ChesterFest promises plenty of fun and entertainment on September 22

ChesterFest returns on Saturday, Sept. 22 to celebrate its 11th year providing 11 years of fun, meeting neighbors you haven’t seen in years, shopping for some one-of-a-kind gifts or even something for yourself. It’s all presented by the Chester Community Association (CCA), which shares a birthday with  ChesterFest.

This year will offer much of the same, but with a few added twists; a great Kid’s Zone, a lot of different types of music, and a row of international foods and fair food – fried exactly the way your sweet tooth likes it. Speaking of a sweet tooth, the “Cherry Pie-Eating Champion of the World” will be crowned again this year. We’ll see who can clean their pie pan the quickest. It’s just old fashion laughs.

And just like the pie eating contest, ChesterFest will crown our best furry little friend during the dog show. Signups start at 9:45 a.m.

Those of the organizing committee said there will be more giveaways than ever.

“We’re planning on giving away gift cards all day long,” said Elliott Fausz, who is the committee chair. “It won’t cost you a thing, and you’ll walk away with a little more in your pocket.”

Eleven years of promoting ChesterFest has given the CCA a chance to give back to the community and help provide a sense of place for those who love to live here. Over the years the CCA has partnered on the  “Welcome to Chester” signs, park benches and Christmas wreaths for the light posts in the village. A landscape renovation of the Chester pocket park at Chester and West Hundred roads has just been completed. A scholarship for the TDHS JROTC and being a great monetary friend of the Chesterfield Center for the Arts Foundation are a few of the things the CCA supports  in the community.

The CCA has more projects in the works and on the books. A community garden, which has suffered fits and starts the last two years, is expected to bloom in the spring. A banner project that will bring decorative banners to the village light poles is getting under way.

Just as the Chester Farmer’s Market started as a committee of the CCA, the Chesterfield Center for the Arts Foundation began as part of the CCA and continues to partner on events such as the Second Thursdays concert. A new project that will become its own entity has now begun, which is an effort to reach out to the world. Called the Chesterfield Twinning Association, the new group has formed a twinning arrangement with Gravesham, England where Pocahontas is buried. The new group will have a booth at the Fest with all the information on traveling to Gravesham and being hosted by a family in Gravesham and being a host on this side of the world as well.

On the horizon: trails, family events, forums, more aesthetic projects and anything the community has an interest in pursuing to make Chester even better.

In the early years the CCA consisted of members only, with dues and special meetings, but now the CCA has become all of us who live here. “If you are reading this, you’re already a member,” Fausz said. “Come to one of your meetings on the fourth Thursday of each month at Howlett’s Tavern and Restaurant  at 7 p.m. and see what your group is doing.”

Parking is at Thomas Dale High School and trolleys will be running all day.

See you at ChesterFest.

Your CCA Board of Directors

Vendors and sights

Shopping for a unique item will be a breeze at this year’s ChesterFest. There are over 70 booths offering items from specialty soaps, to hats and scarves. A gift or an interesting item featured at a booth are only part of the fun as you make your way around the ChesterFest loop.

Itumiray sells handmade hats and sweaters; Cedar Point Woodworks features cedar garden furniture; Addicted to Glass takes glass and artfully works it into pendants and even marbles; fleece blankets will keep you warm this winter through the talent of  Debra Menger and that’s just a taste of some of the arts and crafts at this year’s Fest.

Displays of the best Hondas and Chevys available and a couple of hot racing cars will keep dad busy while mom checks outs the jewelry, ceramics and treats for the furry friend in the family. There’s even artistic food available such as venison, beef, buffalo, elk and turkey jerky.

A complete list of the 130 crafters and other vendors are listed on the map featured on page 4.  

What’s hot at the Kid’s Zone

Run the gauntlet of carnival games and kids activities until it opens up onto the Kid’s Zone. The Zone will have supervised games and activities, face painting and five inflatables. Goodard Schools will handle the zone. You can feel safe with you children having a good time while you chat with other parents.

Other daycare schools will be gathered in booths nearby giving you an opportunity to shop for a daycare for your child. Kids will also have a great time, as mom and dad visit booths, visiting with wondering costumed characters.  Fun for the kids, and fun for the adults just watching.

ChesterFest has always had a great Kid’s Zone. It’s easy to tell when you see happy kids with painted faces making their way around the Fest loop with their parents.

Music lineup entertains, you can participate too

This year’s ChesterFest stage lineup brings more musical diversity than you’ve ever heard. From jazz to bluegrass and doo wop, from the Shepherd Center Senior Idol winners to the 30-piece Chesterfield Community Band, music will be a part of the festival all day long.  

If you have attended the Fest before, you’ll remember the non-musical entertainment as well. The dog show will be first on the main stage with the Cherry Pie Eating World Championship ending the day. Music fills the rest of the day on the main stage.

The street stage may be the choice for those who enjoy a more acoustic experience; The Cary Street Ramblers, who plays bluegrass and celtic music, theater improv, a doo wop pair, and some acoustic blues. You can just sit back, take a brake and enjoy.

Chesterfest Music Schedule
Main Stage
10:00 Dog Sow (Registration at 9:45AM)
11:00 Chester Community Band
Noon  Spoonful Blues Band
1:45 Koinonia Jazz Experience
3:00 Southland Band
4:00 Senior Idol Review
4:30 Pie Eating Contest (Register at ChesterFest info booth)

Street Stage
10:00 Zach Artis
11:00 Cary Street Ramblers
1:00 Darryl Ellyson
2:00 Chesterfield Childrens Theatre
3:00 Feddie C, Don Wade Doo Wop

England swings, join Chesterfield Twinning Association

The times that I have traveled to other countries I have made it a point not to be a tourist. You might say how can you travel without being a tourist? By being imbedded with its citizens.

For about five years, Chesterfield has had a twin-county relationship with Gravesham, England, the county in which the village of Gravesend is located. Gravesend is where Pocahontas is buried. To date, the relationship between the two counties on opposite sides of the Atlantic has been primarily a county government function with only a handful of “regular citizens” traveling.

The English citizens who visited here last year stayed with volunteer families. They got to know citizens of the nation who founded Jamestown, Bermuda Hundred and Henricus. The families here host the English, one or two to a household, keeping the expenses of the Brits down. They have asked Chesterfield to split the government off from the citizens just as they did in Gravesham.

In May the Chesterfield Twinning Association was formed and now it’s our turn as citizens to return to the home of Big Ben. A Twinning member would have to pay airfare and have some pocket change to visit the ancestral home of Virginia. A Chesterfield Twinning Association member would be the guest of a Gravesham resident and travel to famous monuments during the day and have a meal and spend the night with their host family. I imagine taking a day, traveling by the Eurostar high-speed train through the channel to Paris, spending the day, and then returning back to my host family that night.  

The Gravesham twinning group is waiting for the Chesterfield Twinning Association members, those who can do it at a date mutually decided, to arrive in the country and their village.

The Chesterfield Twinning Association will have a booth at ChesterFest near the street music stage. Stop by and get more details and find out how you can attend a meeting on October 3 to get even more information. What a way to travel.


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