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Damascus, Virginia’s Trail Days schedule

TDlogo-smFRIDAY, MAY 13th

  • All day:  Trail Days Ministry Tents at various locations throughout town
  • 7am:  The DVFD will serve breakfast at the Fire Station.
  • 8am-4pm at the Dancing Bear B&B: Front Porch Ministry (info and free snacks)
  • 8am- 4pm at One Way Ministries: The Traveling AT Exhibit will be displayed by “Red Wolf”, A. T. Museum Membership Secretary.
  • 8am–4pm: Mobile Shower Units open at the campground – Trail Days Ministry Team
  • 8am- 4pm at One Way Ministries: Free massages and feet washing.
  • 9am-5pm Damascus Library activities: Charging and Lounging stations, Board Games, Zen Coloring, and Sidewalk Art.
  • 10am-5pm:  FREE Gear Repair Area in the campground parking lot
  • 10am-11pm:  The Damascus Old Mill will provide FREE Trail Days Shuttle Service around Town!  Look for the white shuttle van at posted shuttle stops.
  • 10am-noon at the Old Mill Conference Room: Finding American Chestnuts along the AT – Participants will hear an update on the restoration of American chestnuts, learn distinguishing tree characteristics, be trained on how to report surviving trees along the AT, and see survivors in the Damascus area. Reporting surviving trees will contribute to understanding the status of remnants of a species that once played a key role throughout Appalachian forests before being devastated by a blight fungus. Information from the MEGA-Transect will aid in the development of blight-resistant trees. www.vachestnut.org/learning/science/a-t-mega-transect-chestnut-project/
    * Classroom instruction from 10-noon; then a 3-4 mile hike on the AT (1-3pm) to practice locating and reporting American chestnuts.
  • 10am-1pm at One Way Ministries: Health of the Hikers Dog, free check-ups provided by Dr. John Roberts of VCA Highlands Animal Hospital. www.vcahighlandsva.com
  • 11am-1pm: The ALDHA Hiker Reception will be held in the Rock School Auditorium. ALDHA stands for Appalachian Long Distance Hiker Association. Come for the camaraderie and food, ALDHA Merchandise, ALDHA Membership info, and info about the AT Museum expansion. WELCOME ALL – hikers, hikers’ friends, and dreamers! Volunteers needed and food donations greatly appreciated. Please contact organizer ‘Trailangelmary’ for more information: [email protected].   www.aldha.org
  • 12-3:30pm at the Town Park Gazebo:  The Trail Days Committee hosts Live Music by Wiregrass!  Wiregrass Website
  • 12:30pm-1:30pm at the Old Mill Conference Room: Gene Espy, the second Appalachian Trail thru-hiker, talks about his 1951 thru-hike. (Gene will also be signing his book ‘The Trail of My Life’ at the Authors Area in the Town Park).www.geneespyhiker.com
  • 1– 6pm:  Attention Thru Hikers!  Stop by the Farm To Feet tent in the sponsors area and tell us your story to receive a Free Pair of the new Damascus Elite Hiker.  They will be collecting stories and photographs to share on their website and sock packaging.
  • 2pm at the Damascus Library: ‘Foraging Hike’ with Ben Casteel.  Do you know that useful plants abound in wild places?  Join VHCC Horticulture instructor Ben Casteel on a journey through the Wide World of useful Weeds as he leads a short walk throughout town.  Not only weeds but plenty of native edible and medicinal plants and fungi will be discussed.
  • 2pm: Billville Leki Pole Throwing Contest with prizes. Watch for location signs near Billville Camp.
  • 2pm-3pm at the Old Mill Conference Room: Bunny Medeiros’s book, “Friendliest Town on the Trail,” chronicles how Damascus evolved into what it is today, and gives tribute to the people who helped create its character.
