Trail Days canceled in Damascus, hurting town’s economy and morale

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DAMASCUS, Va. (WJHL) – Thousands of people meet in Damascus every year for the hiking event “Trail Days.”

But with social gatherings of more than 10 people now eliminated, the town had to cancel the event altogether.

“If you mention just the word Trail Days Damascus will come to mind even though there are other trail days festivals when you see trail days Damascus will come to mind,” Damascus Vice Mayor Tim Williams said.

That’s why it’s devastating news that Trail Days 2020 is canceled.

“It’s the single biggest event we have in this town and to have to cancel that my goodness gracious I can’t think of anything to have to do worse than that,” Williams said.

Trail Days is a huge event for this town and especially crucial to its economy.

“We knew it was inevitable that it was gonna happen and we’ve kinda been waiting on the announcement but it’s gonna be tough,” Michael Wright said, who owns Adventure Damascus and Sundog Outfitter.

“Biggest month of the year gonna lose all the sales but I understand what they’re trying to do,” Ralph Wilson said, who owns Damascus Diner and Dragonfly Inn.

“To be here during the Trail Days festival versus on a normal day in Damascus it’s the most shocking thing that you can go through,” Williams said.

It’s actually pretty fascinating, the trail runs directly through downtown Damascus and that’s how this small town got its pretty cool nickname.

“We’re known for being the friendliest town on the trail,” Wilson said.

“It’s known as the friendliest town on the trail absolutely, it’s just the Appalachian Trail has been a part of our town forever,” Williams said.

And when people see the sign they know they have to make a pit-stop.

“He’s our little town dog here at Adventure Damascus and all the hikers and everyone likes to see Garvey.”

They just won’t stop and see Trail Days, not this year.

“It’s best to step up and do the responsible thing nobody likes it but it’s what we have to do,” Williams said.

You can find Michael Epps on Facebook and Twitter.

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