The Fabulous 40th Fall Fling – Saturday, Oct. 13th

From Diana Burden

The 40th Annual Wise County Famous Fall Fling kicks off in downtown Wise, Virginia this Saturday, October 13th and goes from 9AM-6PM. On Sunday the 14th, we’ll come together from 11AM-5PM.

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We’ve been saying it for forty years now, The Place To Be the second weekend of October each year is downtown historic Wise, Virginia. Just when the air begins to turn brisk and fall colors are at their peak, the Wise County Courthouse Square and surrounding area will be brimming over with more than 135 craft and food vendors, and a slew of contests and events that’s sure to please most everyone.

Continuing tradition, and to support the health and well-being of our community, this year we’ll have the Norton Community Hospital Heart-One Cardiac Rehab 5K Race and 1 mile Fitness Walk, as well as The My Run, Rock, & Roll Challenge, which is an event for physically challenged, mobility limited, or just plain out of shape people—and it’s not a race! This event is an individual challenge with no set finish line, so come out and have fun while challenging yourself to be the best that you can be! And be sure to stop by the St. Mary’s Health Wagon during The Fling for a flu shot—at no cost!

Also taking place this year is our fifth annual Corn Hole Tournament where cash prizes are up for grabs, an Any-Pet-Welcome Pet Contest, and the Anything Apples Contest. Anything Apples contestants are encouraged to bring their best traditional or non-traditional apple pie, apple cake, or apple butter to the court house lawn to compete for generous prizes and, of course, bragging rights. The second annual Car and Bike Extravaganza to benefit the Heritage Hall Resident Aide Fund will take place on Saturday in the LF Addington Middle School parking lot from 2pm until the cruise-in at 6pm. There will be nine classes and the winner of each will receive a trophy, as well as the Best of Show winner.

Our Kids Korner this year will delight children of all ages. The Wise Fire Department is running a Firefighter Obstacle Course that allows kids to compete in a time trial course that’ll take them over, under, and through all sorts of obstacles. They will also be doing free fire truck rides during the day on Saturday. The Wise County Public Library is coming out to provide free books for folks, and we’ll have festival classics like jugglers and face painting all weekend long. Sunday at 1pm and 4pm Eugene Mullins is putting on a spectacular magic show that will amaze audiences of any age. After the kids mine for gold and gemstones, and when they are all tuckered out from the bouncy houses, they can ride the Mt. Olive Train around and take in the sights and sounds of the Wise County Famous Fall Fling sprawled out around them. It’ll be a weekend your precious ones will remember forever.

The Wise County Famous Fall Fling began as a craft festival with music, but you can be sure that music has never played “second fiddle”, and this year is no exception. One of the things organizer Bonnie Aker is most excited about for this The Fabulous Fortieth Fling, is our continuous lineup of mountain music all throughout Fling weekend. When I talked to Bonnie about the lineup this year she told me, “It’s our fortieth year and we’re putting on the dog!” I googled this—and she’s not lying! The Main Stage will be at Big Glades Amphitheatre and Stage II is the Inn Balcony. Our goal is to fill the streets of Wise with music for all to hear all weekend long.

Saturday night’s headliner Tommy Webb hails from Floyd County Kentucky and has been playing bluegrass music for over 30 years. Tommy is known throughout the bluegrass music industry for his original sound and soulful vocals. He’s had multiple charted hits as a bluegrass musician, but most fans will likely be familiar with his hit rendition of the classic “Tina at the Teardrop Inn”. Bluegrass music is often sung, but rarely is it so clearly felt in the heart of a performer as it is when Tommy Webb sings it.

While you’re waiting to see the legacy that is Tommy Webb, be sure to check out the ever-youthful band Sunrise Ridge, they hail from Eastern Kentucky and are carrying on the legacy of traditional bluegrass music for future generations. Shawn Stamper acts as the both the band’s lead guitarist and musical mentor. The remaining lineup of the band includes Jack Adams on banjo, Natalie Tomlinson on fiddle, Whitney Stamper on bass, and Taylon Kincer on rhythm guitar and lead vocals. Shawn has guided this group to mastery with the band producing a sound that is both new and refreshing, yet steeped in the ancient tones of quality bluegrass music. Certainly an act that you won’t want to miss!  

The Wise Fall Fling is excited to announce the return of Ron Short and the Possum Playboys to our lineup for this, our fabulous fortieth year. A Clintwood, Virginia native, Ron Short lives and breathes the culture and sound of our homeland. “The Possum Playboys” celebrate all the vibrant American folk music forms that have created a landscape of musical culture in America making this country unlike any other place on the planet! “The Playboys” are keeping alive and vibrant the tradition of bands that once traveled the back-roads of America, playing music that pleases and satisfies the eternal human longing for dance and community celebration—playing locally, thinking globally!

Finally, on Sunday evening, look forward to a performance by The Good Shepherd Quartet, also known as THE quintessential Gospel Quartet of the Southwestern Virginia, Eastern Kentucky, Eastern Tennessee, and Western North Carolina region. The group consists of James Hartsock, David Fannon, Donnie Sizemore, and Jim Clark. Since their inception as a group in the early 1980’s, no gospel quartet from this area has enjoyed the success and notoriety of this phenomenal arrangement. The group has announced attentions to retire in the past and, indeed, this performance at the Wise Fall Fling will be their final performance of the 2018 season. Don’t miss the opportunity to experience this excellent band live.

The 40th Annual Wise County Famous Fall Fling kicks off this Saturday, October 13th and goes from 9AM-6PM. On Sunday the 14th, we’ll come together from 11AM-5PM. The Wise Fall Fling is proudly sponsored by the Wise Business Association, a team of people believing in the mission of the Fall Fling to connect our community while celebrating our mountain life with music, arts, and crafts, both traditional and contemporary, and to attract visitors and create interest in our unique marketplace. We’ll see you there!

Fabulous 40th Fall Fling t-shirts will be available to purchase during the Fling. We’ll have Short Sleeve Tees and Long Sleeve Comfort Tees. For more information, and to see a full list of our contests, events, and pre-fling happenings, please visit

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