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Wandering Around Washington: If Robert Porterfield could see us now ...

Wandering Around Washington: If Robert Porterfield could see us now ...

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Joe Tennis

Joe Tennis

So, with this week, I’m again wondering what Mr. Robert Porterfield would’ve thought.

Here comes the Virginia Highlands festival, rising out of the grave, after not happening last year.

You’ll find a lot of the familiar activities as last year should have had. Look for ghost stories being told along Main Street, as well as history tours.

Look for crafters along Main Street, not far from the Barter Theatre.

But don’t look for shows at the Barter.

You will also not find people up at the Martha Washington Inn, where the whole festival got started in 1949. It was a summertime thing, set up to attract attention to the Barter.

The hotel said no to putting crafters on its ground a few years ago. As I was told, perhaps the straw that broke the camel's back was finding one of the crafters standing in the hotel restroom, shaving.

The hotel is still part of the festival experience — but not during the summer. Plans are to bring back the holiday market in a few months, when it turns cold. Look forward to seeing it on the hotel grounds.

And, if rumors hold true, look inside the theater later this year for some shows onstage …

Robert Porterfield, who died 50 years ago, may not recognize the festival this year because it’s not being held on the hotel property, and there are no shows at his beloved theater.

But I wonder what he would say if he came back to Abingdon in December.

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