Lots of big things are happening in Shenandoah County, Virginia this year in celebration of its 250th anniversary! Visit the chain of small towns, each with its unique personality and highlights, and attend events highlighting the local history and people.
“The theme of the 250th celebration is ‘Honoring Our Past—Inspiring Our Future,’ so we designed this series of commemorations to celebrate the county’s history—who we are today and who we want to be in the future. It’s as much about where we have been as where we are going,” said Zach Hottel, 250th Celebration committee chair and county archivist, and a descendant of some of the first settlers in Shenandoah County.
The celebrations kicked off in March with a Birthday Bash held at the Virginia Museum of the Civil War in New Market, where guests enjoyed the museum, speakers, and of course, birthday cake. However, there’s lots more to come.
Enjoy Traditional Entertainment on the Fourth of July Weekend
During the Fourth of July weekend (July 1-4, 2022), each town throughout the county, including Bryce Resort, will hold traditional activities in conjunction with the theme “Let Freedom Ring: Celebrate Independence Days in Shenandoah County.”
Fireworks to be held:
- July 2 – Bryce Resort
- July 4 – Strasburg & Woodstock
- July 5 – New Market
Pick up Historical Publications
After a call went out to local authors to write short stories about an aspect of Shenandoah County’s history, a series of 12 unique history booklets was created. Featuring parts of the community’s history that hasn’t normally been explored, the booklets will be premiered three at a time and issued free (while supplies last) at various events. At the year’s end, they’ll be bound into a single volume and sold by the local historical society. Each booklet offers approximately 30-40 pages on various topics, featuring among them, the women’s suffrage movement in Shenandoah County, neighborhood-specific profiles and local artists.
“One story that highlights the different periods in our county’s history is about the road that is now Route 11. We call it the “spine of the county,” Hottel said. “More than 250 years old, it was originally a trading path for indigenous people. Over time, immigrants who came from Pennsylvania came through on their way to the Cumberland Gap, heading west, and it became known as the Great Wagon Road. In 1836, it became the Valley Turnpike—a major travel route that also brought people to our community. They needed a place to stop, spend the night and eat. Later it was a way to deliver goods to and from the county. It was a real economic driver that is still in use today.”
Don’t Miss the 250th Fall Festival
Visit the Shenandoah Germanic Heritage Museum (on the Hottel/Keller homestead farm) for the 250th Fall Festival event held September 10, 2022, from 11 AM to 5 PM.
“The Fall Festival celebrates the traditional history of the county, which was primarily a Germanic influence starting in the 18th century, and highlights our much more diverse community here in the 21st century,” said Barbara Adamson, local historian and president of the 250th Historical Society. “Visitors can celebrate the different aspects of our history, culture, crafts, music and historical organizations.” The event includes history displays, historic military encampments, agricultural exhibits, items for sale by local craftspeople, musical entertainment and food.
About Shenandoah County
Shenandoah County, located in the northern region of Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley and just over an hour’s drive from Northern Virginia, is composed of small communities and historic towns, each with its own identity, culture, museums, culinary experiences and shops. Among its highlights are Bryce Resort, Shrine Mont, Shenandoah Caverns (celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2022), Woodstock Tower, Orkney Springs, New Market Battlefield Military Museum, the iconic Meems Bottom Covered Bridge, eight wineries and four breweries.
The beautiful rural landscapes and abundant natural resources are another reason to visit. More than a quarter of the county is covered in National and State Forest, where you can enjoy a myriad of trails, horseback riding and mild whitewater. It’s an outdoor enthusiast’s dream! Don’t miss the newly-opened Seven Bends State Park.
Visit Shenandoah County and make your own history by taking part in some of its 250th anniversary celebrations. Or just come to enjoy all the county has to offer. Other upcoming events include:
- Ongoing: Shen250: Geocaching Geology, History and the Arts. The challenge is to find every cache hidden throughout the county! Use the free app Geocaching.com as your navigational guide.
- March 28-May 7, view the traveling exhibit “Virginia’s Constitutions” exploring the history of the Commonwealth’s constitutions, and marking the 50th anniversary of its current constitution. Shenandoah County Library Edinburg, 514 Stoney Creek Blvd., Edinburg, VA
- May 13-15, Strasburg MayFest festival with a variety of local arts and crafts vendors, food and beverage, a beer and wine garden, live music, a kids fun zone and a parade. Strasburgva.com.
- June 25th, Shenandoah Valley Artfest & Vintage. Enjoy dancing, food vendors, a wine and beer garden, and activities for all ages while enjoying a variety of locally-produced art. Townofwoodstockva.com.
Five Things Friday
Each Friday, read five of the “250 Things to Do in Shenandoah County” on the official 250th anniversary Facebook page at facebook.com/ShenCo250.
Pictured at top left: Moutain Biking
Pictures at top right: Eagle Rock