Summer concerts and county fairs highlight the Shenandoah Valley in August, and few towns offer as many options as Staunton.
Highly regarded for its cultural emphasis (plays, performances, concerts, art festivals, etc.) Staunton combines a wealth of musical offerings with a traditional county fair in the final month of summer. Here’s what coming up:
Augusta County Fair
This year’s fair ran July 31 to August 4 at the Augusta Expo in Fishersville. On the schedule were: Beauty Pageant, Wine Festival, Truck and Tractor Pull, Demolition Derby, Antique Car Show, Livestock Shows, Quilting and Crafts, Live Music, Food and dozens of other county fair attractions.
Staunton Music Festival
Where else can you hear 30 concerts in 10 days? Now in its 21st year, this festival will include chamber music highlights such as a staged presentation of Handel’s rarely-heard opera Hercules; world premieres by composers-in-residence; a day of Mozart, culminating with the Requiem on period instruments; music by everyone from Monteverdi to Gershwin and from Bach’s Fifth Brandenburg to Bartok’s Sonata for Pianos and Percussion. Concerts are performed at a variety of locations Downtown.
American Roots Music Series
The American Roots Music Concert Series brings traditional Appalachian, old time, and bluegrass music to the Frontier Culture Museum. Concerts are held every Sunday evening in the Lee S. Cochran Pavilion from 5 to 7 p.m. and include food and beverage vendors.
August 5: Parker and Gray
August 12: TBD
August 19: Bud’s Collective
August 26: Amber Kalber & Branch House
The Celebrity Series Heifetz Happy Hour, where faculty members of the Heifetz Institute perform 75- minute programs, just ended in early August. But put this on your radar for next summer. Each concert is preceded by a Happy Hour under the “Big Heifetz Tent” on Page Terrace at Mary Baldwin University, and is designed to showcase local Virginia wines and food artisans. The Happy Hour begins at 5 p.m.; the concert at 6 pm.
2018 Summer Concert Series
The Stonewall Brigade Band is said to be the oldest continuous community band in the nation. The volunteer players, numbering 75 or more, come from a wide area of Virginia and West Virginia. Each concert has a different program and is directed by five different conductors. There is a concert in the Stonewall Brigade Bandstand in Gypsy Hill Park every Monday night in June, July, and August, starting at 8 pm.
Nearby and Noteworthy:
The Buckhorn Inn, about eight miles from Staunton, has been welcoming travelers for 200 years.
Stonewall Jackson Hotel and Conference Center — In the heart of historic Downtown Staunton.
Frontier Culture Museum — tells the stories of frontier life in the region. This outdoor museum features living history exhibits and life size replicas of early farms and settlements, as built by immigrants from different countries.
American Shakespeare Center — Summer through November/December performances include: As You Like it, Emma, Richard III, and The Man of Mode, or Sir Fopling Flutter.
Should you need more incentive to visit Staunton, consider that Fordor’s Travel recently named it one of “America’s 25 Cutest Main Streets in Small (er) Towns.”
Photo: Staunton Music Festival