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

Theater performance at Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton, Va.

10 S. Market St. The Life of King Henry the Fifth. For more information, call 1-877-682-4236 or visit www.americanshakespearecenter.com.


Pottery art show in Martinsburg, Va.

Berkeley Art Works Gallery, 116 North Queen St. Special Exhibit Gallery at the Berkeley Art Works. Shenandoah Clay, by members of the Shenandoah Potters Guild. Sponsored by The Berkeley Arts Council. Runs May 4-June 4. Also exibiting in Back Space Gallery: Off the Shelves, hand-made clocks by local mixed media collage artist and clock maker. For more information, visit www.berkeleyartswv.org.


Womens History Exhibit at Shenandoah County Library in Edinburg, Va.

514 Stoney Creek Blvd. Library of Virginia traveling exhibit, celebrates the accomplishment of prominent Virginia women. May 31 opening reception from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Shenandoah County Library. May 25-June 4 at Shenandoah County Library. June 6-11 at Mt. Jackson Town Hall/Museum. June 13-19 at New Market Area Library. June 20-24, at Hupps Hill Civil War Park in Strasburg. June 24-26 at Historic Shenandoah County Courthouse in Woodstock. June 27-June 30 at Shenandoah County Library. Hosted by Shenandoah County Library System Truban Archives. Free admission. For more information, visit countylib.org


Bluegrass music jam sessions in Lexington, Va.

Blue Sky Bakery, 16 Lee Ave. Live bluegrass music every Wednesday morning. Bring a musical instrument to jam with, or just listen.


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


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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!

Country road near Conicville, Virginia

Conicville is a rural village whose elevation provides panoramic views of the Valley. It is located in Shenandoah County. Originally named Cabin Hill in the mid 19th century, the area was settled as early as 1749. In 1892, the village was renamed to Conicville.

About Charles Oliver

Charles Oliver has been involved with fine art professionally since 1969 when he returned home from Vietnam and the Marine Corps. During the early 70s he worked as an art consultant to fine artists and exhibited his works in many shows in the Philadelphia, New Jersey and New York areas. In 1976, he started his commercial art career and continued to do fine art in his spare time. In 2007 he returned to full-time pursuit of fine arts after moving to a mountaintop home in Mt. Jackson, Virginia.

...photo by Charles Oliver