  • 2:30pm-3:30pm at the Rock School Auditorium – Veteran outdoor writer Johnny Molloy takes you on the BEST day hikes on the Appalachian Trail in the South, covering Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. See if you agree with the hike choices Johnny put in his new guide: Best Hikes on the Appalachian Trail South.    www.johnnymolloy.com
  • 3:30pm-5pm: at the Old Mill Conference Room: Trail Dreams presented by Brad ‘Old Buzzard’ Cook.  Be captivated by the testimony of how the solace of nature and the dream of hiking “The Trail” altered and saved a life. Explore the physical, psychological, spiritual, and societal effects and benefits derived from an active participation in the natural world. Be inspired to act on the goal of reuniting our children with this crucial piece missing from their upbringing in society today.   www.traildreams.com
  • 4-5pm at the Rock School Auditorium: Join the Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy for an interactive presentation and discussion that will focus on the elements of the Leave No Trace minimum impact program. This session will highlight the Leave No Trace outdoor skills and ethics program, which is applicable to all outdoor enthusiasts and all environments. This national program is administered by the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, whose mission is to teach people how to enjoy the outdoors responsibly. The Traveling Trainers are committed to teaching Leave No Trace education as they live on the road, sleep 250 nights a year in a tent, and offer this award winning program in communities from coast to coast. Come out to meet the team and say hello!
  • 4-6pm at the Town Park Gazebo:  The Trail Days Committee hosts Live Music by The Boys!The Boys Website
  • 5-6 at the Rock School Auditorium – Get the latest on finishing your thru-hike on Katahdin from Aaron Megquier, Executive Director of Friends of Baxter State Park. This session will include up-to-date information on Baxter State Park, including the new thru-hiker permit cards, and what makes Katahdin such a unique and incredible place to finish a thru-hike. There will be plenty of time for questions and discussion.
  • 6:30pm: Feed the Hungry Hikers! FREE homemade “backcountry chili”, sponsored by Granite Gear® and Allyn ‘Fix it man’ Morton.  BYOB (Bring Your Own Bowl…and spoon!)
  • 6:30-8:30pm at the Town Park Gazebo:  The Trail Days Committee hosts Live Music by Shady Appalachia! Shady Appalachia Website
  • 7-9pm at the Town Hall: 72 Days in Iceland – Join independent film maker Scott ‘Squatch’ Herriott as he bikes, hikes, busses and drives around the geothermal wonderland that is Iceland. He yacks with locals, backpacks in the remote Northwest of the country and the beautiful Landmannalaugur area. He also visits the Sorcery & Witchcraft Museum, the Blue Lagoon and the Sea Monster Museum… just to name a few cultural hot spots. He also, obviously, gets to pet a puffin and never meets Bjork.    www.squatchfilms.com
  • 8pm: Chili & Soup Contest hosted by Billville.  Open to all camps, bring your chili and/or other soup as an entry, class of 2016 hikers come and sample and be the judges, watch for location near Billville Camp. Billville will provide soup cups. Bring your own spoon!
  • 8:30-10:30pm at the Damascus United Methodist Church: My Forty-year Love Affair with the Appalachian Trail. 17-time AT hiker, Dr. Warren Doyle, shares his deep, abiding devotion to the AT with his slide/music show.             www.warrendoyle.com
  • 9-11pm at the Town Park Gazebo:  The Trail Days Committee hosts Live Music by From The EDGE! From The EDGE Website
  • 9pm – Outdoor Movie (weather permitting)! The Damascus Library will be showing ‘A Walk In The Woods’

SATURDAY, MAY 14th

  • Daylight until 6pm: The annual Trail Days Trout Rodeo, sponsored by HOOKED and the DVFD. Prize drawings each hour, and raffle prizes also!  Register at HOOKED (605 East 5th Street, Damascus), or call 276-475-3735 for more information.
  • All day:  Trail Days Ministry Tents at various locations throughout town
  • 7am: The DVFD will be serving breakfast at the Fire Station.
  • 8am- 2pm at One Way Ministries: Free massages and feet washing
  • 8am– 4pm: Mobile Shower Units open at the campground – Trail Days Ministry Team
  • 8am- 4pm at One Way Ministries: The Traveling AT Exhibit will be displayed by “Red Wolf”, A. T. Museum Membership Secretary.
  • 9-10:15am at the Damascus United Methodist Church: 36,000 Miles of Trail Stories – Be inspired, entertained, and/or agitated by 17-time AT hiker, Dr. Warren Doyle. www.warrendoyle.com
  • 9am-1pm Damascus Library activities: Charging and Lounging stations, Board Games, Zen Coloring, and Sidewalk Art.
