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Category: Performing Arts

What’s Playing Next? Staunton’s Summer Music Roundup

Picture kicking back on a blanket under the stars enjoying a picnic and listening to the Steel Wheels and other favorite artists. Or imagine relishing the sounds of Beethoven while the light shines through the stained glass at Trinity Church. Or how about celebrating the 4th of July virtually from the comforts of your own home? There are plenty of ways to get live music into your life this summer. Here’s a guide to your Staunton summer soundtrack!

Happy Birthday America Virtual

It’s still too soon to hold Staunton’s traditional Happy Birthday America Celebration with Wilson Fairchild. However, you can join in the fun with the virtual version by tuning into the Happy Birthday America YouTube channel. The virtual celebration will “feature guests, pictures and memories looking back through the years.” Musical guests will include Rhonda Vincent, The Malpass Brothers, Jimmy Fortune, Tony Jackson, and Mark Wills & Ruth Graham. Tune in online at 7:15 p.m. on Sunday, July 4.

Heifetz Institute’s Festival of Concerts

You’re in for a treat with this year’s annual Heifetz Institute’s Festival of Concerts! Choose from over 50 different concerts extending through August 6. Concerts range from chamber music, Fourth of July music, and multi-genre selections. See world-renowned celebrity guests in the Celebrity Series and Sunday Matinee Series. Heifetz students perform in the Stars of Tomorrow Series as well as the intimate Fridays in the Gallery series, which is set in a quiet gallery surrounded by Shenandoah Valley art. Anything goes in the Heifetz Hootenanny Series, which will occur in the Blackburn Inn’s new Great Hall.

Red Wing Roots Music Festival

Have you bought your tickets for the annual Red Wing Roots Music Festival yet? If not, you’d better hurry. The festival is coming up on July 9-11, and features some of the biggest names in folk music. Listen to The Steel Wheels, Tim Mavericks, Sarah Jarosz, Hiss Golden Messenger, Ragged Mtn String Band, and over 40 more as they play five stages. The festival will be staged at Natural Chimneys Park against the stunning 120-foot limestone towers. Besides the music, festival attendees can expect a beer garden, food and craft vendors, and lots of fun outdoor activities. Join bike rides, yoga, and lawn games for adults and kids alike.

Summer Stage at the Blackburn Inn

Spread out your blanket and get ready for a great night under the stars at the Blackburn Inn’s Friday night SummerStage concert series. The concerts will extend through Labor Day and they will showcase talent like The Quebe Sisters, David Wax Museum, Bonnie Bishop, Hackensaw Boys, Bryan Elijah Smith, and more playing in a wide range of genres. Along with the music, you can enjoy beverages from local vineyards, breweries, and cideries. There will also be food from the 2nd Draft Bistro. The grounds open at 6 p.m. and the music starts at 7 p.m.

Staunton Music Festival

You’ll experience classical music spanning over 600 years at The Staunton Music Festival (August 13-15 and August 18-22). Dozens of musicians will perform in both large and small ensembles. Performances will take place in in downtown Staunton in historic Trinity Episcopal Church, Blackfriars Playhouse, and First Presbyterian Church. Festival highlights include “Time Lost and Found,” which examines the philosophical issues of time in music, “Music Transatlantica,” and “Masters and Students.” While some events are ticketed, many are free.

Redbeard’s Summer Concert Series

Want to sip some delicious craft beer while you listen to music? From now until October, find a seat at Redbeard Brewing Company on the last Saturday night of each month for their Live Summer Concert Series. Favorite groups like The Judy Chops, Six Shot Rebellion, The Findells, and Drägön Wägön will headline. 6-9 p.m.

Stonewall Brigade Band at the Gypsy Hill Bandstand 

Staunton’s historic 70-member Stonewall Brigade Band is bringing big sounds to your Monday nights from now through August 30. The oldest-continuous community band in the U.S. was originally a marching band, but with the addition of woodwinds after the Civil War, it became a concert band. It first played in what is now Gypsy Hill Park in 1889. Concerts begin at 8 p.m. See the full schedule here.

Tuesday Nights: Praise in the Park in Gypsy Hill Park 

Head to Gypsy Hill Park on Tuesday nights in July and August to hear Linden Heights Baptist Church’s annual Praise in the Park concert series. You hear contemporary and southern gospel as well as gospel bluegrass. Better yet, there will be activities to keep the kiddos busy while you listen to favorites like Faithful Men, Sierra Losh & Just Us Country Band, Ed Pettersen & Streets of Gold Quartet, Brian Buchanan & Heaven’s Mountain Band, and Covenant Band. Concerts begin at 7 p.m. See the full schedule here.

