Artisan Trail Supporters Turn Out in Force for Kick-off Meeting

The early showing of those interested in an artisanal trail in Loudoun County has been “beyond our expectations,” according to local artist Lisa Strout, who serves as the coordinator or “trail boss,” for the venture.

About 100 people showed up for a Jan. 17 Lunch and Learn event formally kicking off the initiative, and a second meeting to spur interest in eastern Loudoun is planned for 11:30 a.m. Feb. 8 at Old Ox Brewery in Ashburn.

The Loudoun County Artisan Trail is meant to highlight and promote local artist studios, galleries, farms, wineries, craft breweries, farmers markets, distilleries, cideries, restaurants, hotels, boutiques and other artisanal and agri-tourism based businesses.

The majority who attended last week’s meeting were artists, along with a healthy showing of representatives from Loudoun farms, wineries and breweries.

The excitement was palpable, Strout said, as some 23 people signed up on the spot to become members. They paid a one-time set- up fee of $40, plus an annual fee of $60 that will be charged once the printed trail map is ready in September. Every member will have a page on the eventual trail website. Those interested also can link to the Artisans Center of Virginia website at artisanscenterofvirginia.org.

“They’re happy to see it’s finally here; they like it that we’re pulling together all the aspects to form a cultural destination,” Strout said, adding that each stop on the trail represents an opportunity to spread the word about other Loudoun sites.

The final launch reception will be a “name the trail” event, to be held at 6 p.m. March 15 at Stone Tower Winery near Leesburg. So far the trail has been known as the Loudoun Artisan Trail, but Strout said organizers are open to other ideas.

The project is being managed through the Artisans Center of Virginia, whose Executive Director Sherri Smith spoke at the Jan. 17 Lunch and Learn event. The center helps communities form artisan trails all across Virginia. New trails are networked to all existing ones, Strout said.

For more information, attend the Old Ox Lunch and Learn on Feb. 8, call Smith at 540-886-1684, or contact Strout at 503-467-8026; lisastrout@verizon.net. Those interested also can follow the project on Facebook at Loudoun County Artisan Trail.

mmorton@loudounnow.com

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