Clifton Day Was a Go, Come Rain or Shine

50th anniversary event featured trains and tie-dyes.

— The weather forecast and the gray look outside wasn’t the perfect formula for the 50th anniversary

of Clifton Day, but it didn’t stop the spirit and enthusiasm that filled the main street through town on Sunday, Oct. 8.

Debra Dillard was in her 14th and final year of volunteering for the event that featured pony rides, food, games and a train shuttling fair goers from outer stations to the historic town. “Even with the rain, nobody’s unhappy,” said Dillard.

The main street through Clifton was blocked off, and lined with food and vendor booths, while musicians played at a few different venues and the VRE train stopped to pick up an let off passengers from the Rolling Road station in Springfield.

Carly Daniels and Allison Best manned the information booth with Dillard. They are eighth graders from South County Middle School that were helping the younger children with crafts and games, but

also earning community points as well. All volunteers got a tie dyed shirt for their efforts, which matched the theme and reflected the Summer of Love from the first event in 1967. “That’s our theme this year,” said chairperson and resident Barbara Hutto, pointing to the psychedelic-themed shirts that both she and husband Kevin were wearing. “It’s the only day of the year that they [VRE trains] stop in Clifton.” she said.

On the ecological front, it was Margaret Fisher’s turn to wear the butterfly outfit and talk up the positive ideas behind butterflies and insects, while her friend Becky Halbe had the bee outfit. “We’re trying to save the birds and butterflies in Northern Virginia, insects have to eat native plants,” Fisher said. They were from the Plant NOVA Natives organization.

Over at Troop 1104’s Boy Scout tent, Jake Werthmann had a different pitch, selling the lemon sticks as a fundraiser for the scouts. “Lemon sticks have been here for over 40 years,” he said, “it’s good for your sole.” Is a sales career on the horizon for Werthmann? “No, might be a backup though,” he said.

From the early days of the festival, it may have evolved in 50 years but there is a picture of a popcorn machine in 1968 from the Virginia Room at the Fairfax City Library showing popcorn hasn’t changed that much in the last 49 years. Except this year, it was being sold as kettle corn from the stand manned by June McMullen and Allyssa Pulzone. A bag went to Jules Mchenry from Vienna, who compared the kettle corn taste to regular popcorn. “I like it a lot better, sweet salty, a good mix,” she said.

For those not riding in on the train, there was a shuttle from the parking lot of a nearby church.

From the back of the shuttle van, Hanna Parsons was there with her mother Heidi Parsons, who bought a few designer candles. They were seasoned festival attendees and plan on going to the Fairfax fall event next week, so the sprinkles in the morning weren’t a big deal. “We were pretty much going to come rain or shine,” said Hanna Parsons.

To see Clifton Day 2017, the musical, click here.

To see the musical, click here

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