Print | Back to e-WV The West Virginia Encyclopedia

Hardy County Heritage Weekend

Hardy County Heritage Weekend began in 1953 when Mill Island, a private house built in 1840, was opened to the public and an offering was taken to raise money for the Hardy County Public Library. Initially a spring homes and gardens tour, the event moved to the last full weekend in September. Now the annual event encompasses the gracious antebellum houses of the area, traditional crafts, food, music, and Civil War reenactments.

Heritage Weekend is still one of the few occasions when tournament riding, or medieval-style jousting, is demonstrated. The Knights of the South Branch organized in 1957 to revive the sport, which had once been popular in the South. Jousters balance a nine-foot pointed lance while riding full tilt on horseback, attempting to capture three suspended rings which are as small as a half-inch in diameter.

As the event grew, money raised was distributed not just to the public library, but also toward historic preservation and restoration projects and educational programs in the county. Privately owned homes, some dating back to the late 18th century, are the highlight of the weekend. Hardy County has 19 houses and other buildings that have been named to the National Register of Historic Places. Many are open during Heritage Weekend. The National Register also recognizes the Moorefield Historic District, which can be seen on walking tours.

Written by Phoebe Heishman