Fincastle, known as a town with lots of history, is the county seat of Botetourt County, a county with lots of history.
During this year’s Historic Fincastle Fall Festival on Saturday, September 23, Historic Fincastle Inc. (HFI) will be celebrating some of this history – from the 1700s to present day. One reason HFI sponsors the yearly historic festival is to encourage people to visit and walk around the Town of Fincastle to see its historic churches and homes. This year is no exception. Self-guided tour brochures of the town will be provided at the information tents. The Botetourt County Museum will be open for visitors as well as the two HFI properties, the Early Cabin and the Wysong Blacksmith Shop.
This year’s “History Talks” will be held at the Wysong Blacksmith Classroom due to the changes taking place in the present courtroom in the courthouse (plus there has been some water damage from a broken pipe).
At the Early Cabin, Mrs. Early will be showing her cabin and talk about some of the stresses and strains of raising a family in the 18th century. There will also be an encampment of Revolutionary Era interpreters with a living history display. The re-enactors will be dressed in period attire and will be explaining the stresses and strains of life without electricity or refrigeration.
Descendants from the Monacan native tribes who lived in this region for centuries will also be at the cabin explaining how early tribes lived in the Shenandoah Valley.
The Wysong Blacksmith Shop will have a blacksmith demonstrating how to make horseshoes, nails and other items that were made by the local blacksmith. This is where the “History Talks” will be held in the classroom in the Wysong building.
At 10 a.m., Tommy Moore, Clerk of Botetourt Circuit Court, will be showing some of the record books that are kept in the courthouse. Moore will also be dressed in appropriate attire of the 1770s. Thomas Jefferson’s signature, as well as other documents of historical interest, will be on display.
At 11 a.m., there will be a showing of a film, “A River Called Home” by Jessica Wiegandt. She and three of her friends chronicled their 21-day adventure paddling the waters and white waters of the James, from the headwaters to the Chesapeake Bay. During their trip, they conducted a water quality study on pollution and how the waterways are being protected and what more needs to be done.
The noon “History Talk” will be held at the main music stage in the Courthouse Square. Chuck Geiger and Kip Burton will be honored with presentations of “Quilts of Valor” by the Roanoke chapter of the Quilts of Valor Foundation. Burton was an attack pilot and Geiger was a fighter pilot during the Vietnam War. They both served their country for many years, and this honor is long overdue. Come hear their stories.
At 1 p.m., the “History Talks” will continue back at the Wysong Blacksmith Classroom. During this time, there will be a round table conversation with people who grew up in Fincastle in the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s. Come find out how Fincastle has changed during the decades and how it has stayed the same. Bring questions and listen to their stories.
The last “History Talks” (at 2 p.m.) will be a 15-minute video of the 1965 First Outdoor Bluegrass Festival held in the United States. It was held at Cantrell’s Horse Farm just outside Fincastle. Flatt and Scruggs, Bill Monroe and Doc Watson were just some of the bluegrass entertainers who performed at this historic three-day event.
Preserving and sharing history is very important to the residents of Fincastle and Botetourt County. Come to the “History Talks” to find out something new. In Courthouse Square there is a display of banners of present-day Botetourt County with QR codes offering more information about the towns and settlements in Botetourt County. On Murray Street more banners and QR codes that explain more of the early history of Botetourt County will be on display. There will also be the first previews of some of the new banners that will be put up around the destruction and re-construction of the Botetourt County Courthouse.
At 7 p.m. the Lawson Theater/Attic Productions will hold a concert (“The Most Unique Concert of the Year”) presented by Botetourt Preservation Partnership, Inc. Again, the history of the county will be explored through music.
Remember, along with visiting the craftsmen, artists, musical performances, food trucks, quilt show, petting zoo, and touch-a-truck, come to the “History Talks” in the Wysong Blacksmith Classroom at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2 p.m.
~ Submitted by Historic Fincastle Inc.