#LOVEstaunton

Category: Events and Festivals

Staunton’s Seasonal Treats: Holiday Music and Entertainment

Staunton’s holiday calendar is bursting with all kinds of treats this year, including music, shopping, historical tours, and even a chance or two to see old St. Nick himself. Here’s the lineup for Staunton’s holiday music, events and entertainment this holiday season.  

Holiday Music

Advent Lessons and Carols

Trinity Episcopal Church, Sunday, December 2, 5-6 p.m.

Trinity’s traditional candlelight Lessons and Carols service, sung by the Trinity Choirs, interweaves scripture, carols, and choral music. Music for organ, choir, and congregation. A reception will follow in McCracken Hall.

Heifetz Holiday Homecoming

December 10, 7:30-10 p.m. at the Blackfriars Playhouse

The Heifetz Institute’s brilliant alumni performers return to Staunton to perform Baroque masterworks, timeless classics and favorites of the season. The special program will feature star Heifetz alums.

PLAYING OF THE MERRY ORGAN WITH FRIENDS

Trinity Episcopal Church, Sunday, January 6, 2019

Harpist Rachel Lee Hall returns to Trinity to accompany John Rutter’s Dancing Day in Trinity’s annual Christmas Concert. Favorite carols for harp, organ, choir, and audience.

Holiday Entertainment and Events

Downtown Shopping: Art for Gifts

November 10 – December 30, Extended gallery hours: 10 am-6 pm Monday – Saturday and  1pm-4 pm Sunday

You can find a special and unique gift for every one of your family and friends in Staunton this holiday season. Don’t miss any of our downtown boutiques and artisan shops. A seasonal must-see is Art for Gifts in the R.R. Smith Center for History and Art. This holiday market highlights the handmade fine art and crafts of more than 70 Virginia artists and artisans.

Celebration of Holiday Lights at Gypsy Hill Park

November 19 – January 1, 5-11 pm

Every holiday season Gypsy Hill Park lights up the night with its Celebration of Holiday Lights, running from November 19 – January 1. The displays are designed and realized by community organizations, churches, and individuals who claim a space to decorate. The celebration “focuses on strong community values that all can enjoy regardless of age, background or religion.” The display is free to the public and best viewed from a car.

Another great way to view the lights is to attend Caroling in the Park on December 15. This Parks and Rec event includes caroling by local choirs , hot chocolate and cookies, bonfires, photographs with Santa, and hayrides that circle the park. All parts of the event are free, but the event supports the Valley Mission, so all donations are appreciated!

Small Business Saturday

Saturday, November 24, 9 am – 7 pm

Walk off your Thanksgiving calories, make a dent in your holiday shopping, and support local businesses while you’re doing it? It’s a win win win at Staunton’s annual Small Business Saturday. Our downtown shops are filled with great deals and holiday cheer and many merchants will be offering discounts and refreshments.

Watch the magical shopping scene as it unfolds, and get yourself ready to shop, on the Small Business Saturday Cam

Staunton Christmas Parade

November 26, 7-9 p.m.

Let the 2018 theme of “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”warm your heart this year’s annual Staunton Christmas parade. Holiday-themed floats, marching bands, and local organizations march the route that winds Staunton’s festive downtown. Make sure you stay until the end to catch a glimpse Santa and Mrs. Claus!  

A live stream camera will be on site making the parade accessible for those who cannot be physically present.

Historic Staunton Foundation’s 46th Annual Holiday House Tour

December 1, 5-8 p.m. and December 2, 1-5 pm

Hundreds of visitors flock to Staunton’s popular Historic Staunton Foundation’s Holiday House Tour each year to celebrate Staunton’s architecture and holiday decor. Five beautifully restored private homes in Staunton’s Stuart Addition Historic District will be showcased and discussed.

American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriars Playhouse

December 4-29: For information on showtimes and tickets, visit the American Shakespeare Center.

  • A Christmas Carol – Join Marley, the three Christmas ghosts, the Cratchits, and Tiny Tim – they’re all back to take Scrooge on the ride of his money-grubbing life.
  • Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some!)Ring in the holidays with this fast-paced Christmas journey through all of your favorite holiday classics! Be prepared for a whirlwind of laughter, carols, and joy as you experience the Holiday Spirit like never before.

Gingerbread Workshop

Sunday, December 9, 1-4 pm

All ages are welcome at The Paris Cake Company’s 3rd Annual Gingerbread House Workshop. Create a family tradition as up to four participants use royal icing and candy to decorate each elaborate, pre-built gingerbread house. You’ll also enjoy hot chocolate and cookies. The event will be held at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel and Conference Center and houses must be reserved in advance.

Lantern Tours at Frontier Culture Museum

December 14-16 and 21-23 at 6:00, 6:30, 7:00, 7:30, & 8:00 pm

The 2018 Lantern Tours at the Frontier Culture Museum bring historic holiday traditions to life and explore the changes that have happened over time. Visitors attending this popular event will tour the museum on foot and by horse-drawn wagon. They’ll see living history vignettes at the English, Irish, German, and American farms as well as a Mummer’s play. The tour will conclude with light refreshments and live music. Reservations required.

