Exclusive Guide to Queen City Mischief and Magic

Calling all muggles and wizards! The second annual Queen City Potter Party (now Queen City Mischief and Magic) is September 22-24, and unless you attended the 2016 party, you’ve never seen Staunton like this. Three days of mischief and magic await!

As Staunton is transformed to Hogsmeade (the only wizards-only village in Britain, per the Harry Potter series), business names change, the culture changes, and food and drinks change. It’s as if our city is charmed for the weekend! To find your way around, you’ll use a Marauder’s Map, much like Harry did during his first visit to Hogsmeade. Fortunately, you won’t need your invisibility cloak.

Queen City Potter Party

14 Hogsmeade MUST-DOs:

  1. Get the weekend started with the Hogwarts Homecoming Quidditch Games on Friday. The first match will be between Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw at 6 p.m. Late arrival? You’ll have Gryffindor vs. Slytherin at 7 p.m. The championship game begins at 8 p.m.
  2. See Harry and Hagrid arrive via the Hogwarts Express at Platform 9 3/4 at 9 a.m. Saturday! Visit the conductor and get a hat just like his while supplies last.
  3. Choose your wand. Rather, let a wand choose you! Purchase wooden wands at Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes (Pufferbellies Toys & Books) or glass wands at Ollivanders Wands & Orbs (Sunspots Studios). Want to eat your wand? Head over to ye Olde Curiosity Shoppe (Staunton Antique Center & The Artisans Loft).
  4. Craft a potion at Borgin & Burkes (Redwood & Co.), but sign up fast as we are certain the classes will fill quickly. Is Amortentia on the list of potions to be made? That would be lovely, wouldn’t it?
  5. While no one wants to be a “prisoner of Azkaban,” you should head over there anytime between noon and 6 p.m. Saturday (Cocoa Mill Chocolate Co.). Beware Dementors. Just sayin’.
  6. The Ministry of Magic Tours are limited, but must-see! Secure your time slot to take a special family-friendly tour through Crack the Code Escape Room before they’re gone.
  7. Madam Puddifoot’s (The Pampered Palate Cafe) is not only a Hogsmeade destination for delicious eats and drinks, there are classes to create your own Magic Twirling Tea Cup upstairs! Text 434-826-0832 to reserve your time slot.
  8. Professor Gilderoy Lockhart will be available for a meet-and-greet at Flourish & Blotts (Black Swan Books and Music). Do purchase a Queen City Mischief and Magic tote to carry all of those potions and tea cups!
  9. Visit the Restricted Room at Hogwarts Library (Barrister Books), but head’s up! There are flying books! Be sure to add a quill or bookmark to your QCMM tote.
  10. Try your hand at taming beasts (some of them are indeed fantastical!) at Magickal Menagerie (Harmony Moon).
  11. Wizards beyond a certain age will want to seek out the butterbeer at The Three Broomsticks (Baja Bean). Cheers!
  12. Find your way to The Flaming Arena behind Gringotts (Suntrust Bank) Friday and Saturday night. The Queen City Fire Circus will be performing a free show.
  13. Tarot card readings with a deck created of iconic Staunton images, Rune readings, and dragon visitations at Hagrid’s Hut (Artful Gifts LLC.)
  14. Channel your inner Hermione with a visit to Beauxbatons Academy (Mary Baldwin University) for a magical lesson on a variety of Potter-related topics, from owls to Nicholas Flamel. Taught by Mary Baldwin professors and other community experts.

… and that’s just the beginning!

A Few Finer Details:

The Marauder’s Map is LOADED with fun in Hogsmeade. Check often for its availability and updates. You won’t want to miss a thing!

There is limited parking available downtown: side streets, public lots, two parking garages (on Johnson Street and New Street).  Please view this map that shows all public parking: Map of downtown Staunton.

There will also be a FREE shuttle running a constant circuit from the Federated Auto Parts Warehouse lot (on Statler Blvd) to the Mill Street Grill parking lot. For a map click link.

Download Traipse, an app, to participate in Horcrux Hunting.

Keep an eye on the schedule for late additions.

You are encouraged to dress as your favorite Harry Potter series character. See the photos from 2016 for inspiration.

Queen City Mischief and Magic is a FREE event with a few pay-as-you-go opportunities (like crafting your own Thinking Putty at Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes!).

A 101: The Virginia Food Truck Battle & Beer Competition

The smells from food trucks on city streets are always so enticing, aren’t they? Think of a field full of food trucks. Now consider that they’re truly bringing their “A game” because such a gathering could only mean one thing: competition.

