National Road Festival this weekend

May 15, 2014
Horses pull a wagon along Route 40 in Scenery Hill during the 2013 National Road Festival. - Observer-Reporter Order a Print

Saturday and Sunday are the two days of the year every Scenery Hill kid loves.

Sure, Scenery Hill is always at the epicenter of Washington County activities surrounding the National Road Festival, so there’s plenty for them to see and do. But those are also the two days of the year when they can cross the highway easily because “you don’t go far very fast” in Scenery Hill when the festival is going on, according to Jan Dunker, the proprietor of Jan’s Tea Shoppe. Traffic usually crawls at a Daytona-during-spring-break pace while the festival is ongoing.

Somewhere around 5,000 to 10,000 visitors are expected to pass through Scenery Hill Saturday and Sunday during the National Road Festival, which celebrates America’s first federally funded highway. The festival stretches from Maryland into Pennsylvania on Route 40 and takes in such communities as Addison, Uniontown and Brownsville before reaching into Washington County.

While overall attendance figures for the county are not known, “we can say that thousands gather every year to celebrate the heritage and history of the National Road at the festival, the unofficial kickoff of the summer,” said J.R. Shaw, the senior vice president for tourism with the Washington County Chamber of Commerce.

Starting at 10 a.m. Saturday and 9:30 a.m. Sunday, food, crafts and other activities will be served in Scenery Hill. A wagon train will arrive from Washington around 1:30 p.m. Saturday, and, at 3:30 p.m., 7-year-old drummer Avery Molek, who has appeared on “Good Morning America” and “Live with Kelly and Michael,” will pound the skins. Dancers, twirlers and other performers are also on the schedule. Fireworks are set for Saturday at dusk.

Free performances of bluegrass music are planned at the Waleski Horse Farm in Fredericktown Saturday and Sunday, with a special gospel session Sunday. The wagon train will be there Sunday and demonstrations of horse-drawn farm equipment and carriage rides throughout the weekend. Craft and antique dealers and food dealers will be on hand.

In Brownsville, just across the river from Washington County, there are several events planned, with the Flatiron Building, Nemacolin Castle and the Monongahela River, Railroad and Transporation Museum all opening their doors to visitors.

Claysville will also be celebrating Saturday and Sunday. Parking will be available at Claysville Elementary School throughout the festivities.

For additional information, go online to

Brad Hundt came to the Observer-Reporter in 1998 after stints at newspapers in Georgia and Michigan. Brad holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from George State University in Atlanta, Ga., and a master’s in popular culture studies from Bowling Green (Ohio) State University. He has covered the arts and entertainment for the O-R, and also worked as a municipal beat reporter. He now serves as editorial page editor.

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