Holiday Tea at the Anne Hathaway Cottage Tea Room

Ongoing

Celebrate the holiday season with friends and a special tea luncheon at  Anne Hathaway Cottage Tea Room. You’ll enjoy hand-made scones, tea sandwiches, and shortbread all served with imported jam, clotted cream, and tea. Make your reservations today!

Blow Your Own Ornament at Sunspots

Ongoing

Aspiring glassblowers ages 7+ can huff and puff and create a piece or original art for their tree or window by blowing an ornament at Sunspots Studios! Trained glassblowers will assist you in making a one-of-a-kind ornament for a gift or decoration. Ornaments ready for pick up or shipping the following day. Visitors can also purchase pre-made ornaments in the gallery or watch live glassblowing demonstrations daily until 4.

Explore Downtown Staunton with Traipse

Tour on your own time. Discover one of the “Best Main Streets in the USA,” (USA Today) with the free app, Traipse. Explore Staunton’s historic sites, architectural treasures, and awe-inspiring attractions on this tour/scavenger hunt in downtown Staunton. Choose from several tour options and go at your own pace.

Staunton Pride Festival

Celebrate Staunton Pride October 5-7

October is LGBTQ history month, and local nonprofit LGBTQ Tech is producing the first annual Staunton Pride Festival celebrating the LGBTQIA2+ community and its allies. Staunton Pride’s goal is to “support all members of our community in order to increase acceptance and inclusivity in the Shenandoah Valley.”

Friday Night Kickoff

All are welcome at the fun event, which will be held rain or shine on Beverley Street in downtown Staunton. A kickoff party with Shagwüf and The Judy Chops to benefit the Shenandoah LGBTQ Center on October 5th.

Saturday Dancing in the Streets

Get ready to party on Saturday, October 6th at the street festival on Beverley Street from 9:00 am – 7:00 pm. Highlights will include food, vendors, a local beer & cider garden (opening at 11:00 am,) a music stage, and a show headlined by Virginia native and indie-pop sensation, Catey Shaw, known for her songs “Brooklyn Girls” and “The Ransom.” Plan to dance in the street:  The Johnny Clark Set, The Sugar Jackets, The Crowles, Drägön Wägön, and DJ Jason round out the lineup. 

A Service for Everyone

Staunton Pride will have a special Pride Eucharist worship service led by Reverend Marion Kanour on Saturday, October 6th from 7-8:30 PM. All are welcome as Emmanuel Episcopal Church hosts the service in collaboration with clergy from Grace Episcopal Church, Massie’s Mill, Trinity Episcopal Church, Staunton Virginia, and Stuart Hall School.

Get Wild at the Drag Show

Save some energy for the can’t-miss drag show at the Clocktower on Saturday night. Alexa V. ShontelleGabrielle DupreeKatrina Colby, Chris Smith Kristina Kelly,  Alexea Breeden Kelly, and at least five other performers will strut their stuff and wow you with their amazing routines and eye-popping costumes. Buy your tickets here or in person at Mill Street Body & Soul Day Spa and Salon.

 

Before You Go

  • Organizations offering support to the LGBTQ community will be on site
  • Make sure to visit the PRIDE LOVEworks, which will be on display in downtown Staunton October 5-10
  • Show your pride and support the organization by purchasing shirts, stickers, and magnets
  • The festival is family friendly, but the locations of some of the events require attendees to be over 21

Plan Your Visit to Staunton

While Staunton always offers a positive atmosphere and a welcoming community, the following businesses designate themselves as LGBT-friendly on Virginia.org:

Where to Stay

Berkeley House Bed and Breakfast

The Blackburn Inn

Stonewall Jackson Hotel & Conference Center

Hampton Inn – Staunton

Inn at Old Virginia

Staunton /  Walnut Hills KOA Campground

The Bunkhouse at North Mountain

Where to Eat and Drink

Emilio’s Italian Restaurant

Baja Bean Company

Mill Street Grill

The Store

Second Draft Bar & Bistro

The Coffee Cave

Shenandoah Valley Brewing Co.

Where to Shop

Medieval Fantasies Company Gyfte Shoppe

Latitudes Fair Trade Store

Staunton Books Popup

Pufferbellies Toys & Books

Harmony Moon

Redwood and Co.

Cherish Every Moment

Staunton’s Farms, Fall Foliage, and Festivals

Fall is coming and there’s no better way to welcome the (almost) sweater weather than by traveling to Staunton to enjoy farms, fall foliage, and festivals! A trip to the Queen City will give you the opportunity to harvest and taste some of our local food, photograph our views, and celebrate our culture. 

Farms

Farms and Farmers’ Markets

Staunton Farmers’ Market 7-noon Wed. and Sat.

North Augusta Farmers’ Market (Verona) noon-5 Wed.

Take a drive out to Polyface Farms to see a national leader in best-practices farming. You can take tours of the farm and buy pasture-raised, hormone/antibiotic-free chicken, beef, pork, and eggs at the farm store.

Meadowcroft Farms and the Inn at Meadowcroft. Sample some of the 68 different kinds of pickles, relishes, jams, salsas and spreads at the farm store. If you’re looking for a unique and special place to stay, try the inn, which is a situated in a historic (and modernized) log cabin that is over 200 years old.

