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

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


Artist reception at James Madison University

James Madison University Art Students exhitibiton: Coping. Free admission, open to the public.. For more information, visit www.jmu.edu
 


Roots Music and Step-Dancing concert at Barns of Rose Hill in Berryville, Va.

95 Chalmers Ct. April Verch Band. Featuring acoustic guitar, mandolin, bass and clawhammer banjo in addition to Verch on vocals, fiddle and foot percussion. For more information, call 540-955-2004 or visit barnsofrosehill.org


Film screening at Court Square Theater in Harrsionburg, Va.

I 41-F Court Square. A Hologram For The King. Drama. Shows on May 5 at 2 p.m., 4:30 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. May 1 at 7:15 p.m. May 2, 3 and 4 at 4:30 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. Theater members save 20 percent and get free popcorn. Tickets: Adults, $9.50. Senior and students, $8.50. Matinee Before 5 p.m., $8. For more information, visit ValleyArts.org


Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival in Winchester, Va.

Winchester and Frederick County. Apr 22-May 1. Largest annual festival in the region. Dances, parades, a 10K Race, the Coronation of Queen Shenandoah, carnival, celebrity appearances and much more. For more information, visit www.thebloom.com


Bicycling evente in Natural Bridge, Va.

Natural Bridge Park, 15 Appledore Lane. Natural Bridge Cycling Challenge. Historic and scenic Rockbridge County routes include Lexington, Vesuvius, the Blue Ridge Parkway, Buena Vista and Natural Bridge Station. 31, 63 or 94-mile routes with varying elevation challenges. For more information, visit sport-vista.sportngin.com


Ballet performance at Court Square Theater in Harrisonburg, Va.

41-F Court Square. Ballet Extension, Rockingham Ballet Theatre Dance Recital Doors open at 4:30 p.m. Free admission, open to the public. For more information, visit ValleyArts.org


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


Theater production at James Madision University

Mainstage Theatre, Forbes Center for the Performing Arts. Pretty Theft. April 26-May 1, 8 p.m. all shows except 2 p.m. on Sunday. Drama. Performed by students from JMU School of Theatre and Dance. For more information, visit www.jmuforbescenter.com


Apple Blossom Festival midway in Winchester, Va.

Ward Plaza Shopping Center, 2258 Valley Ave. April 22 through May 1. Open and closing dates vary daily. April 24 discount for rides and drinks. Carnival closed on April 25.


Patsy Cline tribute show at Bright Box Theater in Winchester, Va.

15 N Loudoun St. Melissa Wright and Her All-Star Band presents A Tribute to the Music of Patsy Cline featuring members of the Plank Stompers, Minks Miracle Medicine, The Plate Scrapers, and the Woodshedders. For more information, visit www.brightboxwinchester.com


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.


Theater performance at Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton, Va.

10 S. Market St. Staged Reading: Caesar and Pompey. Admission: Pay-what-you-will. 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


Bluegrass music festival at The Bloom in Winchester, Va.

Event tent at 1755 North Sector Court on the campus of the Winchester Medical Center. Dailey and Vincent. Limited ticket availability. Reserved seating: $40. General admission: $30 a seat. Tickets at Apple Blossom Headquarters at 135 North Cameron St., when available. For more information, call 540-662-3863 or visit www.thebloom.com.


Art Show in Port Republic, Va.

Newly-renovated Port Republic Town Hall, 8597 Water St. April 28 through May 1. Hosted by Village Artisans of Port Republic, LLC. April 28 is Seniors Day. Art show guests can also tour the Port Republic Museum, stroll through the historic village. Hours: April 28, 29 and 30 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on May 1. For more information, visit www.villageartisansofport.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!

McCormick Mill in Steeles Tavern, Virginia

Located on the family farm of inventor Cyrus McCormick. McCormick patented the mechanical reaper. The farm and museum is operated by Virginia Tech. The water-powered mill is operated one day a year at annual festival.

About Burton R. Floyd

Burton Floyd is photographer and graphic designer in Lexington, Virginia who loves to experience and record the beauty of Virginia‘s Shenandoah Valley.

...photo by Burton R. Floyd