Bluegrass in Gypsy Hill Park

Local and regional bluegrass entertainers will visit Staunton on Wednesday nights between July 7 and August 25. Most concerts include sets by two different groups. Get ready for some energetic tunes and banjo picking from  Mark Templeton Band, Southern Rail Express, Page County Ramblers, Donnie Mason and In the Tradition, and more. Concerts begin at 7 p.m. See the full schedule here.

Thursday Nights: Jazz in the Park 

Celebrate hot summer nights with the Jazz in the Park summer concert series. You’ll hear classic jazz standards performed by S.P.L.A.A.A.T. Quartet, amazing stride/boogie pianist William Hayes performing with The Boogie Kings, and trumpeter John D’earth, who has collaborated with greats such as Tito Puente, Dave Matthews, and Miles Davis. Concerts begin at 7 p.m. See the full lineup here.

Nearby Music

You might also check out Waynesboro Parks and Rec’s Groovin’ at the Greenway and Wayne on Main events, which allow visitors to get comfy outdoors while listening to live music.

 

Top Things to Do in Staunton This Summer

After a year spent hiding in our homes it’s time to get outside and LIVE again. From live music to alfresco dining, here’s our roundup of fun things to do in Staunton this summer.

Shop & Dine Out Downtown

Celebrate summer by heading downtown to the Beverley Street area to dine alfresco during Shop and Dine Out in Downtown. Staunton closes Beverley Street from 4 p.m. Friday afternoon to 7:30 a.m. Monday morning so that restaurants and businesses can use space on the sidewalks and in the roadway for dining areas and merchandise displays. Customers can spread out and stay safe. Restaurants participating in Shop and Dine Out Downtown include: Laughing Bird Pho, Shenandoah Pizza & Tap House, Shenandoah Valley Brewing Company, Baja Bean Co., BLU Point Seafood Co., and more.

American Shakespeare Center at MBU’s Rose Terrace

Check out a performance by the American Shakespeare Center.  See the schedule for dates and showtimes of Macbeth, Henry V, and All’s Well That Ends Well. Some shows will be happening on-site at the Blackfriars Theatre, the world’s only re-creation of Shakespeare’s performance space. For a special summer treat, watch the Bard’s work under the stars on Mary Baldwin University’s Rose Terrace. Historic Rose Terrace has the distinction of once being the most expensive house in Staunton, and it appears on the National Registry of Historic Places. Its beautiful flat lawn makes a lovely, sheltered performance space.

SummerStage at The Blackburn Inn

How about kicking back on the lawn of the historic Blackburn Inn for a concert under the stars this summer? You’ll enjoy the sounds of Americana, roots, country, folk, and bluegrass bands during the weekly SummerStage series of concerts. The concerts will take place each Friday night from Memorial Day through Labor Day. You’ll be able to dine on a gourmet picnic box and enjoy beverages from local breweries, cideries, and vineyards. The series will feature artists like Danny Paisley and the Southern Grass, Fireside Collective, David Wax Museum, Bonnie Bishop, and more. Get your tickets today!

Get Your New Beerwerks T-shirt

Have you signed up for the Beerwerks Passport yet? As if you needed more incentive to try the 18 breweries along the Beerwerks Trail. Not only can you enjoy tasty craft beers, Valley views, and brewery entertainment like live music and trivia, but once you get your passport stamped at eight breweries, you can send it in for a free t-shirt. That’s high summer fashion! Start with Redbeard Brewing Company, Queen City Brewing, and Shenandoah Valley Brewing Co. right here in Staunton. Next, venture out of town to Skipping Rock Beer Company, Seven Arrows Brewing Co., and Stable Craft Brewing.

