Labor Day parties are in full swing as a three-, four- and even five-day holiday weekend unfolds across the Mountain Empire.
Close to Bristol: Abingdon stages the Blue Ridge BuskerFest on Saturday along Main Street — with jugglers, aerielists, magicians, stiltwalkers, musicians and more.
Look for the fun to kick off at the Imagination Station at 11 a.m., followed by street performers, noon-5 p.m.
Adults over 21 are also invited to Buskers After Dark, starting at 7 p.m., at the Abingdon Market Pavilion.
New artists for 2019 include Brittany Sparkles, a 12-year veteran circus performer, who has been called “America’s Circus Barbie Sweetheart,” breakdancer Teflon Yak and “The Statue of New England,” a living statue from Massachusetts.
Visitors can also see some returning favorites, including Miss Kitty’s Cosmonauts, Jonathan Austin, Jalopy Junction Vaudeville Theatre and Mekkah Jael bellydancing.
‘Long Journey Home’
In Mountain City, Tennessee, you’ll an annual celebration of old-time mountain music with the four-day Long Journey Home Tour and Festival, running today through Sunday (www.longjourneyhome.net).
This year’s theme is “Legacies,” starting with today’s kickoff dinner and square dance, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., at the senior center with authentic old-time fiddling.
Next, look for Friday’s “Buskin’ on Main Street,” bringing the small town to life with music and food, 6 to 9 p.m.
An extended trailer for the newest “Appalachian Memory Keepers” film, “Short Life of Trouble: The Legend of G.B. Grayson,” is set to premiere at 9 p.m. Friday, along with student films from this summer’s AMK Film Camp.
Just to let you know: G.B. Grayson was the nearly blind fiddler whose short career produced “The Ballad of Tom Dooley,” among others.
Saturday’s events include the Musical Heritage Homecoming Tour at the Old Mill Music Park, starting at 10 a.m., in Laurel Bloomery, Tennessee, along state Route 91, just south of Damascus, Virginia. Here, you’ll find the Kody Norris Show performing the music of G.B. Grayson.
Back in Mountain City, look for a new “Legacies” mural to be unveiled on Saturday, 1 p.m., as part of a series celebrating albums with local ties that influenced country music. You’ll also hear a concert by banjo player Kenny Price.
Saturday’s events also include a tour of the Fred Price Homeplace, with a performance by the Piney Woods Boys, at 4 p.m.
Long Journey Home (423-957-6346) closes with a traditional gospel “Sunday Singin’” at historic Heritage Hall in downtown Mountain City at 2 p.m.
From Coeburn to Castlewood
In Coeburn, Virginia, you’ll find the Guest River Rally (today through Sunday) while Breaks Interstate Park hosts its annual Tri-State Gospel Singing (Friday to Sunday) on the Dickenson-Buchanan county line at Breaks, Virginia.
And don’t forget: The Albert Hash Memorial Festival can be found at Grayson Highlands State Park near Rugby, Virginia, on Saturday (11 a.m.-6 p.m.) while the Papa Joe Smiddy Mountain Music Festival happens on Sunday (starting at 3 p.m.) at the Cove Ridge Center of Natural Tunnel State Park, near Duffield, Virginia.
Take a hike to Hillsville, Virginia, and you’ll find the four-day Labor Day Gun Show & Flea Market (Friday to Monday), just off I-77 Exit 14. Or take a short drive to Saltville to discover the annual Labor Day celebration (Friday to Monday).
Rounding out the weekend, look for the Russell County Fair & Horse Show, running Sept. 2-7, in Castlewood, Virginia.