Pick Your Own

Pick your own wildflowers and herbs at Pebble Hall Wildflowers and Herbs from May to October. Use them fresh for floral displays or culinary pursuits or dry them to use them later. The farm offers beautiful photo opportunities as well as onsite massage and lodging.

Are you looking for a great deal on pick-your-own pumpkins and gourds? Middle River Farms offers pricing by wagon load. The farm also sells locally grown produce, eggs, cheese, and fall decor.

Another great spot to search for the great pumpkin is Mulberry Hills Farm. Visitors can expect a seasonal pumpkin patch (with a wide variety of pumpkins, gourds, squash, and other decorative items). The farm also sets up seasonal backdrops for your family photos and the kids can pet friendly farm animals.

You only need to drive a few miles south of Staunton to get to Sunrise Orchards, a small operation that offers a welcome change from crowded apple orchards. You can pick your own red delicious, yellow delicious and Jonathan apples by the bushel, peck or bag. Plan a picnic to enjoy under the trees with spectacular views of the mountains.

September is grape season, so spend a morning picking Niagara or Concord grapes at Wenger Grape Farm. These grapes can be used for wine, juice or jam, or enjoying by the handful. This beautiful farm offers a wealth of wholesome photo opportunities.

Fall Foliage

You can’t beat the way the Shenandoah Valley dresses up in the autumn. Leaves will be peaking between late September and early November, so plan to take a drive on the Skyline Drive or the Blue Ridge Parkway for some breathtaking displays.

For a more private option, head to the westernmost end of Augusta County and check out the views from the Confederate Breastworks interpretive site at the top of Shenandoah Mountain.

If you want to leaf peep in town, wander the trails in Montgomery Hall Park, pack a picnic and hang out under the trees near the Gypsy Hill Park grandstand, or take a stroll through historic Thornrose Cemetery. One of the best views of Staunton can be had from Wilson Park high on Sears Hill.

To see the leaves at their brightest, check out this fall color predictor site from Shenandoah National Park.

Festivals

Octoberfest

October 6

Octoberfest at the Frontier Culture Museum is a blast. Start the day with Irish Road Bowling and then tour the German farm. Later on, kick up your heels dancing to live music, eating traditional food, and drinking good beer. Tour the museum to see how past residents of the Valley celebrated their harvests.  The festival offers fun and activities for the entire family.

Fall Foliage Art Festival

October 13-14

150 fine artists come to downtown Waynesboro, VA for the 46th annual Fall Foliage Art Show. Artist bring paintings, printmaking, sculpture, jewelry, pottery and wood to this outdoor juried show. You can also enjoy delicious food, craft beer, and music. The Street Arts Festival takes place concurrently with Fall Foliage and offers a chance to admire the vibrant works of talented street artists as they make urban spaces their canvas.

Fall Foliage Bike Festival

October 19-21

Now in its 28th year, the Fall Foliage Bike Festival attracts over 750 cyclists from around the mid-Atlantic states for a weekend of riding in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley. Escape the cities for a quiet weekend and choose from over eleven SAG-supported routes over two days.

 

Queen City Mischief and Magic

Calling all wizards and magic lovers! September 28-30 marks the third annual Queen City Mischief and Magic, a weekend when Staunton transforms into a fantasy village. Business names change, the culture changes, and food and drinks change. Use a Mischief Map to unlock the secrets of Staunton’s charmed downtown. Experiment with potions and enjoy wizard refreshments. Try your hand at wild-beast taming or wizard dueling. This entertaining and family-friendly festival is not to be missed!

Queen City Mischief & Magic is a homegrown fan event created for our local community to celebrate and grow our appreciation for the Harry Potter books and film series. Warner Bros. Entertainment and J.K. Rowling are not responsible for or affiliated with this event.

Festival Must-Dos

The list of activities and businesses continues to grow. Get your daily update at Queen City Mischief & Magic website. Here is a sampling of the weekend’s magical fun:

    • Get the weekend started by cheering your favorite team at the Quidditch Games on Friday. Matches will be held at 6 and 7 p.m. The championship game begins at 8 p.m.
    • Find your way to The Flaming Arena behind Suntrust Bank Friday and Saturday night. The Queen City Fire Circus will be performing free shows. 7:30 and 9 p.m. Friday and 8 p.m. Saturday.
    • Love to run? Head over to the Frontier Culture Museum for the Firebolt 5K (8 a.m. Saturday morning). Quaff a speed potion and sprint for a PR or don your costume and take advantage of the selfie stops along the way.
    • Meet your favorite fantasy characters as you stroll through town enjoying the festival. Rumor has it that this year mermaids might splash you!
    • See more costumed characters arrive by train at 10 a.m. Saturday! You never know who you might see.
    • Selfie spots will abound at the festival. Plan to pose with Norberta the Dragon or a unicorn. Check out the dragon and fairy thrones at the Magic Paintbrush Gallery (Co-Art Gallery) and the selfie spots and activities in Nonprofit Alley. Remember to tag your photos with #LoveStaunton and #qcmm18.