Nearby Swimming Holes 

Escape your stale house and take a break from the kiddie pool this summer! The Staunton area has several swimming lakes like Sherando and Todd Lakes with hiking trails, picnic areas, and sandy beaches.  Water seekers will also like hiking to waterfalls in Shenandoah National Park or the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest. St. Mary’s Falls is a four-mile out-and-back hike that pays off with an icy mountain pool and scenic waterfall. For more splashy ways to beat the heat, check out our post on area swimming holes

Frontier Culture Museum’s summer events – Juneteenth, 4th of July, Roots Music

Make sure you visit the Frontier Culture Museum this summer for a living history lesson on the earliest settlers in our area. You’ll get to see how various groups lived, worked, and passed the time. Exhibits include Native American, African, German, Irish, English, and American farms. The museum is hosting a free Juneteenth Celebration (June 19). This year’s theme is “The Continual Evolution of JUNETEENTH” and it will feature live music and event speakers. Later, the museum teaches visitors how our ancestors celebrated 4th of July with demonstrations, games, and more. Come to the museum in August for a series of live Roots Music concerts. You’ll enjoy the music of Karen Jonas, Haze & Dacey, Wound Tight Bluegrass, Troy Breslow, and Southern Hospitality.

Staunton Parks – Gypsy Hill & Montgomery Hall

There’s lots to do at Staunton’s public parks. Jump in the pool or take your dog to the Bark Park in Gypsy Hill Park. Let your kids feed the ducks, play on the playgrounds, or ride their bikes around the 1.3-mile loop. Set up your blanket for live music Monday – Thursday nights at the bandstand. Montgomery Hall Park also offers a pool as well as playing fields and playgrounds. Of special note is the Nature Ridge natural playground, where kids are encouraged to explore and interact with nature. Bird lovers and mountain bikers will love the miles of trails winding through the woods.

Music Festivals – Red Wing Roots Festival, Heifetz, Staunton Music Festival

There’s no shortage of live music this summer, and that’s wonderful news after last summer’s silence. 

  • Add live music to your summer schedule with The Heifetz Institute’s Festival of Concerts. The festival, made up of 50+ concerts, includes performances by Heifetz students, alumni artists, celebrity faculty members, and special guests hailing from around the world. The music will range from chamber music, to Fourth of July music, to the multi-genre Heifetz Hootenannies. It all starts on June 29 and extends through August 6. 

  • The annual Red Wing Roots Music Festival (July 9 -11) is your chance to groove to wonderful music under the towering limestone Natural Chimneys. Listen to The Steel Wheels, Tim O’Brien Band, Son Little, Ragged Mtn String Band, and many more. Camp in the Natural Chimney’s campground and enjoy outdoor activities like daily group bike rides, hikes, morning yoga, fun runs, and activities for kids. Your entire family will have fun at this festival, whether you come for the day or the whole weekend.

  • The Staunton Music Festival (August 13-15 and August 18-22) is an “immersive classical music experience featuring more than 600 years of music” from the middle ages to world premieres. Dozens of musicians will perform during the festival in both large and small ensembles in a variety of locations throughout historic downtown Staunton. While some events are ticketed, many are free.

Music & Miniatures of Note in the Valley Exhibit at the R.R. Smith Center for History & Art

“Music & Miniatures of Note in the Valley” is a fun exhibit at the R.R. Smith Center for History & Art featuring the whimsical pairing of the region’s musical story with miniature scenes from the Valley’s past. The exhibit runs April 23 – September 6.

Augusta County Historical Society History Gallery in the R.R. Smith Center for History & Art
20 S. New St., downtown Staunton
Free & open to the public
Exhibit hours: W-F 1-4 p.m., Saturday 10-4

Watch for special events associated with this exhibit throughout the summer.

Pick Your Own Fruit & Produce 

Imagine a summer day in the fresh air soaking in the scenery and picking the freshest fruit and produce around. The entire family can enjoy this wholesome pastime away from the crowds. Consider Critzer Family Farm, which provides strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, cherries, peaches, plums, pumpkins, and fresh veggies, the “freshest, best-tasting and healthiest produce that you can find.”  The farm boasts environmentally-friendly methods and a commitment to educating kids and bettering the land and community. Enjoy your bounty in baked goods, canned for later, or by the handful on the car ride home.  Click here for our guide to more local pick-your-own fruit and produce farms.

 

Celebrate Juneteenth Staunton Style

Are you ready to embrace the warm weather and the loosening of Covid restrictions? Are you ready to celebrate community and learn about cultural heritage? Are you ready to dance? Read on for some local ways to enjoy  Juneteenth, the holiday to celebrate the end of slavery.

Juneteenth Celebration at Sunspots Pavilion

Get the Juneteenth party started early on Friday, June 18th at the Juneteenth Celebration at Sunspots Pavilion in the historic Wharf. The free event is from 6 – 10 p.m. and features a variety of vendors as well as music by Steve The Painter & DJ Adonis. Expect to hear old-school classic club hits from the 70s, 80s, and 90s as well as some sounds from South Africa. All that dancing will make you hungry, so grab a bite from one of the onsite food trucks, Wharf restaurants, or stroll over to Beverley Street to take advantage of dining opportunities. Beverley Street is closed to vehicular traffic on the weekends. 

