Last year, concerns over COVID-19 did what the flooding waters of 2017 could not: shut down the Montross Fall Festival. This year, it was all about making up for lost time.
In 2020, when it was announced the event was cancelled, Town Manager Patricia Lewis said they would have to make things twice as awesome the next year. Lewis and the rest of the Fall Festival Committee certainly gave their all towards accomplishing that.
Amid beautiful weather, people moved to and fro enjoying music, vendors, food, and the opportunity to have a conversation with their neighbors and friends.
Naked Neck Adventures sponsored the Kids’ Corner, and from the looks of things, it did not disappoint.
People were drawn to the car shows. Many eagerly gathered around to watch the first annual Montross Oyster Shucking Contest, which while smelling of salt water and oyster grit, certainly gave a look at a practice of those that ply the waterways of the Northern Neck for a living.
As people gathered to enjoy the sights and sounds that morning, Vice Mayor King gave his thanks to all who assembled. “This is your community, your parade, and your town. Welcome, and thank you all for being here, whether you were lining up the speakers, making parade entries, or a worker. Thank you for all you do for our community.”
Once 2 p.m. rolled around, it was time for the parade, which featured everything from funny cars to tractor-trailers and fire trucks. Four high school marching bands led by Washington & Lee took part. Trailing behind at various points were the bands from Lancaster, Essex, and Rappahannock High School.
From its opening to its finale, the entire event was designed as a tip of the hat to those who kept working throughout the pandemic. The grand marshals, as a result, were representatives from almost every business in Montross.
Some folks commented that they felt the various car clubs had brought way too many machines into the parade, particularly the cavalcade of KTM slingshots and crossbows, but by and large, the Fall Festival was an enjoyable celebration of one of the foundational aspects of what draws people to these small towns. It’s a little slice of America, and an escape from the concerns of the wider world, even if it is only temporary.