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Craft Beer and Music Festival held at Happy Retreat

By Staff | Sep 14, 2018

Muddy conditions did not deter folks from enjoying themselves at the third annual Craft Beer and Music Festival at Happy Retreat. Photo by Toni Milbourne.

SHEPHERDSTOWN — The third annual Craft Beer and Music Festival to benefit Happy Retreat in Charles Town went on as scheduled Saturday, despite periods of rainfall throughout the day.

The festival, located on the grounds of Happy Retreat, the historic property of George Washington’s brother Charles Washington, raised funds for the continued restoration and preservation of the historic home.

Walter Washington, a descendant of the Washington family and member of the Friends of Happy Retreat organization, said that while attendance was down some due to the poor weather conditions, he believed there were at least 500 in attendance throughout the day.

“There was a 30 degree drop in temperatures from the first year,” Washington said. Last year’s highs reached about 95 degrees.

David and Andrea Kling, of Charles Town, said they had attended the festival last year as well, but didn’t mind the change in the weather.

“There are definitely fewer people than last year, but it’s a lot of fun to come to and a little rain doesn’t hurt,” David said.

Over 30 vendors offered food and beverages from around the local area and beyond at the festival. Some of the event’s brewers were from as far away as Ohio, and as close as Charles Town. Visitors could test multiple brews as they made their way around an area set with tables. Food vendors joined the brew masters, and folks enjoyed tasty treats along with their drink samples.

According to Washington, the board will use the event’s proceeds to continue restoring Happy Retreat.

“We are working on the stone kitchen to get it back to its original shape, Washington said, mentioning that two parlors inside the manor home had already been restored.

Attendees at the festival were able to take tours inside the home to view the parlors and other areas of the home. Docents were on hand to share historical information about the home and its period furnishings and artwork.

Sharing historic facts with visitors, volunteer Rick Snowden showed event attendees some of Happy Retreat’s displays, including one of a series of Resolutions in opposition to the Stamp Act.

“On September 15, the DAR [Daughters of the American Revolution] will be here,” Snowden said. A historic marker will be dedicated that day at 1 p.m., honoring the service of Charles Washington as a patriot of the American Revolution.

Walter Washington said the hope of his and the Friends of Happy Retreat, is that the home will continue to be used for festivals and other events for many years to come. The goal is to preserve the home and in doing so allow individuals to rent it for all sorts of gatherings.

“We want to make it a place where things are happening, not an old house museum,” Washington said.