  • 10am-5pm: FREE Gear Repair Area in the campground parking lot.
  • 10am-11pm:  The Damascus Old Mill will provide FREE Trail Days Shuttle Service around Town!  Look for the white shuttle van at posted shuttle stops.
  • 10-11:30am: at the Old Mill Conference Room: Trail Dreams presented by Brad ‘Old Buzzard’ Cook.  Be captivated by the testimony of how the solace of nature and the dream of hiking “The Trail” altered and saved a life. Explore the physical, psychological, spiritual, and societal effects and benefits derived from an active participation in the natural world. Be inspired to act on the goal of reuniting our children with this crucial piece missing from their upbringing in society today.   www.traildreams.com
  • 10am-noon at the Damascus Library: Family-Friendly A.T. Nature Hike – Spring is a magical time on the AT! Hikers of all ages are invited to join ATC staff for a walk along the Trail in search of the interesting plants, birds, animals, flowers, and insects that call the Trail home. We’ll meet on the covered porch of the Damascus Town Library (310 Water Street) for a short educational program, to familiarize the group with what to look for. From there we will leave the commotion of Trail Days behind for a quiet exploration of the natural world, heading south on the A.T. toward Tennessee. The group will return to downtown Damascus around noon. www.appalachiantrail.org/hiking/hiking-basics/families-groups
  • 10-noon: Damascus High School Alumni Reunion at the Rock School Auditorium.
  • 10am–2pm – at the Damascus Library: Local Artisan Demonstrations including whittlers, So Happy Quilters and Knitting for the Homeless.
  • 10am-2pm: Fly Casting and More! Tommy Cook, of the Virginia Creeper Fly Shop, will be available to assist in casting, insect life (entomology), and other areas of fly fishing. Everyone is welcome to stop by, at the river bank behind the AT shelter at the Southern end of the Town Park!  www.vcflyshop.com/
  • 10:30-noon at the Damascus United Methodist Church:  Challenges to the Appalachian Trail long-distance hiking experience.  A moderated general discussion on: thru-hikes; section hikes; day hikes; rules and regulations; increased use; hiker behavior and fees + permits. www.warrendoyle.com
  • Support the Veterans Memorial of Damascus! The Veterans Memorial Committee will be serving Texas style Barbecue at the Veterans Memorial on Saturday at the south end of the park. All proceeds go to construction and maintenance of the Memorial. Visit us on Facebook @ Veterans Memorial of Damascus. Come on by and enjoy the best BBQ in the south!
  • 11am at the Town Hall: Join us and Meachele Montgomery Martin as she presents ‘Be Free’ about how each trail proved to be a different experience. She will share how a female in her 50’s can discover a new hobby after the children have left home. www.atmothership.com
  • 11am– 5pm:  Attention Thru Hikers!  Stop by the Farm To Feet tent in the sponsors area and tell us your story to receive a Free Pair of the new Damascus Elite Hiker.  They will be collecting stories and photographs to share on their website and sock packaging.
  • 11am at the Damascus Library: ‘Foraging Hike’ with Ben Casteel.  Do you know that useful plants abound in wild places?  Join VHCC Horticulture instructor Ben Casteel on a journey through the Wide World of useful Weeds as he leads a short walk throughout town.  Not only weeds but plenty of native edible and medicinal plants and fungi will be discussed.
  • 11:45am – noon: Honoring Gene Espy at the Town Park Gazebo.
  • 12:00: Free hotdogs in the parking lot of Sundog Outfitter prior to the hiker parade, Sponsored by Kelty and Sundog Outfitter.
  • 12:00pm-12:30pm: at the Old Mill. Mike Bonfils, a 69 year old Vietnam Veteran, who is thru-hiking the AT this year will discuss PTSD, the Appalachian Trail, and how he is using his thru hike to raise awareness of PTSD and raise funds to help military veterans struggling with this terrible disease in his program Walking Off the War. You can also follow his journey at www.walkingoffthewar.org
  • 12-1pm at the Town Hall: The Appalachian Trail and the Virginia Creeper: A Slow Train on a Fast Track Supports a Footpath – Two national scenic trails connect in tiny Damascus, Virginia.  How did each of these trails come to be in this remote river valley?  How did they get built and for what purpose?  Mt Rogers National Recreation Area and Creeper Trail volunteer Marsha Wikle invites you to explore this important piece of our history.  Marsha Wikle is a United State Forest Service retiree and a 6-year volunteer on the Mt Rogers NRA and the Virginia Creeper Trail.  She is an avid bicyclist, hiker, master naturalist, kayaker and dog lover.  Ask her about her trail name!
