Outdoor summertime entertainment typically features everything from funnel cakes to folk art, homemade ice cream to local wines, games to jazz. Here are six of Shenandoah Valley’s most colorful festivals that showcase some of the best of the area’s culture and heritage.
Green Valley Book Fair
Often billed as the largest Book Fair on the east coast, there’s still something small-town cozy about this bimonthly event in Mt. Crawford. With more than 500,000 books and discounts of 60%-90%, you can make a day of this, enjoying a picnic lunch outside. Upcoming fairs are May 14 – 30 and July 2 -17. For more information, visit www.gvbookfair.com.
Delaplane Strawberry Festival, Sky Meadows State Park
Celebrate Memorial Day weekend with live music, arts and crafts, kids’ games, a petting farm, hay rides, historical exhibits, a silent auction, great food and, of course, fresh strawberries. Open May 28th and 29th, 10 am to 5 pm; the cost to enter is $15/car in advance or $20/car at the gate. www.dcr.virginia.gov/state_parks
Court and Market Days Festival
The old-fashioned gathering highlights the contemporary culture of the local farmers markets, and the nostalgic atmosphere of the 19th century. Free music and dance, children’s activities, and carriage rides abound as you mingle with costumed interpreters for a unique living history experience. Open June 4, 9 am to 2 pm, at Turner Pavillion Park in Downtown Harrisonburg.
Shenandoah Valley Wine and Jazz Festival
Experience the best of the valley’s wines, along with a great line up of jazz musicians at the Frontier Culture Museum, Staunton, VA. Not really a ‘museum’ at all, this living history exhibit (think Williamsburg), is an event in itself, but along with wine and jazz, well, this is a soothing summer escape you don’t want to miss. Saturday June 18th, 12 pm to 7 pm. The $20 fee includes admission to the living history exhibits www.frontiermuseum.org
Shenandoah National Park 75th Anniversary Celebration – Enjoy this historic re-dedication of our nation’s foremost National Park, with children’s activities, exhibits, and interpretive talks at Big Meadows in Shenandoah National Park, 11 am to 6 pm. Admission is free, but tickets must be obtained in advance due to the high demand. Contact Park Headquarters: 540-999-3500
Shenandoah Valley Music Festival
In operation on weekends July to mid September, the Shenandoah Valley Music Festival, in Orkney Springs, is the longest running outdoor music event in the region. With no parking fee, no add-ons, and picnicking on the lawn encouraged, it’s definitely a family friendly affair. For music lovers, this could be the highlight of your summer! Tickets range from $10 -$35 . Visit www.musicfest.org for directions and details.