Marion (VA) The Town of Marion has long welcomed summer visitors on the third weekend in July with the Hungry Mother Arts & Crafts Festival and the Downtown Chili Championship.  This year, the community has added even more activities, providing a weekend full of free- and low-cost entertainment for all ages.

ALL WEEKEND:  The 42nd Annual Hungry Mother Festival, the longest running festival in the Virginia State Park system, features three days of arts, crafts, food, and entertainment at nearby Hungry Mother State Park. Parking: $6 per day, or $9 for a weekend pass.  For a full schedule, visit

Event hours: Friday, 10am-6pm

                         Saturday, 10am-6pm

                         Sunday, 10am-5pm

FRIDAY:  The Town of Marion, in partnership with Marion Downtown, welcomes "Phantom" for a live concert and street dance on Main Street in front of the courthouse.  Attendees are encouraged to bring their lawn chairs or their dancing shoes.  Music starts at 8pm.  (Main Street will be closed Friday from Sheffey Street to Church Street from 6pm until 11:30pm).

SATURDAY:  Downtown's famous Chili Championship, celebrating its 30th year, moves to Saturday night!  Over a dozen chili teams will compete for the title of "Best Chili in Town," with tasting tickets available beginning at 6pm for $5.  

Main Street will be closed Saturday from Sheffey Street to Pendleton Street beginning at 12noon for event setup.

8am-12noon - Customer Appreciation Day at Marion Farmers Market - If you haven't had a chance to visit the Farmers Market, here's your chance! Participating vendors will be hosting free samplings, and showcasing the best of what Southwest Virginia has to offer! Fresh local produce, locally grown meats, eggs, flowers and herbs, baked goods, sourdough bread, and lots of handmade crafts!

12:30pm - Sweetie Pie's Ice Cream Parlor and SpaceWalk presents the Broad Street Slip N Slide from 12:30-3pm.

2:00pm - Participating Downtown restaurants open outdoor dining and beverage gardens on Main Street.

3:00pm -  Chili Teams receive official command to begin cooking (teams lined up on Courthouse block).

3:00pm - Southwest Virginia's only Zero K Fun Run registration begins on the Iron Street Mall.  Fee is $10, with all proceeds benefitting Smyth County Humane Society.

4:00pm - The Cliffside Cigar Club and Bow Tie Pro Djs present the inaugural Iron Street Mall Zero K.  Three heats - fun run, costume run, and four person relay.  (Winners announced 4:45pm on the Main Stage).

4:00pm - The Henderson School of Appalachian Arts features Artist-in-Residence Jack Taylor and Glass/Neon artist Ed Biggar with a Gallery Opening at the Wayne C. Henderson School of Appalachian Arts, 203 North Church Street in downtown Marion from 4-6pm.  For more information, visit

5:00pm - LIVE MUSIC WITH JIGSAW JANE on the Main Stage - A locally known band from right here in Southwest Virginia and East Tennessee, you may have heard them at Marion Downtown's Block Party events in the previous years. Offering a wide array of cover music, they play everything from classic, southern and alternative rock, to old school and new age country. If you listen closely, they may even throw in an occasional original tune. Sometimes, they even throw in a little blues, or a song or two from your favorite hair-bands of the 80s. The band has many years of experience, and no matter the event, they pour their heart and soul in to every performance.

5:00pm - "Shine 'nShow" Car and Motorcycle Show on Broad Street - This year, cars, trucks and motorcycles will take over Broad Street, where the car show will have its own designated area! Participants vehicles are showcased on Broad Street, and commemorative dash plaques are rewarded to the first 100 participants. Trophies for "People's Choice, "Participants Choice, and "Best in Show" for cars and motorcycles will be awarded at the end of the night along with chili cook-off winners. Entry fee is $25, where $5 will be donated to the Iron Warriors Motorcycle Club. All participants MUST register on-site beginning at 5pm. ***YOU MUST ENTER THROUGH LEE STREET***

6:00pm - Chili Tasting ticket bracelets go on sale ($5 per person), and chili is ready for tasting!

