For many attendees, the ninth annual Fieldale Heritage Festival offered a trip down memory lane.
The Saturday festival, which took place in and around the Fieldale Community Center, featured a classic car cruise-in, crafts, music, food, vendors and plenty of other attractions.
Billie Huff, a lifelong Fieldale resident who helped with the event, said the festival was like a homecoming.
“It’s just a joy, because you see so many people you know, people you used to know. Of course, everybody’s gotten older and sometimes you don’t recognize each other,” she said, laughing.
Back in the town’s heyday, Huff said, “anything you needed was here in Fieldale. We didn’t have to even go out of town. You knew everyone.”
Those days may be gone, she said, but the annual festival conjures memories of that time.
“People love to come back here and see old friends and family,” she said. “It’s been good for the community. (Festival co-chairman) Bea Bullard has done just a wonderful job. I haven’t missed a festival, that’s for sure.”
Henry County Board of Supervisors Vice Chairman Tommy Slaughter agreed. He said he tries to attend the festival each year.
“I’m an old Fieldale boy,” Slaughter said. “I started out in Fieldale before we moved to Ridgeway. My grandfather was the first police officer in Fieldale.”
When he was a child, Slaughter said, he used to come to Fieldale every chance he had and spend time with his grandparents.
“There was so much going on over here then,” Slaughter said. “It’s a very unique place.”
Like many in attendance, Slaughter said for him, the highlight of the festival was the cruise-in.
Robert Collier said he arrived at the festival about 8:15 a.m. to enter his truck into the cruise-in: a 1968 Ford F-100 Ranger with only 15,000 miles on the odometer.
“That’s a barn find or a garage find,” Collier said. “I found it last year. A guy had it in his garage and he passed away, and his nephew sold it to me.”
Collier said he enjoyed seeing the other classic cars, particularly a 1957 Chevrolet and a 1969 Camaro.
His friend James Patrick said that he was impressed with the assortment of classic Ford Mustangs on site.
For those too young to appreciate the classic cars, other modes of transport were available. Infinity Acres Ranch was on site offering pony rides to children, and it also had a small petting zoo with llamas, alpacas, baby goats and other critters.
“We’ve been doing the Fieldale Festival for several years, and it’s one of our favorite events of the year,” said Laura Steere, who co-owns the ranch with her husband, Rick Steere. “They treat us so well. They’re always very well organized and the guests are always fun.”
Cathy Shackles, who volunteers with Infinity Acres, said that her favorite part of the event was watching the children interacting with the animals.
“It’s amazing to watch how some of the little ones take to the animals,” she said. “They walk away and they’re still talking about it.”
R.B. Hundley, who owns the restored Shell station/antique shop on Field Avenue, said that he has enjoyed participating in the annual festival since he opened his shop four years ago.
“I’ve seen people today I haven’t seen in years,” Hundley said. “In fact, a lot of people here are classmates of mine that graduated in 1961 from Fieldale High School. A lot of them came back today just for the festival. We’re just kind of getting together and having a mini-reunion.”