumn party all Saturday long.
For 21 years, the resort has celebrated fall with a day of food, crafts and activities. Set along the mountainous ridges of McGaheysville, visitors can perch from a bird’s view with $5 chairlift rides or stay low to cruise the beer garden.
Tickets for the day are $15 at the gate per person and all proceeds go to the McGaheysville and Elkton fire and rescue squads. Kenny Hess, director of sports and risk management, said the festival welcomes over 5,000 visitors and raises about $20,000 annually for local fire and rescue agencies in the area.
Bands will keep the mountains singing throughout the day. Blues band Mojo Mothership performs from 12-1:30 p.m., Strong Water plays Americana folk sound from 2- 3: 30 p. m. and Red Dirt Revolution brings high energy country tunes from 4-5:30 p.m.
Mojo Mothership is a Winchester-based music group reminiscent of Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker. Tim Farris, lead guitarist for Mojo Mothership, said the band has never played in the area before and is excited for their daybreak to be at an event that gives back to emergency medical services.
“We love our first responders. We love the firemen,” Farris said. “Law enforcement has been deeply embedded into several levels of my family and with different people in the band. And we love being able to share what we do with the community.”
MillerCoors, Blue Moon, Cobbler Mountain Cider and CrossKeys Vineyard are offering selection of beverages for the event, so attendees 21 and older can enjoy wine, cider or beer. Food will be available for purchase from food trucks including Big Fat Daddy’s, K’s Grill and Jack Brown’s.
Families have a variety of seasonal activities to choose from such as pumpkin painting and cornhole. Hess said that the festival has expanded over the years to bring more family fun, but it originally began as a celebration of the season and artisans in the area.
“It really kind of started as a craft fair and fall fest with some chairlift rides, then we threw in the music and the beer garden and all that stuff kind of as we evolved,” Hess said.
An array of vendors will have woodcraft products, cosmetics and woven goods for sale among other gifts. Becky Shifflett, owner of Off the Hook With Becky, is a crochet and decal artist who is participating in the festival for the first time today. She said the opportunity to attend as a vendor was competitive, so she is excited at the opportunity to sell at the scenic venue.
“I live in Massanutten, and I do all the other local festivals. I’ve applied other years but this is the first year I received a spot,” Shifflett said.
Today’s festivities begin at 11:30 a.m. and chairlift rides start 15 minutes after. Rides stop at 3 p.m. and the day finishes off at 5:30 p.m. Kids under seven are admitted for free.