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

History workshops at Josephine School Community Museum in Berrville, Va.

Josephine School Community Museum. The Middle Potomac History Researchers meets every third Tuesday, focusing on African American history and genealogy research within the North Central Potomac River watershed. For more information, call 540-955-5512.


Historical program at Wayne Theatre in Waynesboro, Va.

Ross Performing Arts Center, 521 W. Main St. Dennis Bigelow presents President James Monroe history lecture. For more information, call 540-943-9999 or visit www.WayneTheatre.org


Private greenhouse shopping at Carrier Arboretum in Harrisonburg, Va.

780 University Blvd. Frances Plecker Education Center. Advance appointment required, April 20 to Oct. 15. natives, exotics and cultivars perennials, shrubs, and trees. $50 minimum purchase. For more information, call 540-568-3194 or visit www.jmu.edu/arboretum


Garden Lunch Box Lesson program at Museum of the Shenandoah Valley in Winchester, Va.

901 Amherst St. Meet in the picnic area by the garden entrance. Annual Plantings: Tips for growing and showcasing annual flowers Weather permitting. Free admission for garden visits not during program time. For more information, call 540-662-1473 or visit www.themsv.org


Weekly Tuesday evening bingo in Shenandoah, Va.
Shenandoah Volunteer Fire Company, Shenandoah Community Center. Doors open at 5 p.m. Games start at 6:30 p.m.
Farmers Market in Martinsburg, W.Va.

Orrs Farm Market, 682 Orr Dr. Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fresh produce and fruit, homemade goods, jams and local and state wines and spirits. For more information, visit www.orrsfarmmarket.com.


Staunton Augusta Wednesday Farmers Market in Staunton, Va.

Wharf Lot. Runs every week hrough November. Saturdays: 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. Wednesdays: 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Producer-only market with fresh foods, baked goods, plants and more. Free parking available. For more information, visit www.safarmersmarket.com


Theater production in Staunton, Va.

Ampersand Arts presents Bar Hoppers, Short plays, written, directed, and performed by local artists. Weekly series concludes at The Pompei Lounge.  7:30 p.m. with doors open 6:45 p.m. Tickets: $6 each or $10 for two.


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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!

A view from Afton Mountain near Waynesboro, Virginia

There are places along Afton Mountain where one can see 360 degrees of majestic mountains, reaching for the skies above. It makes you feel pretty small, and pretty happy.

About Deb Booth - Different Light Studio

Deb Booth owns and operates Different Light Studio in Lyndhurst, Virginia. Her initial work involved floral photography, and has since expanded to include fractals. Her collections include scenic photographs of the Shenandoah Valley.

...photo by Deb Booth - Different Light Studio