Now in its third year, The Virginia Food Truck Battle & Beer Competition will be held Sunday, September 3rd to benefit The Madee Project, a local non-profit foundation providing support to families facing their own battle: pediatric cancer. The event has grown with more food trucks than before vying for Grand Champion status. They cook well, you eat well, and The Madee Project benefits well. It’s a win-win-win.


  • Food trucks from across the Commonwealth are split into three zones.
  • VIP ticket holders act as the judges and receive a sample of each truck’s cuisine (six total per zone) and a sample from each of the six breweries in the beer garden. VIPs cast their votes and a winner from each zone plus one brewery is proclaimed. The three zone winners then deliver their wares to a panel of judges who name a Grand Champion food truck.
  • VIPs enter at 11:30 am before the general admission ticket holders are permitted access at 12:30 p.m.
  • General admission tickets provide entry to the Frontier Culture Museum and access to entertainment and children’s activities. Trucks, breweries, and wineries are essentially vendors for a la carte purchases starting at 12:30 pm.

VIP: $40 advance; $45 day-of
General Admission: $10 advance; $15 day-of; free for children five and younger


These are the known contenders as of this writing. What isn’t known is which trucks will be in which zones until the day of the event. Oh, the suspense!

  • Delicias Marina – Waynesboro
  • Eats on the Streets – Staunton  
  • Grillizza (16 meals tax due) – Broadway
  • Farm Fresh Fixins – Staunton
  • Rock’s Money Pit BBQ- Augusta Co.
  • El Chilango Mexican Grill – Nelson Co.
  • Bella Luna Food Truck – Harrisonburg
  • Cuz Em  Southern Cooking & Seafood – Harrisonburg
  • Dirty Bean – Staunton  
  • Grapevine – Richmond  
  • The Saucy Bird -Staunton  
  • El Budare Grill – Roanoke  
  • Hardman’s Smoke Stack – Lynchburg  
  • Truck 121 -Harrisonburg  
  • Mama’s Caboose-  Harrisonburg
  •  Paella Perfecta – Harrisonburg  
  • Mouth Wide Open – C’ville  
  • Sooners – Stuarts Draft


Six breweries will compete for #winning status:

  • AleWerks of Williamsburg (last year’s winner)
  • Seven Arrows of Waynesboro
  • Basic City of Waynesboro
  • Shenandoah Valley Brewing of Staunton
  • Pale Fire of Harrinsonburg 
  • Great Valley Farm of Lexington


Most important…BRING YOUR ID!

Need cash? There’s a Farmers & Merchants Bank mobile ATM on site.

Have creative kids? Let them PAINT A CAR, courtesy of Valley Cars! Magic Shows and Freckles & Friends will be performing. Along with several games to take part in!

Is the phone going dead? There’s a charging station, courtesy of Cricket Wireless.

Not much of a craft beer fan? Coors Lite will be available for purchase.

Not a beer fan at all? Ox-Eye and Rockbridge Vineyards will be pouring their wines by the glass as well as selling bottles.

Love selfies and capturing the moment? There’s a hashtag for that: #VAFoodTruckBattle.

May is the Month for Art Lovers to be in Staunton

Sunny days, festivals, and beautiful art are on tap this month in downtown Staunton. From shopping along Beverley Street to two big Memorial Day weekend festivals, May is the month for art lovers!

Art in the Park | May 25, 10 AM to 5 PM & May 26, Noon to 5 PM | Gypsy Hill Park

Now in its 53rd year, Art in the Park is a art shoppers paradise! Local, regional, and even national artists are juried, then invited to converge on Gypsy Hill Park every Memorial Day Weekend. Those perusing their booths are treated to not only beautiful original fine art pieces, but also great music and food, and children’s activities throughout the day. Admission is free.

Virginia Hot Glass Festival

Virginia Hot Glass Festival
May 25, 9 AM to 6 PM & May 26, 10 AM to 5 PM | Sunspots Studios

On one special weekend each year, visiting artists gather at Sunspots Studios for Virginia’s only annual festival that exclusively features hot glass. This year don’t miss special guest artist Grant Garmezy who sculpts life-like animals using 2,000 degree glass. Visitors can watch demonstrations all weekend, as well as view and shop for finished (and cooled) pieces. Barren Ridge Vineyards pours tastings or wine by the glass, and each artisan has a space to sell their creations. This work includes vases, jewelry, ornaments, glassware, paperweights, and beads. Find out more about this year’s festival.


If you can’t make one of the festivals or are seeking more art while you’re in town, please check out Staunton’s arts and crafts scene along with our art galleries and maker spaces. 


