Summertime at the Mill serves up a craft hit | Journal-news

CHARLES TOWN — The Shenandoah Planing Mill, just outside Charles Town, was a hub of activity Saturday as the annual Summertime at the Mill community festival drew hundreds of visitors.

A day filled with food, music and fun, the wood-focused event featured local artisans and a range of woodworking demonstrations as well as children’s activities, shop tours and much more. Moreover.

Those browsing the vendor stalls could find everything from blacksmithing to pottery, quilts to woodworking of all kinds. Many of the artists who participated will also be featured in the upcoming Over the Mountain Studio Tour which takes place every year.

Textile artist Diane Myers was on hand at the factory to demonstrate traditional hand weaving and to offer a variety of items for purchase. She explained that she uses all types of materials but specifically focuses on natural fibers in her weaving as well as dyeing the materials.

Karen Jenners set up a booth filled with personalized cards, quilted and sewn items, and jewelry.

“Sewing and quilting is therapy for me,” Jenner said of why she crafts.

She learned about the festival through her son, who works at the planing mill, so she took the opportunity to give away some of her handcrafted items to lucky shoppers.

In addition to the merchandise available for purchase, attendees could watch demonstrations of various types. Members of the National Park Service Traditional Trades Apprenticeship Program demonstrated ax cutting. The program trains young adults to work side-by-side with skilled NPS artisans on historic preservation projects. Saturday protesters demonstrated how to debark logs using different types of axes.

In addition to demonstrations, visitors could participate in tours of the planer mill which provides support to the woodworking community which includes contractors, home builders, craftsmen and all types of woodworkers.

Chris Walton demonstrates the art of ax cutting as part of the National Park Service’s Traditional Trades Apprenticeship Program.

The mill, opened in 2019 by Amanda McDaniel and her father, John Van Vliet, has become a focal point for the lumber industry throughout the region.

“My husband comes here to get wood and lumber,” said Peggy Sandretzky, whose husband, Tom, is a local contractor. “He believes in supporting local businesses.”

Sandretzky, who visited the festival with her daughter and grandchildren, enjoyed browsing all the vendor stalls to see the many talents of local artisans.

“Of course, one of the favorite stops was at Parks and Rec’s Mobile Rec,” laughed Sandretzky, sharing that his grandkids love mobile putt-putt golf.

For those interested in learning more about the Shenandoah Planer Mill or getting involved in the Summertime at the Mill 2023 event, additional information can be found on the company’s website at