The ‘Blessing of the Animals’ is an annual event that takes place at a Heathsville Farmers’ Market every year.

The final Heathsville Farmers’ Market of the season will take place on Saturday, October 17, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Rice’s Hotel/Hughlett’s Tavern. This event is part of  “Make It a Heathsville Saturday,” a local initiative that brings the entire Heathsville community together to offer fun shopping, eats, and activities. 

The public is invited to bring their pets for a “Blessing of the Animals” ceremony at 9:30 a.m., courtesy of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church. 

The market will have special health precautions in place, as required at farmers’ markets. Vendors will be spread out, and face masks will be worn. Hand sanitizer stations will be available. Customers should be prepared to socially distance and wear face masks for safety sake.

Over 40 vendors are expected this Saturday, all celebrating the fall harvest. In addition to Garners’ Produce, attendees will include Old Quarter Farm in Lottsburg, selling lamb meat; Summer Duck Farm in Farnham, selling pasture-raised pork; and the Mushroom Farm in Kilmarnock, selling fresh and dried mushrooms; NNK Farm to Table in Lottsburg, selling canned goods; and Whitley’s Gourmet Peanuts. 

Shoppers hoping to get a jump on holiday gift-buying will find vendors selling quality handcrafts, including wreaths, jewelry, homemade soap, face masks, artwork, basketry, alpaca woolery, specialty T-shirts, crocheted items, decorative glassware and more.

The Tavern Quilt Guild will have a special booth in the pavilion, where they’ll be selling beautiful handmade quilts and other quilted items, such as placemats, runners, potholders, coverlets, and more. The Tavern Quilt Guild is celebrating their 25th anniversary this year.

Inside the Tavern itself, the “Heritage Arts Center” gift shoppe will be open. Shoppers will find locally-made artisan wares for sale, as well as active artist studios.

For a leisurely sit-down lunch, come inside the Tavern Cafe´. The volunteers of the Tavern Culinary Guild are serving light luncheon fare, including soups, fresh-baked bread, quiche, sandwiches, salads and sweet treats. Special on Farmers’ Market days, the cafe´ fries up hot, glazed donuts. For on-the-go eating, breakfast sandwiches, hot dogs, hamburgers, and beverages are on sale at the outside food concession.

A historic landmark since the late 1700’s, Rice’s Hotel/Hughlett’s Tavern is home to four active artisan guilds, all of which will be on-site that day, demonstrating and selling their wares. Follow the smoke to the Forge to see the Blacksmiths at work. The Woodworkers have both a modern and a colonial era workshop in the “Carriage House,” which also houses a collection of antique carriages. The Quilt Guild has their studio on the first floor of the Tavern, and the Spinners and Weavers gather in their studio upstairs.

This is the season-ending Heathsville Farmers’ Market. For more information, visit www.RHHTFoundationinc.org, e-mail info@rhhtfoundationinc.org, or call 804-580-3377.