Valley Fourth in Harrisonburg is perhaps one of the biggest July 4th celebrations in the Shenandoah Valley. An annual, day-long downtown event includes a charity run, barbecue, beer and wine garden, parade, live music, fireworks and more.
Red White and Blue in Lexington is another big July 4th event featuring hot-air balloon rides, a special, annual reading of the Declaration of Independence and a huge children's bicycle parade.
The 2012 Valley Fourth theme is “Get Outdoors” and there will be plenty of summertime activities available in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley, where a variety of outdoor recreation options are available at any time of year.
The event will be held in the downtown Harrisonburg Turner Pavilion and Park, 228 South Liberty St. Valley 4th. beginning at 9 a.m. The Valley 4th Run will be held from noon to 4 p.m. Other highlights are the Beers N Cheers in the Park beer and wine garden from noon until 2 p.m., a vintage rock n roll concert from 2:30 to 4 p.m. and New Orleans-style brass band music from 2:30 - 4:30 p.m. In addition to the Valley 4th Cruise-In antique automobile display, the Explore More Discovery Museum will be open free to children from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Following a parade that begins at 5:30 p.m., it will be live music on Court Square until the fireworks go off at dusk.
Day-long activities include shows at Court Square Theater, walking tours, gospel music concerts, and food and craft vendors. Activities for children include face painting, inflatables, a climbing wall, and a dunk tank.
Lexington introduces “The Toy” as a highlight of the The 27th Annual Children’s Bicycle Parade on July 4th. Main Street will close while children may decorate their bikes for the big show. This year's parade lead vehicle will be a recently restored-1953 Diamond T, Military Series M62 tow truck. It had originally been built and used by the military and was later purchased from the Virginia Transportation Museum in Roanoke.
The Mayor of Lexington will also read the Declaration of Independence on the historic downtown courthouse steps at 9:30 a.m. Over at the Virginia Military Institute Parade Grounds, there will be live music, food, tethered balloon rides and children's activities, all before the evening fireworks display. A balloon glow, live music, food and craft vendors, and antique car show are also scheduled at the VMI event.
At the northern end of the Valley, Winchester, Va., celebrates on July 3rd at Jim Barnett Park. Family activities begin at 6 p.m., with the outdoor pool open until 8:45 p.m. that evening. Along with moon bounces and food for sale, there will be Winchester Royals baseball game held from 6 to 9 p.m. and the Fireworks at 9:20 p.m. Rain date for the Winchester fireworks is July 5.
The Town of Woodstock, Va. holds its annual fireworks display at the Shenandoah County Fairgrounds, which are located within sight of Interstate 81 at exit 283. The fireworks show, sponsored by the Town of Woodstock will be on display for approximately 40 minutes. Gates open to the public at 8:30 p.m., fireworks at 9:30 p.m. Rain date: July 7 at 9:30 p.m.
Just a few miles to the west, it's the big BryceFest day in Basye, Va. on July 7. The annual festival features live music, crafts and other vendors, plenty for the kids to do and a big fireworks display over the ski run hill.
Numerous small celebrations will also be held in the Valley, such as the July 4th week festivities in Elkton, Va., scheduled to be held U.S. Route 33 on Va. a few miles east of Harrisonburg, Va. Freedom Weekend, sponsored by the Upper Room Church will take place from July 6th through the 8th. July 6 activities include an Amy Lambert program and 5 p.m. car cruise with trophies and prizes. Yard and bake sales, Freedom motorcycle ride at 10 a.m., games for children, and pick-up ball games at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. and bluegrass music at 4 p.m. all occur on July 7, with a special Sunday service on July 8.
Be sure to stop by the Shenandoah Valley Tourist Information, centrally located in the Valley at I-81 exit 215 in New Market for visitor information, including help with locating on-the-road meals and accommodations. Information about Valley Fourth is online at DowntownHarrisonburg.org. Visitor information for Lexington's holiday activities at LexRockChamber.com. Winchester information at VisitWinchesterVa.com and the Town of Woodstock is online at TownOfWoodstockVA.com. Bryce Resort is online at BryceResort.com.
Photos courtesy Downtown Lexington and Harrionsburg Downtown Renaissance. Story copyright © 2012 by Shenandoah Valley Productions LLC.