Weekend offers much to do locally

Area attractions include beer tastings, herb sales, movies and more

By Josette Keelor

Beer and wine tastings, classes in herb care, movies, music and more will highlight the weekend’s events around the area at the Hop Blossom Craft Beer Festival in Winchester; Virginia Herb Festival in Reliance; A Family Country Fair in Edinburg; Family Drive-in Theater in Stephens City; and Winchester Book Gallery in Winchester.

The Hop Blossom Craft Beer Festival will take place Saturday with a homebrew competition, beer tastings and entertainment throughout the day.

In its first year, the festival strives to educate and expose participants to the growing popularity and love for great craft beer, according to its website hopblossom.com.

Co-creator of the festival Mark Bates said he helped organized the event as a fundraiser for his wife Beth’s company Good Dogz, which promotes responsible dog ownership.

Modeling the event after one they saw in Key West and the Rocktown Beer Festival in Harrisonburg, they were encouraged that their event would be a success.

“You have this whole weekend of activities instead of just this one tasting event,” Bates said. The couple, who live in Bentonville, decided to incorporate area businesses in the event.

“I think a lot of the merchants are taking advantage of the fact that we’ll be here,” Bates said. “We’ve gotten a lot of support from the town of Winchester,” Bates said.

Friday, a kickoff will include beer and food pairings at the Village Market & Bistro. Craft beer companies represented will be Sierra Nevada, Lost Rhino, Winchester Cider Works, St. George Brewing Company and Blue Mountain. Representatives will be on hand to talk about each beer and answer questions. The cost will be $25 with limited seating. Tickets are on sale at Village Market and Bistro, at 2 S. Loudoun St., Winchester, or by calling 540-313-4680.

Saturday’s events will begin at Piccadilly’s Public House, 125 E. Piccadilly St., Winchester, with the 50 Shades of Ale Beer Tasting Clinic from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., hosted by Murphy Beverage Company. The $35 cost includes beer samples, in-depth explanation of beer styles, the brewing process and appropriate glassware. Attendees will receive a set of Spiegelau Beer Connoisseur Glassware. Tickets are available online at /50shadesale.eventbrite.com/# or by calling 540-723-9719.

The Hop Blossom Homebrew Competition also begins at 10 a.m. at Brewbaker’s Restaurant, 168 N. Loudoun St. An American Homebrewers Association/Beer Judge Certification Program, it’s registered and sanctioned with 2008 BJCP style guidelines used. For guidelines and eligibility, visit www.valleyhomebrew.com/hop-blossom.html.

On site, 32 breweries, more than 10 of them local, will offer beer tastings throughout the day Saturday. The festival will include live music by Drymill Road from noon to 2:30 p.m. and The Green Boys from 3 to 5:30 p.m. in front of the Old Courthouse Civil War Museum at 20 N. Loudoun St.

Saturday evening a Meet the Brewers! Event will be at Union Jack Restaurant and Pub, at 101 N. Loudoun St., Winchester.

Sunday morning, the Village Square Brewer’s Brunch will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Village Square Restaurant, 103 N. Loudoun St., Winchester. The cost is $35 per person, with limited seating.

Bates said the festival still needs volunteers, who will receive a free T-shirt saying “Will work for beer” and lunch from the Cristina’s food truck. For more information, email cheers@hopblossom.com.

Also in Winchester Saturday, the Winchester Book Gallery will host a book release party with author Murphy Hicks Henry, who published “Pretty Good for a Girl,” the first book devoted entirely to women in bluegrass.

The book release party will include live music by Henry, of Frederick County, and other bluegrass musicians, said bookstore owner Christine Patrick.

“We have just a treasure trove of live bluegrass people here,” Patrick said. This is the first book about women in bluegrass, she said, “So this is really an important book that was put out by the University of Illinois.”

“We’re just really excited to be hosting the book launch,” she said.

Also this weekend is the Virginia Herb Festival at Sunflower Cottage Saturday and Sunday with wine tastings, vendors, programs and even high tea.

Programs Saturday will begin at 10 a.m. with “Herbal Oils, Butters and Cheeses” with master gardener Larry Haun and continue with Essential Oils 101, Cooking with Fresh Herbs, Herbal Remedies, Crafting with Lavender and Chain Saw Sculpture. A home brewing demonstration with Ike Shaffer, assistant brewer at Backroom Brewery will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Brewer’s Tent.

If you miss out on chain saw carving Saturday, don’t worry, because another event will take place at 3 p.m. Sunday. That day, visitors also will have the chance to attend Herbal Remedies, Lavender in My Garden, Aroma Therapy 101 and Home Brewing for Beginners. Ed Matthews, owner of One Block West Restaurant will lead It’s About the Herbs at 1 p.m.

Various vendors will be on site selling crafts, art, health products, herbs and other plants. Door prizes include a large herb garden, herbal gift basket, bird feeders, bat house and more, and festival sale prices on herbs are almost half what the products would be otherwise.

Tastes of wines from around the world will be $5, or $8 for a tasting with a souvenir Sunflower Cottage wine glass. High tea, an informal tea party more French country than Victorian style, will take be a la carte this year, with no reservations required, and will include finger sandwiches, canapés, fruit, salads, scones, pastries, desserts and tea.

Admission to the festival is $5 per person; children 12 and younger accompanied by an adult admitted free. Sunflower Cottage is located at 150 Ridgemont Road, Middletown. For more information, visit virginiaherbfestival.com.

In celebration of 80 years in business, the Family Drive-in Theatre, at 121 Accomack Circle, off U.S. 11 in Stephens City, will offer a day’s worth of events Saturday, with the first Auto & Bike Show Family Fun Day beginning at noon. Music will be performed by Retro Sounds. Other entertainment includes a Chinese auction, 50/50 drawing, dash plaques for the first 100 cars entered in the show and activities for families and children. The spectator fee is $3; children under 12 get in free. Registration for the classic car show is $15, which includes the car, driver and all guests. All proceeds from the car and bike show will benefit the theater’s digital conversion costs of $140,000.

At night, Screen 1 offering “Fast & Furious 6” at 8:50 p.m. and “Hangover 3” at 11:20 p.m., and Screen 2 showing “Epic” at 8:45 p.m. and “The Internship” at 11 p.m. Admission prices for double features are $8 for adults and $4 for children age 3 to 11.

The theater is open seven days a week for the season.

For a more family-friendly time Saturday and a home on the farm atmosphere, check out A Family Country Fair at Peter and Wanda Shoemaker’s barn off U.S. 11 at Red Banks in Edinburg. From 12:30 to 4:30 p.m., games for children, a cake walk, a silent auction, a bake sale and a country store will take place with karaoke available for children and entertainment by Jacob and Steve Rinard, the Plains Promenaders with Larry Winegard and Thrashen Holler.

Pork and beef barbecue sandwiches will be $5 with coleslaw, baked beans, chips a brownie and lemonade.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children older than 3 and can be purchased in advance at the SEARCH Thrift Store in Mt. Jackson.

The event will be this year’s annual fundraiser for the nonprofit SEARCH Group Home in Mt. Jackson. For more information about SEARCH Thrift Store, at 5982 Main St., Mt. Jackson, call 477-2600.

Contact Community Engagement Editor Josette Keelor at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or jkeelor@nvdaily.com>