Vinton celebrates 62nd Annual Dogwood Festival

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Traditionally, the Vinton police chief heads up the Dogwood Parade, but Chief Tom Foster elected to start a new tradition with the lead car being driven by the Vinton Officer of the Year Sgt. Michael Caldwell.

Vinton held its 62nd Annual Dogwood Festival April 26-30. There were concerts (Fuzzy Logic, Rutledge, Leggz, Riptide, and the Band of Oz) and the carnival. On Saturday there was the crowning of the 2017 Dogwood Queen and recognition of her court at the Vinton War Memorial.

There were craft and food vendors, children’s activities (inflatables, crafts, and a petting zoo), and entertainment throughout the town on April 29, the day of the  annual Dogwood Festival parade. The day started off with a 5K distance run.

The William Byrd Jazz Band performed at the Farmers’ Market, along with vocalist Melissa McSherry, the Floyd Ward Dance ensemble, and the Hidden Valley Jazz Band There was a World Tai Chi Day demonstration and alsoBluegrass bands at the Vinton Baptist parking lot stage. Thrasher Memorial was the site of the annual Antique Car Show. Thrasher also sponsored the building of a mosaic Hope Wall at the Vinton Market, described by their Prayer Ministry Team leader Carol BeVille as the “HOPEs and Dreams of area folks for Vinton and beyond.”

There were politicians, too. Democrat Ben Shepherd, who is running for the Vinton Board of Supervisors seat, set up a booth downtown. Republican Jason Peters, who holds that seat and is running for re-election, rode in the parade with his wife and children representing the board. Congressman Bob Goodlatte also appeared in the parade, along with Vinton Mayor Brad Grose, Vice Mayor Matt Hare, and Councilwoman Sabrina McCarty.

There were enthusiastic crowds despite blistering temperatures– kept safe by a massive presence of Vinton First Aid Crew volunteers– and over a ton of water and soda donated by Kroger.

The parade was led by Vinton Police Department Officer of the Year Michael Caldwell. The chief of police usually heads up the parade, but Chief Tom Foster elected  to honor Sgt. Caldwell and took over his post so Caldwell could drive the lead car.

Highlights of the parade included the appearance of Vinton native Chris Keaton as Grand Marshal, the Dogwood Queen and Court float, the Marching Terriers band, the Byrd Alumni Band, and children on floats from various area preschools and organizations. Many baton twirling groups, both children and adults, braved the heat to march, along with roller skaters, bicyclists, and motorcyclists. There were dogs and horses, clowns, fire engines, and other public safety vehicles. “Elvis” also made an appearance.

Photos from the day’s events can be found on The Vinton Messenger Facebook page.