  • 12:15-1:30 at the Damascus United Methodist Church:  How Has AT Thru-hiking Changed Over the Last 40 Years – Talk and discussion moderated by Dr. Warren Doyle. www.warrendoyle.com
  • 1:30pm: Parade vehicles line-up along Orchard Hill Rd., and hikers in front of Sundog Outfitter/Mojo’s/Subway.
  • 2:00pm: Trail Days Annual Hiker Parade! From Douglas Dr. to Town Park. (Reminder – NO water balloons, but super soakers are very much encouraged! Please do not spray anyone preceding the hikers, including those in uniform such as the Honor Guard and Police, or other parade participants such as trail maintenance clubs, beauty queens, and scout troops… unless they have a water gun too!)
  • 3pm-5pm in the Town Hall: A true to life, feel-good documentary for the adventurous soul that captures the raw essence of the Appalachian Trail experience.  Every year, people of all walks of life embark an epic journey that spans over 2,000 miles and across 14 states along the Appalachian Mountains. Dirty South Bounders chronicles the life changing power of the AT through the eyes of two thru-hikers Bootleg (Drew Simms) and Moon Man (Jeff Brown) and the trail family they found along the way.  www.dirtysouthbounders.com
  • 3:00: Annual Trail Days Auction in the Town Park, hosted by Damascus Realty and Auctions! Gear, Crafts and More!  All proceeds go to benefit “The Place” (donation Hostel ran by the First Methodist Church of Damascus).  Donations are accepted anytime, but preferred by 5pm on Friday; please bring donation items to the Auction Trailer in the park. For more information, contact [email protected] /504-343-3734.
  • 3:30pm: Sign up for the Hiker Talent Show at the Town Park Gazebo.
  • 4pm: At the Town Park Gazebo – Trail Days Sponsor Recognition.
  • 4-10pm – The Waterfall Point Park at the Damascus Old Mill:  The Damascus Brewery presents ‘Trail Daze 2016’ with live music, food, and craft beer, as well as hosting the 3rd Annual Hiker Prom! For more details visit  www.thedamascusbrewery.com.
  • 4:15pm: Hiker Talent Show at the Town Park Gazebo.
  • 5:30-6:30pm at the Town Hall: The Appalachian Trail Expeditions – Find out about past, present and future expeditions up the entire trail.    www.warrendoyle.com
  • 5:45pm – Backpacker hosts its annual Ultimate Gear Giveaway at the Backpacker booth in the campground, featuring thousands of dollars worth of gear from the top brands in the outdoor industry!
  • 6:15pm: Billville useless gear contest with prizes, near Billville Camp at Campground.  Billville Theme will be Christmas: Dress in theme!
  • 7:15-7:45pm: Contra Dance Beginners’ Workshop at the Rock School Auditorium. Come learn the basics so you can strut your stuff later!
  • 8-11pm: FREE Contra Dance at the Rock School Auditorium. Callers are AT thru-hikers Warren and Terry Doyle   www.contradancersdelight.com.
  • 8:30-11pm at the Town Park Gazebo:  The Trail Days Committee hosts Live Music by the Calamity Jones Band! [Formerly the Jones Boys Band]

SUNDAY, MAY 15th

  • Daylight until 6pm: The annual Trail Days Trout Rodeo, sponsored by HOOKED and the DVFD. Prize drawings each hour, and raffle prizes also!  Register at HOOKED (605 East 5th Street, Damascus), or call 276-475-3735 for more information.
  • 10:30-noon:  Trail Days Community Worship Service at the Gazebo in Town Parkled by Trail Days Ministries.
  • 12:30-2:30 at the Town Park Gazebo:  The Trail Days Committee hosts Live Music by Brothers Egg! Brothers Egg Website
  • 3-5pm at the Town Park Gazebo:  The Trail Days Committee hosts Live Music by Harpeth Rising!  Harpeth Rising Website