Abingdon’s 31st annual Plumb Alley Day will begin Saturday, May 25 with the hum and heart of the Appalachian Highlanders Pipes and Drums in a march down the Alley.
The festival takes place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Plumb Alley between Cummings and Court streets. Pecan, College and Church streets will be closed to traffic beginning at 8 a.m. Attendees may park on Main Street or Valley Street or in the various surrounding parking lots.
At 10 a.m., children will decorate the sidewalk in an art contest, and over 180 vendors will surround the scene with regional crafts, clothing, food, jewelry and antiques.
The event will also feature the Kiwanis Club of Abingdon’s annual yard sale, two large inflatables and pony rides for children.
“The purpose of the day is to generate funds to support numerous organizations that promote the health, education and welfare of children,” Plumb Alley chairperson J.W. Hornsby said in a press release. “All of the proceeds from booth rents, our big yard sale and the $1 donation we ask of those who attend are donated back to programs in Abingdon and Washington County.”
The club supports the Washington County Public Library’s summer reading program, the Children’s Advocacy Center, Imagination Library, Second Harvest Food Bank, the Appalachian Council of Girl Scouts and the Sequoyah Council of Boy Scouts of America, William King Regional Arts Center’s outreach program and the Virginia Highlands Festival, among others.
The event is one of the largest one-day festivals in the Southeast, with estimated attendance between 8,000 and 10,000 people.
In the street, visitors will encounter a strolling magician and Zappo the Clown. The Xtreme Dance Company will also perform.
The Mudbugs will jazz up Court Street with their New Orleans-style rhythm and blues music. The Rose Sisters will bow and finger-pick folk tunes midway down the Alley, and the Jeters will be playing bluegrass on College Street. Behind the restored cabin near the courthouse, Simple Gifts of the Blue Ridge will perform Appalachian music.
The event is a reflection of the local community and culture and is made possible by generous contributions.
Hornsby said that many local businesses and organizations donate prizes for children and allow the use of their parking lots and yards. He said that WABN 1230 AM-103.3 FM Radio contributes hours of air time to tell listeners about the event.
Eastman Credit Union, TruPoint Bank, Alpha Natural Resources, the Bank of Abingdon and Bristol Virginia Utilities are some of the sponsors for this year’s event. The Town of Abingdon provides traffic control, trash pick-up and publicity.