The Scenic and Historic Shenandoah Valley of Virginia
 
Shenandoah County Fair bets on its future as the newest venue for Virginia parimutuel harness racing

 

The 2016 Shenandoah County Fair may be just one year away from it's centennial, but celebrating agriculture in the county tradition goes back even farther than that.

As early as 1887 the existing Shenandoah County Agricultural Society started an annual festival that included all kinds of horse racing. It took place on a dirt track laid out in the middle of some orchard fields on the west side of Woodstock, Va.

But it was not until 1916 that local organizers officially began the annual Shenandoah County Fair. Today the fair is the only remaining county fair in Virginia that still features harness racing. The horses continue to run on that original track location, which now overlooks Interstate 81.

Shenandoah County Fair harness racing still has a lot of local flavor. Folks return to the old grandstand year after year to view the daily races. Many are likely to either be related, know each other, or “know somebody who knows somebody.”

Whenever it comes to betting on these afternoon races, it's more like “honor between friends and family,” says Shenandoah County Fair Director Tom Eschelman. “There will be old-time sunflower seeds, or jelly beans, or peanuts up in the grandstand.”

But the harness racing game has suddenly gotten bigger for the fair host Shenandoah County Fair Association, after Eschelman led the development of a state-wide partnership with the Virginia Equine Alliance (VEA) and Virginia Harness Horse Association (VHHA).

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In the Shenandoah Valley, we’re wild about the month of May
Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton, Virginia

It’s pretty here at any time of the year, but oh, when the wildflowers of May are blooming... May is Wildflower Weekend month at Shenandoah National Park. The State Arboretum at Blandy Experimental Farm in Boyce, the Edith J. Carrier Arborteum on the campus of James Madison University and other park lands are busy with special outdoor programs. Or, hike a quiet trail in George Washington National Forest. Find your very own way back to nature in this beautiful region.

  Happening today

Sundays on the Deck and in the Barn at Rockbridge Vineyards in Raphine, Va.

35 Hillview Ln. Music by various local artists. Bring lawn chairs. Lunch available for purchase or bring your own picnic. Family-friendly. For more information, call 540-377-6204 or visit www.rockbridgevineyard.com


Theater performance at Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton, Va.

10 S. Market St. The Importance of Being Earnest. For more information, call 1-877-682-4236 or visit www.americanshakespearecenter.com.


Art exhibition at Museum of the Shenandoah Valley in Winchester, Va.

901 Amherst St. Alphonse Mucha: Master of Art Nouveau. Runs through July 31. Exhibition Opening Reception on April 23 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Admission: Museum members admitted free. All others $20. Open to the public. For more information, call 540-662-1473 or visit www.themsv.org


Skyland Sunday program at Shenandoah National Park

Skyland Resort, on Skyline Drive at mile 41.7 and 42.5. The Future of US Manned Spaceflight. Learn about NAS Aand new manned spacecraft and rockets to launch the next generation of American astronauts. For more information, call 1-877-847-1919 or visit www.goshenandoah.com/activities-events.


Skyland Shuttle Excursions at Shenandoah National park

Skyland Resort. Shuttles to local wineries and distilleries for guests staying at Skyland, Big Meadows Lodge, or Lewis Mountain Cabins. Overnight packages or shuttle only rates are available to all of our lodging guests. All shuttles depart at 10:30 a.m., return at 5 p.m. on Mondays and Fridays from Skyland mile 41.7 and 42.5 on Skyline Drive but dates and rates vary by excursion. New Program. Tasting Fees: $7 - $10 per person, per vineyard or distillery. Shuttle only: $70 per person. Ages 21 or older. For more information, call 1-877 847-1919


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About ShenandoahValley.com

Visiting this website, you've just landed in the scenic and historic Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and West Virginia, USA. ShenandoahValley.com is owned and operated by a small, independent business located right here in the region. We know the place. Our mission is to showcase its visual beauty, but we've also got some things to share about the people who live here, the culture and, of course, some really rich history and heritage.

Visit this place and it can seem like you are coming home. Our website background photos are provided by a select group of photographers from across the region who share their own love of the Valley through the lenses of their cameras.

While we provide a regional events listing that is always up to date, ShenandoahValley.com is not an encyclopedia about the Valley or a travel guide. In fact, we're not really selling anything on here. You can find location-specific tidbits about the Valley, particularly on our events page.

Each month we feature a Home page feature story and video that highlights something special about events, history and people.

Much of what is on here simply comes from our love for this world-reknown spot, the Daughter of the Stars, O Shenandoah, Shenandoah River... Shenandoah Valley.

If you like our website, consider making a donation ...we'd certainly tip a glass of Virginia-made beer or wine to your kindness! Either way, we're glad you stopped by. Come back to see us again!

Stoney Man Mountain, Shenandoah National Park

Stoney Man Mountain is the highest point in Shenandoah National Park, overlooking the town of Luray and Page County.

About Shenandoah National Park

Located 75 miles from Washington, D.C., Shenandoah National Park offers waterfalls, vistas, hiking, camping and picnic areas. Home to the Skyline Drive a scenic route following the ridges of the Blue Ridge Mountains. 200,000 acres of protected wilderness.

...photo by Shenandoah National Park