62 years of tradition kicks off in Vinton with the Dogwood Festival

VINTON, Va. (WDBJ7) What started as a fundraiser for the William Byrd Marching Band 62 years ago, is now an annual tradition.

“We have five days of fun in Vinton,” said Mary Beth Layman, a volunteer at the Vinton Dogwood Festival.

But it’s more than just a fun springtime event for some of the volunteers.

“I grew up in Vinton and so as a child it was the biggest day, at the time it was only a one day festival. So it was the biggest day of the town and everybody went, and it was very enjoyable. Once I graduated college and came back home, I wanted to keep the tradition alive and volunteer, and that’s where I’ve been,” Joey Nicely of Vinton said.

And several of the volunteers, like Nicely, come back year after year.

“I have been helping for around 25 years, and my children have grown up with the festival and coming to it,” Layman said.

While some things are a little newer, the parade is a mainstay. The William Byrd Marching Band typically leads, and for the last several years, an alumni band performs as well.

“I’m also in the alumni band, I play trumpet,” Nicely said.

But the best part of the whole event?

“…seeing all the smiles.”

Events run through Sunday, and for more information or details on when events are happening, head to the festival's website, or check out the Vinton Dogwood Festival Facebook page.