5th Annual Juneteenth at the Frontier Culture Museum

In the past, the annual Shenandoah Valley Juneteenth Celebration was held at Montgomery Hall Park. This year, however, the Frontier Culture Museum is hosting the free family-friendly event on June 19, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. This year’s theme is “The Continual Evolution of JUNETEENTH” and it will feature live music and event speakers. Bring a blanket or lawn chair and plan to hang out. If you’re feeling competitive, join the 3-point shooting competition or the cornhole tournament. Food, jewelry, craft, and other vendors will be on site.

Visitors should also explore the rest of the 200-acre living history museum and learn about the early inhabitants of our area from costumed interpreters.  Of special interest will be the museum’s West African farm exhibit, which “explores the cultural contributions of African captives who were brought to Virginia in the 1700s.” Though enslaved peoples were captured from all over Africa and represented many ethnic groups, many were Igbo from the West African Coast. The clay farm exhibit demonstrates how the Igbo cooked, farmed, created crafts and pottery before enslavement.

Juneteenth After Party at the Pompei Lounge

DJ Adonis is back, this time at the Pompei Lounge at 23 E. Beverley Street on Saturday, June 19th, 10 p.m. – 1:30 a.m. This Juneteenth After Party is sure to get you dancing. The Pompei offers plenty of room to spread out over two floors with several unique spaces, a balcony, and an open-air terrace.

If you’d like to discover resources for gaining a broader understanding of our city’s African-American history, culture, and contributions, check out our post on African American History in Staunton.

Virtual Staunton Visits

Looking for some much-needed entertainment while we are all sheltering-in-place, but tired of Netflix, TikTok, and YouTube?  Staunton has lots of options for virtual entertainment and education to keep you busy from the comfort of your own home this spring.

Bring American Shakespeare Center home with BlkFrsTV

“Thrilling…These webcasts effortlessly convey the joyous experience of watching Shakespeare performed in Blackfriars Playhouse..let ASC take your mind off your troubles as you commune at home with theater’s supreme genius,” — Terry Teachout for The Wall Street Journal 

Streaming Shows

Since audiences can’t come to the Blackfriars, ASC is bringing the Playhouse to you. Pull up a chair to the virtual hearth for cinema-quality streaming video of their complete 2020 Actors’ Renaissance and Tour Homecoming seasons. These high-quality performances are available until May 3, 2020 and each performance is just $10 per household. Can’t commit? Don’t worry, you have a week to watch the performance. Have more questions? Visit their FAQ page to find out about BLKFRS TV. 

Masterclasses and SHXCADEMY 

ASC announced two new opportunities to connect and learn something new direct from the stage and shops of the Blackfriars Playhouse and delivered straight to your home.  ASC/Masterclass series is a series of eight unique courses taught over 6-weeks by ASC artists and designed for everyone.  No experience is required to enroll and the best part is you can do it in the comfort of your own homewhere no one is watching. So you can let your hair down and immerse yourself in the experience as you connect with ASC’s artists in an intimate setting. Pick your area of interest which run the gamut from stage fighting, song writing, character building, cooking, movement and much more. Join ASC actors every week for an hour long class and dive into the creative process.  

The SHXCADEMY introduces participants to the practices of the rehearsal room through a series of four workshops, hosted live from the Blackfriars Playhouse, plus a digital ticket to the relevant BlkFrsTV streaming production you are studying. Working with ASC’s Education Team and ASC artists you’ll break down Shakespeare’s text into pieces, connecting character, story, and compelling moments. These workshops are perfect for families or individuals. Learn more about the workshops and to see the complete schedule. 

