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

The Art Group First Friday at Bowman Shannon Cultural Art Center in Mt. Jackson, Va.

Bowman Shannon Cultural Art Center. Live music by Scott Murray. Food and beverages available. Original art work for sale by local artists. Bring food to add to the refreshment table - not required. Free admission. For more information, call 540-477-4131 or visit www.theartgroup.org.


Music and Dancing in Raphine, Va.

Clarks Ole Time Music Center, located at Clarks Lumber Co., 1288 Ridge Road. longtime Friday-night tradition of old-time music and dance from 7:30-10 p.m. Admission: $8 per person, $15 per couple. For more information, call 540-377-2490.


Theater production at Winchester Little Theater in Winchester, Va.

315 W Boscawen St. Dancing at Lughnasa. Drama. Runs May 6 through May 21. Thursdays and Fridays 8 p.m. Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and 2 p.m. Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets: $15.50 - $19.75. For more information, call 540-662-3331.


Bluegrass music festival at Glen Maury Park in Buena Vista, Va.

101 Maury River Drive. Annual Guy Carawan Bluegrass Jam Rally May 1-7. For More Information, call 540-261-7321 or visit www.glenmaurypark.com


Gallery Walk in Lexington, Va.

Downtown Lexington. Tour Washington St. art galleries. April 1, May 6, June 3, July 1, Aug. 5, Sept. 2, Oct 7, Nov. 4 and Dec. 2 from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Free admission.


Art show at Burwell-Morgan Mill in Millwood, Va.

15 Tannery Lane. Art at the Mill: Spring Show. April 23-May 8. Artists and buyers from over a dozen states. For more information, call 540-837-1799 or visit www.clarkehistory.org/art-at-the-mill.html


First Fridays Downtown in Harrisonburg, Va.

Hardesty-Higgins House Visitor Center. For more information, visit www.VisitHarrisonburgVA.com.


Bluegrass and BBQ Series concert at Barns of Rose Hill in Berryville, Va.

95 Chalmers Ct. Bud`s Collective. Local BBQ available for sale at 7 p.m. Concert Starts at 8 p.m. For more information, call 540-955-2004 or visit barnsofrosehill.org


Blues Music concert at Bright Box Theater in Winchester, Va.

15 N. Loudoun St. Corey Harris Band. Blues with reggae, soul, rock and West African music influences. For more information, visit www.brightboxwinchester.com.


First Fridays Art Walk in Winchester, Va.

Artists with special gallery events, live music at restaurants and cafes, late shopping hours. Sponsored by the Old Town Winchester Business Association and the Winchester Main Street Foundation. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/FirstFridaysOldTownWinchester


Guided tours in Staunton, Va.

Meet at Staunton Visitors Center. Guided trolley and walking tours. Year-round. For more information, call 540-208-1741 or visit www.stauntonguidedtours.com


Salvage Art Show and Auction at George Washington Hotel in Winchester, Va.

103 E. Piccadilly St. Art pieces created from salvaged materials. Hors d`oeuvres, dessert, and drinks included. Benefits Habitat for Humanity. Open to the public. For more information, visit habitatwfc.org


Theater performance at Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton, Va.

10 S. Market St. Julius Caesar. 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 will present works from the Dhawan Collection, Los Angeles, one of the largest collections of Alphonse
Mucha work in the United States, in a traveling exhibitioin. Changing Exhibitions Gallery. For more information, call 540-662-1473, extension 240 or visit www.theMSV.org.


National Public Gardens Day at Museum of the Shenandoah Valley in Winchester, Va.

901 Amherst St. Guided garden walks at 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Garden yoga at 11 a.m., 12 p.m., and 1 p.m. kids-only session. Poesies of Spring, performances of poetry by local university students from 1:30 to 3 p.m. Mucha exhibition gallery talk at 2 p.m., Flowers and the Art Nouveau Artist. Make sketches in the gardens, garden buttons, look for ahidden garden gnomes. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Free admission, open to the public. For more information, call 540-662-1473 or visit www.themsv.org


Food festival in Luray, Va.

Luray Downtown Intiative Chicken Chow Down Weekend. May 6-8. For more information, visit luraypage.chambermaster.com/events/calendar


Barn dance in Luray, Va.

Luray Caverns, Burner Barn. Luray Downtown Intiative Burner Barn Dance For more information, visit luraypage.chambermaster.com/events/calendar


Art exhibition in Staunton, Va.

Upstairs Gallery in the R.R. Smith Center for History and Art, 20 S. New St. Art, A Path to Recovery, works by consumers of mental health service. May 6 through May 31 call ahead for availability times. Opening Reception on May 6 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.  For more information, call 540-885-2028 or visit www.saartcenter.org


Outdoor yoga in Luray, Va.

Ruffner Plaza. Yoga on the Greenway. Fridays in May from 6-7 p.m. For ages 12 years and older. Sponsored by Page Memorial Hosptital Fitness and Luray Parks and Recreation Dept. Free admission.


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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!

Wedding garden near Stanardsville, Virginia

The beauty of the Shenandoah Valley region provides many different types settings for weddings. It also is a travel destination for honeymooners.

About Christy McKee

Christy McKee is a professional portrait and wedding photographer since 2011, based in Staunton, Virginia. She lives there with her husband and hopes to raise her children within the beauty of the Shenandoah Valley. Mrs. McKee uses both film and digital photography to capture the details of daily life, She also is involved with landscape and macro photography.

...photo by Christy McKee