EDINBURG, VIRGINIA, is spelled wrong, according to a leading booster of the Shenandoah Valley town. "When the first settlers got here in the early 1700s, the place was so beautiful they thought they had found the Garden of Eden," says Joanne Marston, publicity person for this weekend's annual Edinburg Ole Time Festival.
Edinburg (pop. 700) still is beautiful, although considerably west of Eden. Happily, however, it's only a couple of hours west of Washington, making the village an easy daytrip for anyone who likes to eat such things as new-made apple butter and fresh-fried pig skin, to watch such things as broom-making and chair- caning, and to do such things as sing along in a down-home church meeting or race hospital beds down Piccadilly Street Extended through the sheriff's radar trap.
It's all low-key and friendly and fun, says Marston. "We always have a good time, but we try to keep it kind of plain."
The festival commences at 6 p.m. Friday with the dedication of a memorial to Gen. Turner Ashby, a dashing Confederate cavalryman who dashed at the Yankees once too often. The memorial also honors C Company, 7th Virginia Cavalry, made up mainly of Edinburgers (or Edinburghers, since many of them were of German ancestry).
A number of historic homes will be open for touring from 10 to 12 Saturday and 1 to 3 Sunday, including the Hoffman House, an Italian Villa-style manse on the Valley Pike that was started before the Woe (Between the States) but wasn't finished until 1868, because of those same dadblasted Yankees who made the Turner Memorial necessary. The way they built the place was, they dug a hole and made the clay that used to be in it into bricks.
Belgravia mansion (1889), on the other hand, was built locks, blocks and lavatories of materials imported from England in such quantities that the place had its own railroad siding. It's Winifred Dinges Looman's working farm now, and a showplace for Arabian horses.
The Ek Dellinger House, once a funeral parlor, now is a toy museum whose collection ranges from ancient rarities to modern dreck, and gives rich new meaning to the term "miscellaneous." Admission is charged.
A historical pageant, "The Legend of Stoney Creek," will be presented at 11 a.m. Saturday and again, by popular demand, at 2 p.m. Sunday, down by the creek, which runs right through town.
Comes 2 p.m. Saturday, they'll start parading -- or you might say promenading, which is the part Marston likes best "because we all work hard on our period costumes, and we like to show them off." (She'll be doing her Scarlett O'Hara number, in a green velvet gown you'd never guess was made from curtains.)
The North-South Skirmishers will pitch a battle at 4 p.m. Saturday; we have it on good authority that the South will win this time. Then everybody will wash off the powder stains and go fraternize at the square dance.
Plenty of joyful noise will issue from the churches Sunday morning, especially from the Christian Church, where, as in days of yore, the sexes will be seated separately, the preaching will be of hellfire and damnation, and the singing will be rafter-rattling.
The list of events just goes on an on, but we're sorry to have to report that the innertube race down Stoney Creek has been canceled because of low water and lack of interest. Anyone who's ever ridden an innertube down a stony creek at low water will understand why enthusiasm hit bottom.
EDINBURG OLE TIME FESTIVAL -- Friday evening through Sunday night. For more information, call the town Chamber of Commerce at 703/984-8521. Edinburg lies in the upper Shenandoah Valley about 100 miles from Washington. Take I-66 west to I-81 south; the town is at Exit 71. To make the return trip more interesting, take U.S. 211 east from New Market. Try to time it so that you hit New Market at lunch or supper time, so you can stop at the Southern Kitchen restaurant. The entrees are inexpensive and uniformly good, but the important thing is to start with the peanut soup and finish up with the peanut pie.