FREE ONLINE TOURS at Woodrow Wilson Presidential LIBRARY

Maybe a virtual tour of our 28th President’s home or an educational discussion with the museum curator is more up your alley? Check out the FREE online tours and programs offered at the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum. Every Monday and Wednesday take a virtual tour of Wilson’s birthplace home. On Tuesday afternoons join the Curator Andrew Phillips or Education Director Emily Kilgore in a lively discussion with their “History at Home,” series focusing on a different topic every week. Friday’s topics switch every other week between Enslaved Laborers in the Manse and Wilson and the Pandemic. Enslaved Laborers in the Manse focuses on the enslaved people who lived and labored in the Presbyterian Manse where Woodrow Wilson was born, while Wilson and Pandemic looks at the 1918 pandemic and how it compares to COVID-19 and what we are currently facing today. Take a look at the complete schedule and list of topics. Registration is FREE but is required to participate. 

sip and swirl with Virtual Experiences at Barren Ridge Vineyards 

Barren Ridge is hosting a series of tastings and other experiences on Facebook Live. Their Live at 5 Wine Tastings are every Sunday at 5 PM and come with tasting sheets. Read up on the wine before joining Robert Higgs for a virtual tasting where you will learn wine tasting technique, varietal characteristics, and a bit of local history surrounding the Higgs’ 3rd generation family farm. For a more hands on experience, taste alongside Robert by pre-ordering your wine. Pick-up curbside or get your your wine delivered locally on Thursdays (15-mile radius). 

unwind with classical music 

Subscribe to the Heifetz International Music Institute’s YouTube channel. Their robust channel, with over 30,000 subscribers and millions of views, is your go-to for classical music—although their repertoire goes far beyond Beethoven, Bach, and Brahms. Their videos include performances from past seasons of their Festival of Concerts with tons of playlists to choose from. The Institute also releases a Video of the Week where they highlight a piece of music offering historical context surrounding the music and programmatic notes while highlighting the Heifetz alums, students, and celebrity faculty that take that stage of the Francis Auditorium at Mary Baldwin University. And if that wasn’t enough, the Institute also has their very own Spotify Playlist on their website. Happy listening! 

get up close and personal with wildlife

Get up close and personal with wildlife at the Virginia Wildlife Center. This animal hospital is home to two dozen animal residents like hawks, owls, eagles, opossums and snakes. These permanent residents serve as ambassadors for the center and you can visit them via the center’s critter cam. Channel 1 features the center’s education birds that are non-releasable: Buddy the Bald Eagle, Buttercup the Black Vulture or Athena the Barred Owl. Channels 2 and 3 show the cute and cuddly black bear yearlings and cubs who will be cared for until they are old enough to be released back in the wild. The Center is also offering virtual programs every week on Facebook. Here you can meet their animal ambassadors and learn about the different species. Visitors can also tour their animal enclosures and if you think you’re an animal expert try their Quiz Friday! Facebook live events.

Take a virtual Architecture Walking Tour

Explore Staunton and the city’s historic districts, and other areas of town, on a virtual walking tour via our blog. Every week this new blog series, Staunton on Foot, takes you on a stroll through one of Staunton’s historic districts, six of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Learn about the eclectic mix of architectural styles that range from Greek Revival, Second Empire, Romanesque Revival, Colonial Revival, Neo-classical, Federal, Beaux-Arts and more. Much of the city’s celebrated architecture can be attributed to one man, TJ Collins, a talented architect who practiced in Staunton from 1891 to 1911. He designed or remodeled nearly 200 buildings in Staunton, many of which still survive today including the courthouse, schools, churches, theaters, commercial buildings and private residences.

So far Staunton on Foot has explored three areas of the city, Beverley StreetThornrose Cemetery, and Newtown. While Thornrose Cemetery isn’t listed on the National Register of Historic Places it is chalk-full of history, character and beauty and definitely worth checking out. Newtown, ironically, is Staunton’s oldest distinctly residential neighborhood and is Staunton’s largest consisting of over 400 buildings.

Whether you’re visiting virtually or literally exploring by foot check out Historic Staunton Foundation’s walking tour map. Physical maps are also available for pick-up at the kiosk outside the Visitor Center at 35 S. New Street.

 

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’s Sensational Summer Music Scene

Happy birthday america featuring wilson fairchild

July 3 -4

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. 

When & Where:
Tuesday, July 3rd and Wednesday, July 4th 
Gypsy Hill Park
FREE and open to the public

Must See: 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

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

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

Girlfriends’ Getaway

Staunton has plenty of trendy restaurants, local wine, luxurious lodgings, and unique shopping and entertainment opportunities. That’s why it’s the ideal environment for making new memories during a wonderful girlfriends’ getaway. You and your besties will want to make it an annual trip. Here’s a fun roundup of must-do activities.