  • Let the kids get creative with a variety of free and inexpensive activities like coffee grind finger painting, tic-tac-toe art games, scavenger hunts, and stations to make wands, neckties, snitches, and spellbooks.
  • Shmooze with a 20-foot long python! Indulge your inner herpetologist at a reptile show starring an amazing presenter from Reptile World. If you’re into owls, visit the Wine Cellar and learn all about them. You can even buy an owl pellet of your very own!
  • All these animals making you lonely? Take home a new pet made by a balloon animal artist.
  • Flaunt your wizard robes as you explore town or strut your stuff in the costume showcase. Top off your magical look with face painting & fairy hair.  See the photos from previous years for inspiration.

  • Learn the tricks of forced-perspective as you watch 3-D chalk artists bring their work to life.
  • If you’ve been polishing your five-piece endgame, now is the time to try your hand at wizards’ chess.
  • Solve some fantasy-themed riddles, tour the town, and hunt for prizes with Traipse, a free app for your cell phone. Available in two levels of difficulty. PLUS: check in on Traipse to earn House Points!   
  • Why not learn something while you’re in town? Choose from potions classes, defense against dark arts demos, and spell casting & dance lessons
  • Plan to take one of the fantasy-based tours at various sites, including a ministry of magic and a wizard’s hut, where you might encounter a ridgeback dragon!
  • Many businesses will be giving away special wizard cards. Can you be the first to nab them all?
  • Let the little ones party on their own at the Wizard Play Academy playspace for ages 1-5 at Pufferbellies Toys & Books until 3 p.m. Saturday & Sunday. Enjoy wizard-themed activities including dress ups, potion mixing, and chilling with the magical beasts. Free.
  • Did you get into wizard school? Grab your acceptance letters and get sorted into a particular house of magic.
  • Choose your wand. Rather, let a wand choose you! Purchase wooden wands at Pufferbellies Toys & Books or glass wands at Sunspots Studios
  • Magical Musical Delights organ concert features favorite tunes from stage and screen, including a suite specially created from the music from the Harry Potter films. Concert time is 3 pm at Trinity Episcopal Church. For the older crowd, enjoy the story of Phantom of the Opera, on the big screen, accompanied on a Taylor and Boody pipe organ by international sonic artist, Peter Krasinski. Concert starts at 7 pm at Trinity Episcopal Church.
  • Watch the hot glass wizards at Sunspots Studios create flaming goblets and other magic with molten glass, including glowing wands, oracle orbs, owls, pumpkins, & more!
  • Test your Harry Potter knowledge with Trivia! Head over to the Trivia Lair aka Cranberry’s to participate.
  • Have your hands in herbology by decorating a pot and growing your own “mandrake” at the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum.  We hear you might see Hermione there, too!

The Details

  • Appropriate for all ages, no admission fee required. Some activities will require a small participation fee.
  • Times and locations for activities will be available at the official Queen City Mischief & Magic website and will be published in the QCMM Map which will be available electronically and in print in numerous locations throughout the weekend.
  • There will be FREE shuttles running a constant circuit from both the Mischief lot (old Dice’s Inn parking lot) at 216 Frontier Drive and the Staunton Mall at 90 Lee Jackson Highway. The Magic lot (Federated Auto Parts Warehouse lot) at 851 Statler Blvd — TO — the corner of Market and Beverley Streets in Downtown Staunton.
  • Staunton will have limited parking downtown. Please refer to this map that shows where vehicular traffic and parking will be restricted. 
  • Keep an eye on the schedule as more activities are added.

Fourth of July Happenings

Full of fireworks and fanfare, head to Staunton for a truly unique Fourth of July. 

Happy Birthday America

Tuesday, July 3 starting at 6:30 pm
Wednesday, July 4 starting at 7:30 am
Gypsy Hill Park

Celebrate America’s Birthday with two-days of festivities! This family-friendly party kicks off on July 3rd with an opening ceremony and an evening of entertainment. The party continues on July 4th with the Firecracker 5K (7:30 am), followed by the Happy Birthday America Parade (10 am) and the Official Welcome and Posting of the Colors (12 pm) along with activities, performances, and concessions for all ages. The headline performance by homegrown, country group, Wilson Fairchild—sons of Harold and Don Reid of the Statler Brothers—starts at 8 pm. The evening ends in grand fashion with fireworks. This event is FREE and open to the public. See the complete schedule

The Children’s Art Network is selling the Official Happy Birthday America t-shirts and ball caps as a fundraiser: Let’s “Paint the Park” and “Flood the Field.” These items are currently on sale at Ltd7 in Staunton and Kimco in Fishersville for $20. They may be purchased on July 3rd and 4th at Gypsy Hill Park near the entrance of the John Moxie Stadium.

Independence Day Celebration

Wednesday, July 4 from 9 am-5 pm
Frontier Culture Museum

Experience the Fourth of July with hands-on activities and presentations at Virginia’s living history museum. Historic celebrations include the reading of The Declaration of Independence, sack races, pie eating contests, woodworking and cooking demonstrations and much more. Entrance to the museum is Pay What You Will. See the complete schedule.

Looking for a low-key, yet festive way to celebrate our Nation’s Independence? Check out these family-friendly options:

 

bbq on the lawn

Wednesday, July 4 from 5 pm-9 pm
The Blackburn Inn

Celebrate the Fourth of July with a BBQ at the The Blackburn Inn. Enjoy the beautiful grounds of the newly renovated Blackburn Inn with delicious burgers, a beer garden, and special lawn games for all to enjoy. 