A Winter Wine Festival Weekend in Staunton

For six years the Winter Wine Festival has drawn couples seeking a reprieve from the doldrums of the season to Staunton. This year is no different, but the offerings may be. One dozen wineries, a cidery, and four artisan food makers will make February 25 a tasty and memorable day in the Queen City.  

About the Tastes

Of the 12 wineries bringing their best bottles to the Winter Wine Festival, half are recent medal winners in the 2017 Virginia Governor’s Cup Competition.

Thanks so much to Eric Parker for sharing with us this beautiful photo he took at the vineyard on Saturday! We're…

Posted by Barren Ridge Vineyards on Monday, March 10, 2014

  • Barren Ridge Vineyards (Fishersville): Six silvers and two bronze medals
  • Chateau Morrisette Winery (Floyd): Two silvers and one bronze medal
  • Horton Vineyards (Gordonsville): One gold, five silvers, and seven bronze medals
  • Rockbridge Vineyards (Raphine): Seven silvers and three bronze medals
  • Stanburn Winery (Stuart): Four silver medals
  • Whitebarrel Winery (Christiansburg): Two bronze medals

While the wineries are impressive, the foodies of the festival are no slackers. Wait until you taste these delights.

  • Staunton Olive Oil Company is almost two years old and folks have been flocking to score some of the finest oils and vinegars available in the Shenandoah Valley. 
  • Cocoa Mill Chocolatier‘s flagship store is in Lexington, but Staunton is elated to have a shop of its own. Cocoa Mill has been crafting wonderful delights for nearly 25 years, and their truffles are what dreams are made of. Just ask The Wall Street Journal, which ranked Cocoa Mill head and shoulders above national names you know (cough cough, Godiva, cough cough).
  • Near Charlottesville, Caromont Farms’ cheeses are handcrafted from goat’s milk. Chef and cheesemaker Gail Hobbs Page was one of Virginia’s “Women in Food” for the Southern Foodways Alliance in 2013. Caromont has received national attention from The Washington Post and CBS Evening News, among others, and their Esmontonian cheese came in second place in the 2013 American Cheese Society’s American Made/International Style Goat’s Milk category.

Where to Stay

The Winter Wine Festival is hosted at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel, therefore, a package is available to you. It includes two tickets for the festival, breakfast for two, and your room, of course. The rates start at $229. Book Now

– Other Lodging Options

Buy Tickets

Tickets for Winter Wine Festival are available for online purchase through February 17. After that, please plan to purchase at the door or in person at the following retailers. Those who book the Stonewall Jackson Hotel package will have their tickets included. Tickets are non-refundable.

PAC’N the Streets for a Staunton Street Fair

Bella Skaggs, 8, of Waynesboro looks to monkey Django. She listens to street performer Jerry Brown while at the 'P.A.C.'n the Streets' celebration on East Beverley Street in downtown Staunton on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013. Sponsored by the Staunton Performing Art Center Experience (S.P.A.C.E.), the celebrates the 100th birthday of The New Theatre.
Photo by Mike Tripp courtesy of The News Leader

Old time street fairs rarely exist anymore, which is one more reason to #LOVEStaunton. 

Staunton is arguably a top arts destination in Virginia, and PAC’N the Streets is one more box to check on the growing list of reasons. Sponsored by Staunton Performing Arts Center, this street fair is reminiscent of a bygone time that great-grandparents will likely still remember. It’s wholesome family fun with an honesty and goodness that exudes from every entertainer, every venue, and the city itself. There’s nowhere else to be on September 10th than downtown Staunton for PAC’N the Streets.

WHERE’S the fun?

The fun has spread an additional block for 2016! Beverley Street from Market Street to Central Avenue will be cordoned off for pedestrian-only traffic. That’s three blocks with a stage of entertainment at each end and a block of interactive children’s fun, too.


Staunton Performing Arts Center will provide music, skits, and general merriment all day (11 a.m. to 6 p.m.). Something new will take each stage every 20 minutes, which is why PAC’N the Streets has become a highly popular event drawing thousands to the Queen City.

In addition to the stages, roaming performers, magicians, and characters will keep the atmosphere alive with amusement.

Arts and crafts vendors will be on hand, and a wide variety of food will be available for purchase. Seating for dining and watching the shows will be provided.

Kids will love the fun that Staunton Parks & Recreation and other entities provide. Look for the mini petting zoo featuring rescued animals. It’s a new feature this year that everyone will love.

Don’t be afraid to look beyond the fair, as Staunton’s shops and restaurants love to get in on the festive fun, too!

PAC’N the Streets is a rain or shine event. It’s also FREE! See you September 10th!