Lee-Jackson Day celebration planned Saturday

NEW CASTLE, VA. – In keeping with a tradition honoring the birthdays of two of Virginia’s Confederate leaders dating back to 1889 for Robert E. Lee and to 1904 for Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, Lee-Jackson Day will be commemorated with a celebration in downtown New Castle on Saturday, Jan. 19.

Friday, Jan. 18, is a state holiday in Virginia to recognize contributions of both men. Lee was born on Jan. 19, 1807, and Jackson on Jan. 21, 1824.

Craig County Administrator Richard Flora admires a painting of Confederate heroes Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee and Jeb Stuart that is for sale in the Artisans Center in downtown New Castle. Photo by Ann Harrell

Several businesses in New Castle as well as The Old Hotel will observe extended hours over the weekend with events going on throughout the day especially on Saturday according to Diane Givens, chairman of the Craig County Tourism Committee.

“At the Artisan Center which will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, we’re focusing on crafts that could be called ‘homesteading skills’ because they were a way of life in the 1860s,” said Givens. “They weren’t considered crafts or hobbies as we consider them today.” Artisans will be performing such skills as quilting, spinning, knitting and making butter. Old-timey refreshments will be served to shoppers.

At The Emporium Book Store will be open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, owners Phil and Deborah Spence said they would offer a 10 percent discount on Jan. 18, 19 and 20 “on all books, flags, and other items pertaining to the War Between the States.” They will also have a special selection of books. The bookstore is open on Friday from noon to 8 p.m. and on Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.

Craig County residents Jerry Carper and Glenn Paxton will be on hand from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Emporium signing their recently released book on “Craig County Stores & Other Points of Interest” which is now in its fourth printing since the book became available at the Fall Festival in October. The Emporium carries the book on a regular basis.

“We have a hard time keeping them in stock,” Carper said. “To our amazement we completely sold out at the Fall Festival and took orders for an additional 70 copies,” Paxton added.

The first floor of The Old Hotel, which now includes the new Genealogy Library, will be open from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday only. Displays in the Saloon Room include among its memorabilia Civil War clothing, weapons and other artifacts. The 1940 Craig County Census is for sale as well as the print by local artist Linda Smith called “Brother Against Brother.”

The Locust Mountain Grill will offer free drinks to anyone in period costume.