Pets are welcome on a leash in the beer garden – so bring your furry friends along. 
*This event is weather permitting.*

10th annual pork and cork

Wednesday, July 4 starting at 6:30 pm
Barren Ridge Vineyards

Enjoy a beautiful sunset while you sip wine at Barren Ridge Vineyard’s 10th Annual Pork and Cork. This relaxed evening includes local musicians Who Shot John and an extensive barbecue feast catered by Hogback Mtn. BBQ. End the evening with fireworks!  Wine is available for purchase but tickets are required for this event. *Due to fireworks, dogs are not allowed to attend this event.*

Your Staunton Summer Bucket List

Summer’s here and it finally feels like you have time to do all those things you’ve been yearning to do. But we know those long days are fleeting, so we’ve built a Staunton bucket list to help you maximize the moments and pack the most of Staunton’s unique experiences into your season.

chase ghosts

Discover the Queen City after dark. Led by a lantern, this two-hour walking tour is where history and hauntings meet. Hear the stories of Staunton’s most notable residents like Mary Baldwin, James Vames, Myrtle Knox and Jimmy Atkins who are responsible for shaping the historical and haunted landscape of Staunton. Come prepared with flashlights, audio recorders and cameras to capture any paranormal activity and other oddities you might see or hear.  Book your Ghost Tour now.

spend the night locked in a room

Spend an evening finding clues and cracking real-life codes at Crack the Code Escape Room. Groups of up to eight people have an hour to solve the puzzle in this interactive strategy game, so round up your gang, put down your phones, and bond over your shared brain power. Current themed rooms include: Da Vinci’s Office, Back to the Eighties, and Steampunk City.

Hike the Appalachian Trail


Bring your hiking poles and your camera and get ready to clear your head and luxuriate in natural beauty! Staunton is only minutes away from a spectacular section of Appalachian Trail that runs along the Blue Ridge and offers steep climbs and scenic vistas. Hike along the trail or access a short spur like Bear Den Mountain or Humpback Rocks. Planning your first hike with young children? Click here for a good resource.

Stay at Virginia’s Newest Luxury Hotel

Thomas Blackburn, a protege of Thomas Jefferson, originally designed the building that is now the Blackburn Inn in 1828 as part of Western State Hospital. The institution has a busy and controversial history, but the building and grounds were designed to be beautiful and peaceful to aid in the healing process. Now, the recently renovated and reopened 49-room boutique hotel retains historic fixtures of antebellum architecture like enormous windows, original floors, and high ceilings but also embraces state-of-the-art modern convenience. And it’s not haunted, we promise.

Watch a movie under the stars at a classic drive-in

No summer experience is more iconic than a double feature at a good, old-fashioned drive-in movie theater. Hull’s Drive-In, located south of Staunton, has been lighting up the night since 1950. Bring the family and enjoy summer blockbusters and a full menu at the snack bar. A Staunton bucket list won’t feel complete without this ultimate retro family destination!

attend a Music Festival

Whether it’s a major festival like Redwing Roots or Chili. Blues n’ Brews, a free concert in Gypsy Hill Park, or live music at a local brewery or vineyard, music pairs wonderfully with the outdoors. Spread your blanket, watch the little ones chase fireflies, and enjoy the summer sounds with your family and friends.

explore a cave 

Finally learn the difference between a stalagmite and stalactite. Open for nearly 200 years, Grand Caverns is now a National Natural Landmark where “history runs deep.” Both Union and Confederate soldiers visited it during the Civil War, and 200 verified signatures mark its walls. The show cave boasts shield formations and “Cathedral Hall,” one of the largest cavern rooms in the eastern U.S. Best of all, the cave stays 54 degrees year round. What a great way to learn some history and geology while keeping the entire family cool!

Root for the Staunton Braves


Put on your jersey and catch Staunton Braves fever as you spend an exciting summer evening lounging in your camp chair, gobbling ballpark food, and rooting for the home team at Moxie Stadium. The Braves are part of the Valley Baseball League, a collegiate NCAA league that has been playing ball in the Valley since 1897 and regularly sends players to the majors.

Visit the Augusta County Fair

Nothing says summer like midway rides, cotton candy, sideshow acts and blue-ribbon vegetables. Venture out to Augusta Expo for the 2018 Augusta County Fair, July 31-August 4. Make sure you catch a magic show, a prize-winning livestock competition or a tractor pull. You might even see blacksmiths compete in feats of strength and dexterity. This is down-home-on-the-farm fun for the entire family.

Attend a small-town Independence Day Celebration

Staunton goes all out for the 4th of July. The loaded schedule of Happy Birthday America events features musical entertainment, a vesper service, fireworks, a parade, a 5K race, a pageant for children under 12, and concessions. It will also include a feature performance by Wilson Fairchild, a country group comprised of Wil and Landon Reid, sons of the Statler Brothers’ Harold and Don Reid  

And If there’s a tattoo on your Staunton Bucket List…

If this is the summer you’re finally going to take the plunge (or add to your existing gallery of body art), Staunton offers two tattoo parlors. Both will give consultations and create custom designs (and cover ups). Check out Lion’s Den Tattoo or Acme Tattoo for some really cool art and great customer experiences.