6:30pm - "The Hungriest Mother Great American Food Challenges" at the Main Stage, featuring delectable's from downtown eateries for the gastronomic adventurers!  Ten participants for each contest.  Pies, pizza, hush puppies, hot wings and more!

7:00pm - LIVE MUSIC WITH FOLK SOUL REVIVAL on the Main Stage - After last year's down pour during the Downtown Celebration Festival, we wanted to give them a chance to come back and give Marion a grand performance! FSR's radio-ready lyric, driving melodies, and the distinct, velvety vocals of front man Daniel Davis have garnered the band much success with high performance gigs opening for the likes of Travis Tritt, Jason Isbell, Eric Church, Justin Townes Earle, Dr. Ralph Stanley, and more. The band is a favorite at Bristol's Rhythm & Roots Reunion and has performed at Floydfest numerous times. Folk Soul Revival is at the crossroads of Major success or being working class artists. Either way, the band doesn't measure success by any other standard than to please their fans. A region-wide favorite, we're beyond excited to have them perform in "America's Coolest Hometown."

8:30pm - Chili Team Awards Ceremony on the Main Stage.  Winners of Round 11 of "Pop Up Marion" Business Competition will also be announced!

9:00pm - LIVE MUSIC WITH THE BLACK LILLIES on the Main Stage - The Black Lillies are set to perform an unforgettable show. The Black Lillies are a band for the ages, not the slick, soulless music that seems to get most of the radio airplay, but rich, rootsy tunes performed with as much heart as technical virtuosity. This commitment to authenticity has earned them accolades from outlets as diverse as Rolling Stone Magazine, who calls them one of “the most buzzworthy new acts in country and Americana,” and the Wall Street Journal, who praised their “rootsy flair … a winsome hybrid traditional enough to appeal to an Opry crowd and expansive enough to ensnare a broader audience." They’ve enthralled audiences at festivals ranging from Bonnaroo and South by Southwest to CMA Fan Fair and Stagecoach, won two Independent Music Awards, and played the Grand Ole Opry more than any other independent band. The music is breakneck, brazen and beautiful; gentle Laurel Canyon folk, the honky-tonk heartache of classic country, winding jams and flat-out rock n’ roll.

FREE SHUTTLE ALL WEEKEND:  Free shuttle service for all 3 days during Hungry Mother Festival hours will be provided by District Three Public Transit with free bus rides between the Farmer’s Market in downtown Marion and Hungry Mother State Park and another bus within the Hungry Mother State Park with rides between the Boat Dock/Restaurant and the parking lot at Hemlock Haven. These free bus rides will depart each day on a schedule of every 30 minutes from the Farmer’s Market in downtown Marion beginning at 9:30am and go directly to the Hungry Mother State Park Boat Dock/Restaurant. The last free shuttle ride of the day back to downtown Marion departing Hungry Mother State Park Boat Dock/Restaurant will be at 6:00pmon Friday, 6:00pm on Saturday, and 5:00pm on Sunday. For more information and a complete schedule visit :

For additional information, contact Olivia McDonald at (276) 783-4190 or 

This event is sponsored by: The Town of Marion, FM94, Mountain States Health Alliance, The Bank of Marion, Wells Fargo, Gates Dentistry, The Automotive Connection, Envision Eye Care, Anders Properties, Slemp Brant Saunders & Associates, Smyth County Ambulance Service, Iron Warriors Motorcycle Club, East Main Rides, SpaceWalk, Sweetie Pies Ice Cream Parlor, Smyth County Court House, The Cliffside Cigar Club and Bow Tie Pro Djs, The Town of Abingdon, Marion Police, Marion Fire & EMS, The General Francis Marion Hotel, 27 Lions, Wooden Pickle, Wolfe's BBQ, Sisters Cafe and Gifts, Macados of Marion, and more!