Hillsboro Hosts the Appalachian Trail Festival on June 10, 2023

Thru-Hikers of the dreaded 13.5 mile stretch of the “roller coast” section of the Appalachian Trail will enjoy a welcome respite at the Appalachian Trail Festival. The festival, open to everyone, will be held on June 10, 2023 from 11am-5pm at the Hillsboro Old Stone School.

The Appalachian trail is a large tourist attraction throughout the United States, but when Jody Brady, the original founder and director of the Appalachian Trail Festival, first moved here, she was surprised that some Loudoun residents didn’t know that the trail was a part of the county. 

“I moved here nine years ago and was surprised that not many people knew about the trail,” says Brady. She helped Round Hill become an Appalachian Trail Community to help promote and protect the trail. 

The festival, originally located in Round Hill, was recently moved to the Old Stone School in Hillsboro, Virginia. The festival not only has a new location but is going to include various festivities and feature the outdoor author, Jeffery Ryan, who is a hiking and conservation expert. There will be children’s activities, vendors, a new art show, food, and presentations by representatives of nearby hiking groups and clubs. Several local musical groups will also be performing. 

Thru-hikers will be shuttled from the Rt. 9 trailhead to the festival and given a $20 voucher for food and will also have a camping area provided. There will also be giveaways and raffles for thru hikers and people who attend the trail talks.

Roger Vance, who has been mayor of Hillsboro for twenty years, had wanted Hillsboro to become an Appalachian trail community for years, but due to water issues, the process to become a Trail Community was postponed. Hillsboro recently finished a large project by improving and moving utilities underground, and when Round Hill came and asked to partner with Hillsboro, Vance said yes. But he is not stopping there.

The Rt. 9 trail head is very dangerous, as people need to cross the road while cars are coming around the corner. 

“One of our projects is to improve the Rt. 9 trail crossing for hikers and to improve the safety,” says Vance.

As for the upcoming festival, one of Woodgrove High School’s science teachers Chris Looney and his wife are in charge of the event. He has hiked the entire trail from Georgia to Maine and admits that the proximity of the trail is part of the reason he enjoys living here.

“I wouldn’t live where I am today if the trail wasn’t nearby.”

The festival needs volunteer workers to help the vendors; the kids’ activities, and at the sign in stands. The event is a great way to help promote the trail and teach others about protecting it. If you are interested in volunteering at the festival, you can sign up here. https://www.signupgenius.com/go/30e0848a4a728a1fa7-appalachian#/

Photo provided by Appalachian Trail Festival Fondation and used by permission.