 

 

Your Guide to Staunton’s Summer Music Festivals: 2018

Music rings through Staunton during the summer. The festival season kicks off with the Shenandoah Valley Blues & Virginia Brews Festival on June 16 and culminates with the Staunton Music Festival on August 19. Add the First Annual Valley Beach Music Festival and the Red Wing Roots Music Festival at Natural Chimneys and we have over 8 weeks of live music to choose from—and it’s happening just about everywhere in Staunton. Planning your festival experience will involve some coordination, so check out our festival guide for insider tips and must-see performances.

Shenandoah Valley Blues & Virginia Brews Festival

June 16, 2018

Come enjoy the Blues, tasty brews, and The Club at Ironwood’s panaramic views of the Blue Ridge at the 10th Annual Shenandoah Valley Blues & Virginia Brews Festival. Spend the afternoon listening to Samantha Fish, Sun-Dried Opossum, Kiz Carter and Juke Jackson, and many more while enjoying the scenery and a wide variety of local BBQ, craft vendors, and beer from Virginia microbreweries. The event benefits Staunton Augusta Art Center.

Fan Favorite: Sun-Dried Opposum’s guitar-driven rock-n-roll and high-energy live performances will keep you dancing! 

Must See: Don’t miss singer-guitarist-songwriter, Samantha Fish, whom The New York Times called “an impressive blues guitarist who sings with sweet power” and “one of the genre’s most promising young talents.”

Have a Listen: Check out this video of Samantha Fish

When & Where:

June 16, 2018 2 – 9 p.m.

The Club at Ironwood, Staunton, Virginia

$12 & Children under 12 are free

Before You Go:

  • Bring your lawn chairs
  • No coolers or pets allowed

 

First Annual Valley Beach Music Festival

July 7, 2018

Come enjoy this new Staunton music festival in its first year. It will be set against the beautiful backdrop of the Club at Ironwood with easy access to the interstate. Keep checking Shenandoah Concerts for more info as it becomes available.

When & Where:

July 7, 2018 2-9 p.m.

The Club at Ironwood, Staunton, Virginia

$17 & Children under 12 are free

Before You Go:

  • The event will occur rain or shine
  • Bring your lawn chairs
  • No coolers or pets allowed
  • Bring your printed ticket and ID if you plan to buy alcohol

 

Heifetz Institute’s Festival of Concerts

June 30 – August 10

The Heifetz Institute’s Festival of Concerts kicks off a summer of music making with their Opening Concert and Convocation on June 30, and the music doesn’t stop until August 10. The six-week festival consists of over 40 events including daily concerts, outdoor events, “Heifetz Happy Hours” featuring local wine and artisan food, and special performances featuring their world-renowned faculty and guest artists. 

Fan Favorite: The ever-popular Heifetz Hootenannies happen every Saturday night under the big tent; you never know who might just show up and play! Enjoy great food and brews during the show.

When & Where:

Saturdays: 7/7, 7/14, 7/21, 7/28, 8/4 

Page Terrace, Mary Baldwin University

$10 and kids under 13 are free

Must See:  Heifetz Celebrity Series: Anything Goes is a  fun Friday night tradition! Experience Heifetz Institute faculty members performing entertaining 75-minute programs. The concerts begin at 6, preceded by a 5 p.m. “Happy Hour” under the Page Terrace tent featuring wine from local vineyards and artisan foods from local eateries.

When & Where:

Fridays: 7/6, 7/13, 7/20, 7/27, 8/3

Happy Hour Receptions: 5 p.m., Page Terrace

Concerts: 6 p.m., Francis Auditorium

Mary Baldwin University

$30

Have a Listen:

Check out this video of Heifetz students playing Tchaikovsky during the 2017 Grand Finale performance:

Before You Go:

  • Several free performances; All other concerts range from $8 to $50
  • 2018 Season passes are SOLD OUT, but tickets to individual events are available
  • For lodging and to plan your trip to Staunton, click here

 

Red Wing Roots music Festival 

July 13-15

Set against the towering limestone formations known as The Natural Chimneys, the Red Wing Roots Music Festival music festival, now in its sixth year, features the best of both worlds: great music in the great outdoors. Spend the weekend listening to the music of The Steel Wheels, Trampled by Turtles, Josh Ritter, and many more while immersed in outdoor activities including daily hikes, morning yoga, fun runs and activities for kids. A new event this year is a pick-along jam session at the Kinfolk Stage, led by Red Wing Academy staff and teachers from The Front Porch in Charlottesville. Bring the entire family and set up camp for the weekend or come for the day. Either way you’re guaranteed to have fun!

Must See: Folk/rock band Trampled by Turtles, female folk trio I’m With Her, singing and songwriting duo The Secret Sisters, and blues singer Charley Crockett are all great bets.

Have a Listen: Check out The Secret Sisters and the track “He’s Fine” from their upcoming new album, You Don’t Own Me Anymore (Available 6/9).

Fan Favorites: The Steel Wheels‘ sets, particularly the Tribute Set on Sunday where they are joined by many other artists performing Red Wing are fan favorites.  Also popular is the Judy Chops‘ high-energy blend of blues, swing, rock-a-billy, and country. 

