The 66th Chilhowie Community Apple Festival arrives in downtown Chilhowie Sept. 27-29 with music and food, arts and crafts, a grand parade featuring bands that will be performing in the high school band competition, a pet show, agriculture exhibits, and much more.

“This year’s theme, ‘Mountain Splendor,’ reflects not only the splendor of the mountains themselves, but also the splendor of the mountain communities with their rich heritage of diverse cultures that makes our area so unique,” said Rebecca Wilkinson-Smith and Vicki Wilson, co-presidents of the festival committee. “Just as the mountains have withstood the forces of nature and retained their beauty, these communities have endured hardships and loss yet remained steadfast in their spirit of faith and hope.”

The grand parade begins on Saturday, Sept. 28, at 10 a.m. Honorary parade marshals are the families of Will Walker and Lucas Dowell.

Walker, 30, a high school agriculture teacher who was killed in a farming accident in September 2018, and Dowell, 28, a Virginia state trooper killed in the line of duty this past February, grew up together as friends and were beloved members of their home community.

The parade route follows Highway 11 north from near Food City to the high school. At approximately 9 a.m. on Sept. 28, Highway 11 will be closed from the intersection with Lyons Gap Road on the east side of Chilhowie to the intersection with Industrial Boulevard, on the west side of Chilhowie for the parade

Parade participants must begin lining up at 8 a.m. Antique cars are asked to line-up on West Main Street beginning at the western-most end closest to Highway 11 rather than on West Highway 11 as in previous years.

Floats will be judged before the parade beginning promptly at 9 a.m. Ribbons will be attached to the winning floats for display during the parade. These winners will be officially announced in the high school stadium at 12:30 p.m. prior to the crowning of the Apple Festival Queen.

The first float, from Berry Builders and Supply, will be the festival welcome float.

All parade participants are asked to use I-81 Exit 32 or 39. Please do not use I-81 Exit 35.

Rules for all parade participants:

1) No fruit, candy or other articles may be thrown from vehicles or floats or by marchers. Participants are to arrange for representatives to walk beside their units and hand items directly to spectators.

2) No horns or sirens may be blown.

3) No mini-bikes, three-wheelers, or four-wheelers will be permitted in the parade and no ATVs of any type.

4) Any marching or twirling groups with younger children must have a follow-up vehicle in which the children may ride if they become too tired to continue.

5) A current negative Coggins Test is required for each horse in the parade and test papers will be checked before the parade begins. This is per health department regulations.

6) Please keep spaces between participants to a minimum safe following distance to prevent gaps in the parade.

Participants failing to follow the above rules, after being warned by an Apple Festival volunteer, may be asked to leave the parade route, and be escorted from the parade route, by a member of law enforcement. These participants will also be prohibited from participating in the parade in the future.

Monetary prizes for the floats will be awarded in each category of commercial, youth, civic, and religious, with first place winning $100, second place $75, and third place $50.

All area businesses, civic groups, schools and churches are encouraged to enter floats in the parade observing the theme, “Mountain Splendor.” Points will be awarded for general appearance, workmanship, balance, color coordination, complexity of design, depiction of the theme, originality and creativity.

Road Closures and Parking Changes

Due to sidewalk construction and pedestrian safety concerns there will be changes in permitted parking areas and street closures during the Apple Festival. Festival committee members appreciate the public’s cooperation and understanding that these changes are in the best interest of public safety.

There will be no parade parking on the north side of East Lee Highway/Hwy 11 from Pine Avenue to Church Street (where the new side walk is) per order of the Chilhowie Town Council.   If vehicles are parked there, they will impede the flow of the parade and will be ticketed and removed at the owner’s expense.

Free public parking will be provided in the upper left portion of the Little League field off of Chestnut Avenue, and in the town park off of Railroad Avenue.

In order to improve pedestrian safety in the area of the old high school, the Will Walker Farmers Market & Community Pavilion under construction, and the Lucas B. Dowell Memorial Park, the following streets will be closed to through traffic beginning at midnight on Thursday, Sept. 26, through 4 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 29:

- Pine Avenue from East Lee Highway to Mason Alley;

- Chilhowie Street from Saunders Avenue to Chestnut Avenue;

- Mason Alley in its entirety with passage to handicapped and vendor parking provided from Chestnut Avenue down Mason Alley when proper identification is provided to the gate attendant;

- Park Avenue in its entirety.

East Main Street will be closed from Whitetop Road to Second Street from 2 p.m. until dark on Saturday for the cruise-in.

Festival vendors will begin setting up on Thursday afternoon, Sept. 26. The farmers market will take place on Thursday, Sept. 26, from 3-6 p.m. at the field beside town hall.

For more information, go online to

or call 276-646-8213.

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