EWING, Va. — Two towering water slides and a free hot dog lunch highlight this year’s annual Wilderness Road State Park Community Appreciation Day and Back to School Bash set for Saturday, from 2 to 7 p.m.
The hotdog lunch kicks off the event at 2 p.m. Bounce houses, free school supplies, historical programming and a kids fair also headline the event which offers fun for all ages.
The Community Appreciation Day and Back to School Bash offers guests activities such as: Bounce houses, kids train rides, historical programming at Martin’s Station, a hot dog lunch and the Backyard Burger Battle all for half the normal parking fee at just $2 per vehicle so everyone can come out and enjoy their state park.
The schedule of events include: Free hot dog lunch from 2-3 p.m.; inflatables and water slides, 2-7 p.m.; a kids fair, 2-5:30 p.m.; fort demonstrations, 2-6 p.m.; Parker RedFox (Virginia State Parks mascot character), 3-3:30 p.m.; children’s train rides, 3-7 p.m.; hayrides, 3-7 p.m. (interpretive hayrides, 4-6 p.m.); Karlan Mansion tours, 3:15-4 p.m.; Backyard Burger Battle, 4:15-5 p.m.; Tall Tree Tales outdoor theatre encore presentation, 5:30-6 p.m.; and War and Warriors, 6:30-7 p.m.
As the area’s children prepare to return to school, the park is pleased to be able to give away some free back-to-school supplies, provided by Friends of Wilderness Road State Park, and will once again host a special book giveaway by Sherry Trinkle, representing the Children’s Reading Foundation. The books target the younger age group with Trinkle excited about participating in her second Back to School Bash. The books and school items will be handed out while supplies last.
The park will also be conducting their first ever grilling competition called the Backyard Burger Battle during the event. Teams, or individuals, must grill/cook their backyard burger creation onsite, and at least 50 percent of the item presented for judging must be prepared onsite.
A cash prize of $50 will be awarded to the winning team, along with the title, Wilderness Road Backyard Burger Battle champion.
A fun-filled kids fair games and activities include giant bubbles, corn hole, giant tic tac toe, face painting, balloon animals, football toss and a rain gutter regatta with kids using water-squirters to race their boats to victory. The Nature Center will be open as well, providing kids an opportunity to observe animal hides, tracks, skulls and more.
Special tours of the Karlan Mansion will be led by Frances Robertson Inwood, a descendant of the Ely family who built the home in 1878.
A new addition to this year’s event is hayrides. Take a tour around the park, see Martin’s Station from a unique perspective and travel down the Wilderness Road during this approximate 20-minute adventure. Also, first-person historical interpretive hayrides with Nancy Ward, a Beloved Woman of the Cherokee, will be conducted.
Those interested in history will be in for a treat as the folks at Martin’s Station will perform various 18th century demonstrations throughout the day, as well as a special War and Warriors program that starts with a guided walk back to the Native Camp from the Robinson Cabin. The evening program offers a better understanding of the weapons, skills, and techniques used by native warriors in their struggle against settlers moving into Kentucky.
An encore presentation of Tall Tree Tales with Bucky, Twig & Squirrel will be performed at the park’s amphitheater. This outdoor comedy skit with a nature theme offers interesting facts about native wildlife through embellished stories presented by three very colorful characters who seem to have a rather close connection with their furry friends. This can’t miss live outdoor event presented on stage is for children of all ages, including those adults that are really kids at heart. Prepare for unique stories, jokes and a ton of fun.
For more information, or to register your team for the Backyard Burger Battle, contact the park office at 276-445-3065 or visit the Friends of Wilderness Road State Park official website,www.friendsofwildernessroad.org.