Before You Go:

All the Details:

Complete Line-up

Tickets

 

Staunton Music Festival

August 10-19

The Staunton Music Festival celebrates 21 years of music with a 10-day festival. One of the most popular music events of the summer, the festival includes multiple daily performances with music ranging from the Middle Ages to commissioned world premieres. It takes place throughout historic downtown Staunton in a variety of locations.

Fan Favorite: The Baroque Inside/Out concert is a program of music by Bach and Vivaldi, all performed on period instruments. The experience will also include roaming madrigal singers in the courtyard during intermission.

When & Where:

Friday, August 17, 7:30 p.m.

Trinity Episcopal Church

Must See: Hercules, a masterpiece of Baroque opera by Handel, has rarely been performed since it premiered in the mid-1700s. This performance will be staged by prominent and cutting-edge opera director from NYC, Ethan Heard.  

When & Where:

Friday, August 10, 7:30 p.m.

Trinity Episcopal Church

Another big event is the all-Mozart finale, Sublime Mozart, on Aug 19th. This concert will feature Mozart’s “Jupiter” Symphony and Requiem, two of his final works.  

When & Where:

Sunday, August 19, 4 p.m.

Trinity Episcopal Church

Have a Listen: Jean Philippe Rameau’s “Suite” from Les Indes Galantes is performed at the 2017 Staunton Music Festival.

Before You Go:

  • Free daily concert; All other concerts range from $10-22 (not including college and youth ticket prices)
  • For lodging and to plan your trip to Staunton, click here; the festival will announce new dining and lodging deals as the season gets closer Check the Staunton Music Festival website or social media pages for the latest info

All the Details:

Calendar of Events

Tickets

2018 SUMMER PASSES include general admission at a 10% discount to all performances in the regular August series

Rolling Down the Byways: Staunton-Area Motorcycle Rides

Shenandoah National Park

Photo by @rosieladyblue

Spring is a beautiful time to experience the landscapes and vistas of the Shenandoah Valley. What better way to avoid garage rot than to take your bike on one of our Staunton-area motorcycle rides? With both major highways and scenic back roads, Staunton is convenient for motorcyclists who want to get somewhere in a hurry and those who want to take their time.

Plan to visit Shenandoah Harley Davidson to shop for some new gear or to attend an upcoming event.

Begin or end your tour in Staunton to take advantage of our many fine restaurants, lodgings, and things to do. Staunton is the perfect starting point for these area rides. See the Harley Davidson area rides page for detailed ride notes on these and more.


Crabtree Falls Loop

The ride to Crabtree Falls will stun. You’ll cruise down scenic Rt. 11, which was once one of our country’s important early roads, heavily traveled since Colonial times, but now a quiet alternative to the interstate. VA-56, the road to Crabtree Falls, switchbacks steeply up and over the top of the Blue Ridge, crossing the Blue Ridge Parkway and descending into Nelson County. Crabtree Falls is a great place for a picnic and to stretch your legs. It is one of the tallest cascading waterfalls east of the Mississippi. The falls are easy viewed and photographed from the trail. After the waterfall, continue on scenic VA-151 and VA-6. Consider stopping at one of the wineries in Nelson County to enjoy a glass and take in the view. You’ll travel back over Afton Mountain and pass Waynesboro, where you could shop or eat. If you’re looking for a beer, Basic City Beer Co. or Stable Craft Brewing won’t disappoint and should tide you over until you get back to Staunton. 

Monterey Loop

The ride west to Monterey is best for experienced riders as there are many steep switchbacks as you work your way into the Allegheny Mountains. Your ride begins in the gentle farmland surrounding Staunton and then winds through the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest. Plan a quick stop on top of Shenandoah Mountain to explore the .5-mile Confederate Breastworks Interpretive Site. After your history lesson, you’ll wind down into Highland County, Virginia’s own maple syrup country. This quiet area bustles for two weeks every March during the Highland Maple Festival. Otherwise, Monterey is a sleepy town and is considered welcoming to bikers. Catch a bite to eat and get gas, as there aren’t many options until much later in the loop. Beyond Monterey, you’ll go by the Green Bank Observatory, national radio observatory and science center that offers free tours and a cafe. Heading back to Staunton, you’ll ride through Goshen Pass where you might want to take a break to explore the rocks or cool your feet in the water. Consider stopping for a snack or to shop in historic Lexington, and tour the nearby Cyrus McCormick Wayside

Skyline Drive and Shenandoah National Park

Just minutes away, Staunton’s location makes it the ideal starting point for a rides along the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Skyline Drive. Follow I-64 to the top of Afton Mountain and decide whether you want to go north or south.

If you go north to experience the Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park, be prepared to pay an entrance fee. The Skyline Drive stretches for 105 miles and is the only public road through the park. The 35-m.p.h. speed limit provides a chance to enjoy the views and the almost 70 scenic overlooks.  Lots of trail heads and some of the best hikes in the area beckon if you’re looking for some exercise after a day of riding. The park contains over 500 miles of trails for hikers of varying abilities  You might also tour Rapidan Camp, the historic presidential retreat established by Herbert Hoover. And if you’re out after dark, park at an overlook and turn off your lights for incredible views of the night sky untainted by light pollution. Plan accordingly: there are only four entrances to the Skyline Drive, but each one has easy access to gas and food. Watch for wildlife like bear, deer, raccoons, fox, and birds!

