On 17 May, I split a shuttle with 9 other folks to Damascus, VA to see what Trail Days was all about.
“Damascus is the home of the annual Trail Days festival, and is known as Trail Town USA due to the convergence of four scenic trails in the town, including the Appalachian Trail, U.S. Bicycle Route 76, The Iron Mountain Trail, and the Virginia Creeper Trail. Damascus also is on the route of the Daniel Boone Heritage Trail and the Crooked Road Music Heritage Trail. The Trail Days festival is held around the middle of May each year and draws in excess of 20,000 tourists, making it the largest single gathering of Appalachian Trail hikers anywhere.“
Well, it’s a big fun party. . . a parade, games, all the relevant equipment vendors helping people with their equipment (really: repairing [sewing, adjusting], replacing, giving advice, etc.), all kinds of carnival food, etc. . . and many charitable organizations, usually religious, offering free showers, laundry, and food for the Hiker community. Really, just a nice big ‘Trail’ celebration.
On Friday night, I took a walk into the woods to see the ‘Drum Circle’. This was actually arranged by some Trail acquaintances of mine and they insisted I go, so on Friday night I marched to the sound of the drums. . . In the (dark) video, -hang with it-, you’ll see that the woods where everyone tented out is a labyrinth of people, lights, sounds, and who knows what else is going on in the dark! (Not that I don’t trust co-ed 20-somethings with all the time in the world on their hands, a carnival tent city at night, beer, marijuana, and hormones all generously available . . . )
In the daytime video, you can see the stage where music played all day and night. . . they had performers lined up for the whole weekend and they were all good. . .
I set up in the supposedly ‘quiet’ section of the Tent City but it turned out to be not so quiet as one might expect . . .