The Scenic and Historic Shenandoah Valley of Virginia
Shenandoah County Fair bets on its future as the newest venue for Virginia parimutuel harness racing


The 2016 Shenandoah County Fair may be just one year away from it's centennial, but celebrating agriculture in the county tradition goes back even farther than that.

As early as 1887 the existing Shenandoah County Agricultural Society started an annual festival that included all kinds of horse racing. It took place on a dirt track laid out in the middle of some orchard fields on the west side of Woodstock, Va.

But it was not until 1916 that local organizers officially began the annual Shenandoah County Fair. Today the fair is the only remaining county fair in Virginia that still features harness racing. The horses continue to run on that original track location, which now overlooks Interstate 81.

Shenandoah County Fair harness racing still has a lot of local flavor. Folks return to the old grandstand year after year to view the daily races. Many are likely to either be related, know each other, or “know somebody who knows somebody.”

Whenever it comes to betting on these afternoon races, it's more like “honor between friends and family,” says Shenandoah County Fair Director Tom Eschelman. “There will be old-time sunflower seeds, or jelly beans, or peanuts up in the grandstand.”

But the harness racing game has suddenly gotten bigger for the fair host Shenandoah County Fair Association, after Eschelman led the development of a state-wide partnership with the Virginia Equine Alliance (VEA) and Virginia Harness Horse Association (VHHA).

In the Shenandoah Valley, we’re wild about the month of May
Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton, Virginia

It’s pretty here at any time of the year, but oh, when the wildflowers of May are blooming... May is Wildflower Weekend month at Shenandoah National Park. The State Arboretum at Blandy Experimental Farm in Boyce, the Edith J. Carrier Arborteum on the campus of James Madison University and other park lands are busy with special outdoor programs. Or, hike a quiet trail in George Washington National Forest. Find your very own way back to nature in this beautiful region.

  Happening today

Glassblowing demonstrations in Staunton, Va.

Sunspots Studios, 202 S. Lewis St. Live demonstrations daily until 4 p.m. Gift shop open Mondays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays: 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 540-885-0678 or visit

Memorial Day festival at Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton, Va.

Frontier Folkways Day. Traditional daily-life activities in the Old World and America. Living history, outdoor exhibits. Costumed interpretive staff. Food vendors available or bring a picnic lunch. Traditional storyteller, live folk music. Free admission. For more information, visit

Outdoor running event in Winchester, Va.

Loudoun St. Mall. 29th annual Loudoun St. Mile. Sponsored by Shenandoah Valley Runners. Prize money to top five overall finishers and top masters 40 plus, other prizes and awards to participants. Benefits Winchester Shelter for Abused Women, the Laurel Center. For more information, visit

Art Exhibition at James Madison University

Duke Hall Gallery. James Crable Photography, JMU emeritus art and art history professor in Harrisonburg. Runs May 2 through June 24. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free admission. For more information, visit

Film screening at Court Square Theater in Harrisonburg, Va.

61 Graham St.41-F Court Sq. Sing St. Drama. Shows on May 30-June 2 at 4:30 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. Members save 20 percent and get free popcorn. Tickets: Adult, $9.50. Seniors and students, $8.50. Matinee before 5 p.m.: $8. For more information, call 540-801-8779 or visit

Planetarium program series at James Madison University

John C. Wells Planetarium. Planetary Visions, youth-oriented program every Saturday at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. From Earth to the Universe, 30-minute multimedia program about the universe, presented at 2:15 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. For more information, visit

Art exhibition at Museum of the Shenandoah Valley in Winchester, Va.

901 Amherst St. Alphonse Mucha: Master of Art Nouveau. Runs through July 31. Exhibition Opening Reception on April 23 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Admission: Museum members admitted free. All others $20. Open to the public. For more information, call 540-662-1473 or visit

Weekly classic film screening at Wayne Theatre in Waynesboro, Va.

521 West Main St. May 30, Yankee Doodle Dandy. Every Monday evening at 7 p.m. Program includes a brief introduction, short intermission, and optional film discussion afterwards led by The Classic Cinema Club. Admission: Pay-what-you-will admission preview season. No advance tickets required. For more information, call 540-943-9999 or visit

Farmers Market in Inwood, W.Va.

Taylors Farm Market, 178 Pilgrim St. Mondays through Fridays, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fresh produce and fruit, homemade goods, jams and local and state wines and spirits. For more information, visit

Outdoor run in Winchester, Va.

Loudoun St. Mall, 135 N. Loudoun St. 29th annual fitness event. Fitness walk, open to men and women, kids mile, and a youth 100 yd. Tot Trot. Prizes awarded. For more information, visit

Click here to see more things to do...


Visiting this website, you've just landed in the scenic and historic Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and West Virginia, USA. is owned and operated by a small, independent business located right here in the region. We know the place. Our mission is to showcase its visual beauty, but we've also got some things to share about the people who live here, the culture and, of course, some really rich history and heritage.

Visit this place and it can seem like you are coming home. Our website background photos are provided by a select group of photographers from across the region who share their own love of the Valley through the lenses of their cameras.

While we provide a regional events listing that is always up to date, is not an encyclopedia about the Valley or a travel guide. In fact, we're not really selling anything on here. You can find location-specific tidbits about the Valley, particularly on our events page.

Each month we feature a Home page feature story and video that highlights something special about events, history and people.

Much of what is on here simply comes from our love for this world-reknown spot, the Daughter of the Stars, O Shenandoah, Shenandoah River... Shenandoah Valley.

If you like our website, consider making a donation ...we'd certainly tip a glass of Virginia-made beer or wine to your kindness! Either way, we're glad you stopped by. Come back to see us again!

Middlebrook General Store

The store has been a part of Middlebrook community life since the late 1800s. Located on a particularly scenic byway a few miles south of Staunton, Virginia.

About Hank Zimmerman

Hank Zimmerman owns and operates Shenandoah Valley Productions LLC, publisher of by Hank Zimmerman