Blue Ridge Parkway

If you head south along a portion of the 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway, plan to stop at the Humpback Rocks Visitor Center. The nearby interpretive farm offers a view into the lives of early settlers who lived and farmed the area. You can also grab a map or download a map that works even in areas without cell service.

The sweeping curves and beautiful vistas make this road popular with motorcyclists. Take advantage of the many scenic overlooks, photographic opportunities, and picnic stops along the Parkway. You’ll score views in all directions. There is no gas or food along the Parkway, but many roads access it, and most exits will be within a few miles of both. Stop at 215-foot Natural Bridge, one of Virginia’s newest state parks for some Americana like a Native American village, a wax museum, and a gift shop.  The speed limit along the Parkway is 45 m.p.h. and motorcyclists must wear helmets. Keep your eyes out for pedestrians and wildlife.

 

Staunton’s Plein Air Art Festival

 

The Queen City is getting ready to play host to artists from Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and New York for the Second Annual Plein Air Festival. You might be asking yourself “what is plein air?” The expression is actually French meaning “en plein air,” or “open air,” allowing the artist to go beyond the four walls of a studio and experience drawing or painting in the landscape. In its truest form, a plein air painting is completed from beginning to end on site with the subject matter right in front of the artist.

During the Queen City Plein Air Festival, invited artists will spend three days painting the unique architecture of downtown Staunton, the beautiful gardens on the Historic Garden Week Tour, and the rolling landscapes of Augusta County. Featured locations include internationally known Polyface Farm, the living history museum the Frontier Culture Museum, the newly renovated Blackburn Inn, and Gaie Lea Farm and Venue—just to name a few.  The public can view (and even purchase) the newly completed works of Staunton and Augusta County at the Fresh Paint Gallery Sale on Saturday, April 21 from 6:00-8:30 pm.

Both professional and inspiring artists can get in on the action with Paint Staunton Day, a family-friendly art competition and pop-up show. Artists of all ages and skill levels are invited to compete within three categories: Professional, Amateur, and 16 and Under for a total of $1000 in cash prizes and the opportunity to capture the timeless beauty of historic downtown Staunton. The event culminates with a judging and Pop-Up Show and Sale.

Other festival events include artist demonstrations, lectures, and a workshop by event juror and nationally acclaimed plein air painter, Nancy Tankersley. For more information on the Queen City Plein Air Festival (April 17-22) and a complete calendar of events visit: Visit Beverley Street Studio School.

Insider Tips for Visiting Staunton this Spring

Insider Tips For Visiting Staunton This Spring

If you haven’t visited yet, now is the perfect time to make your first trip. Staunton frequently tops many “best” lists – and for good reason. The city’s architecture, performing arts, local charm, and buzz-worthy dining scene make it an ideal getaway, especially in the spring.

Check out Staunton’s spring art festivals

You may not be shopping for art, but it never hurts to look! And it’s always fun to see artists in action. Regional art festival standouts include the Queen City Plein Air Festival and the Hot Glass Festival in April, and Art in the Park extravaganza in May. Or go on an art walk downtown visiting the many galleries and working studios that include all mediums from fiber to textiles to glass and everything in between. 

See a show (or two!)

Staunton is home to the American Shakespeare Center and the Blackfriars Playhouse, the world’s only re-creation of Shakespeare’s indoor theatre. Hailed by The Boston Globe as “phenomenal…bursting with energy,” this is a theatrical experience you won’t want to miss.

While he often appears at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, tenor Gerhard Siegel will perform a single recital (works by Puccini, Mahler, Schumann) in Staunton on April 7. Tickets available through Staunton Music Festival.

Take a free guided walking tour

Historic Staunton Foundation offers FREE walking tours every Saturday at 10 am from May through October. Visitors wind their way through four of Staunton’s six historic districts as a local guide describes Staunton’s development and architecture.

Go shopping & antiquing

Take a stroll and window shop on Beverley Street, proclaimed by USA Today as one of the “most charming main streets” in America. Downtown merchants offer an eclectic mix of antiques, arts, and distinctive gifts in addition to delicious foodstuffs.

 Spend a day at a museum

Explore the Shenandoah Valley’s pioneering history at the Frontier Culture Museum, with living snapshots of what frontier from the 1600s through the mid-1800s in this area. Jumping ahead to the 20th century, take a closer look at our 28th president at the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Museum as you take a self-guided tour through seven galleries that explore Wilson’s life and legacy.

Sample your way through our farmer’s market

At this “producers-only” market, you can enjoy live music and meet local farmers and food artisans. Starting in April, this event runs every Saturday from 7 am to 12 pm in the Wharf District.

Taste new brews

Beer is in, and Staunton is at the center of a booming beer scene. What better place to try out a flight on the Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail than Redbeard Brewing, which was recently tapped in a story by the Washington Post for best barrel-aged beers.

Marvel at mountain views

Staunton is equally close to Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Both roads rank among the “best mountain drives” in America. You’ll have access to spectacular views, and hundreds of miles of hiking including the Appalachian Trail. Wildflowers dazzle with colorful blooms, starting in mid-March.