Explore Staunton

When you arrive, head straight for Staunton’s extremely walkable downtown. The Staunton Farmer’s Market opens on the first Saturday in April, and often features live music. Nibble a baked treat and scout out seasonal produce, honey, jams and pickles to take home. Next, explore Staunton’s five historic districts, visit the Woodrow Wilson Birthplace, or take a tour of the American Shakespeare Center. Stop in at Paris Cake Company for something sweet. And if cupcakes are your particular passion, you can’t skip the giant cupcakes and egg-less raw cookie dough at Sweet Nana Cakes.

Shopping

Staunton has a lot to offer girlfriends who enjoy shopping together. Plan to spend some time exploring our boutiques, galleries, and antique stores. Design at Nine offers the latest in women’s fashion, shoes, and accessories. Try Latitudes for fair trade selections ranging from women’s apparel, to jewelry to recycled metal wall art. If you’re looking for more art to buy, check out Beverly Street Studio, where local artists exhibit and sell their work. You might also be captivated by the spectacular glass work at Sunspots.

Relax and Recharge

Recharge your mind and body with a class at Sanctuary Yoga and Wellness.The studio welcomes walk-ins and offers classes in a variety of styles, including vinyasa, hatha, and yin. See here for a schedule. If you’re serious about relaxing, why not share a spa day with your girlfriends? Indulge yourself at Breezy Hill Day Spa, housed in a historic mansion or Mill Street Body and Soul Day Spa and Salon,  which is right downtown. Both spas’ services include massage, facials, manicures, and pedicures. Breezy Hill offers an all-day session that includes lunch.

Outside Fun

Take a scenic drive to Fishersville and ramble around the Andre Viette Farm. Viette is world famous for his daylilies, and the farm and garden center is open year round. Get inspired by the beautiful gardens and take some plants home to your own. If fresh flowers are your thing, explore the Pebble Hall Wildflowers. Pick a bouquet of whatever’s in bloom, pet the horses, and plan a picnic to appreciate the view. If you’re outside for something more rigorous, remember that you’re in some of the best hiking country in the world. For some ideas, see An Alternate Spring Break: 5 Awesome Hikes. You might also rent a kayak or stand-up paddleboard from Rockfish Gap Outfitters in Waynesboro for a fun-filled day of paddling on the South River or Lake Sherando.

Drinks and Light Fare

Still wishing there were one more season of Downton Abbey? Drown your sorrows in tea at the Anne Hathaway Cottage Tea Room.  Enjoy traditional High Tea, light lunches and afternoon cream teas in a picturesque thatched cottage surrounded by gardens. You can even sample all the teas thrown into the harbor during the Boston Tea Party! If you’re still thirsty, head to Ox Eye Tasting Room to taste a variety of their wines. Follow your tasting with a full glass of your favorite. Or go to Yelping Dog Wine, where wine can be enjoyed by the glass or by the bottle, and you can munch on a cheese plate or gourmet grilled cheese sandwich. If you prefer a vineyard with a view, take a picnic to Barren Ridge Vineyards, only a short drive east of Staunton.

Dinner with Friends

Staunton boasts a rich restaurant scene with much to choose from, but if you’re looking for fare to share with your girlfriends, try a range of Spanish tapas and other Mediterranean food at Aioli Restaurant. If pizza and beer are more up your alley, split a gourmet pie at Shenandoah Pizza and Tap House. And if you still have room for more food, get some scoops of homemade gelato at The Split Banana. Here, a number of flavors, both traditional and exotic will tempt your taste buds. Guinness Extra Stout in a waffle cone, anyone?

Staunton After Dark

Many of Staunton’s watering holes host events on different nights of the week. Fun stuff includes trivia, live music, and karaoke. Check out the Staunton on Tap and the Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail events page for more info. Downtown 27 is Staunton’s own dance club. Downtown 27 offers live music, DJ dance parties, and other exciting entertainment. And if active puzzle games are your style, book a Staunton’s Crack the Code Escape Room. Groups of six or fewer use their wits to puzzle out clues and escape the room in under an hour.

Theater

A trip to Staunton isn’t complete without some Shakespeare at the American Shakespeare Center. You can catch a performance almost every night year-round, and you can even sit on stage to get very close to the actors. If you’re lucky, they might use you as a prop! Check out what’s on stage at Shenanarts, where you’ll see ambitious and energetic performances by local talent almost every weekend.

Other good stuff:

For a list of Staunton restaurants known for brunch, see our post: Staunton’s Brunch Bunch.

If you’re planning to stay in Staunton overnight, here are some quirky and fun places to stay or click here for our bed and breakfast picks.

 

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.