Battlefield events to lead off weekend

By Ryan Cornell

The Third Battle of Winchester, the largest and arguably most important battle fought in the Shenandoah Valley, returns to the town 150 years later in the form of Civil War reenactors, memorial ceremonies and educational tours and lectures this weekend.

Events scheduled to commemorate the sesquicentennial anniversary of the battle — fought on Sept. 19, 1864 — fill three full days of programs from Friday to Sunday at the Winchester battlefield.

According to Shenandoah Battlefields Foundation Communications Coordinator Rob Aitcheson, this is the biggest event ever presented in the foundation’s history.

“We’ve never done a three-day commemorative program,” he said. “It’s always been a one-day type of program. This has the capability to see thousands of folks come out to the battlefield.”

On Friday, historians will lead visitors on a motorcoach tour of the battlefield, a guided tour through the Confederate and National cemeteries and a walking tour through downtown Winchester.

Activities on Saturday, starting at 9 a.m., include a living history camp, artillery and cavalry demonstrations, battlefield walking tours and performances by Civil War era dancers and singers.

A “Walk in their Footsteps” program from 10 a.m. to noon will give visitors an opportunity to walk with reenactors to retrace the paths of Confederate and Union troops during the battle.

The day will conclude with a ceremony at 6 p.m. honoring the soldiers who fought in the battle with a cannon salute, roll call of names, floating lanterns and luminary walk.

The Third Battle of Winchester turned the tide of the Civil War for the Confederacy in this area, Aitcheson said. It marked the beginning of the end for their hold on the valley.

“Another interesting point is that this battle had the largest cavalry charge against fixed positions on U.S. soil in American history,” he said.

Admission is free to Winchester and Frederick County residents and $10 for residents outside the county.

For more information, visit http://tiny.cc/nnzcmx or call 540-740-4545.

This weekend, Edinburg is kickin’ it old school with its 34th annual Ole Time Festival from Friday to Sunday.

Favorites making a return include the antique car show, Civil War living history encampment, wine and cider tastings and square and line dance.

The popular bed race and duck race are scheduled for Sunday.

Admission to the festival is free and is $10 for wine and cider tasting.

For more information, visit http://tiny.cc/0pzcmx.

The United Way of Front Royal-Warren County holds its annual Shrimp, Oyster and Barbecue Festival from 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday, featuring an all-you-can-eat buffet catered by The Apple House, beer and wine, a silent auction and a children’s corner.

Proceeds from the event will help raise money for The Phoenix Project, which strives to reestablish services for individuals in Warren County experiencing sexual assault and domestic violence.

Tickets are $50 for adults and $25 for children 10 and younger. The festival will be held at the Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department at 221 N. Commerce Ave. in Front Royal. For tickets or more information, call 540-636-3636.

If seafood isn’t really your thing, the Taste of the Town will feature tastings from a number of area restaurants and eateries, including Soul Mountain, Naughty Girls Donuts and Joe’s Steakhouse.

The event, held between 7 and 10 p.m. Friday on Main Street in Downtown Front Royal, will also offer a car show, live music and children’s activities.

Proceeds from the event will support the Warren County-Front Royal C-CAP, which provides food, clothing, medical supplies and financial assistance to local families in need.

Admission for tastings is $10. For more information, visit http://tiny.cc/mtzcmx or call 540-635-7064.

Merging classic bluegrass and gospel with blues and swing, The Dustbowl Revival fills up Downtown Winchester’s Bright Box Theater with its “Old Crow Medicine Show-meets-Louis Armstrong” music.

According to a news release, their instrumentation has been known to include the fiddle, mandolin, trombone, clarinet, trumpet, ukelele, tuba, organ, harmonica, washboard, kazoo and a bass guitar made from a canoe oar.

Admission to the concert, held at 7 p.m. Sunday, is $10 in advance and $15 the day of the event.

A couple of days before the band takes the stage, Street Corner Symphony, an a cappella group that appeared on NBC’s “The Sing-Off,” will perform at the Bright Box Theater at 7 p.m. Friday.

Other events include:

Apple Harvest Arts and Crafts Festival
Winchester welcomes the arrival of apple season with samples of locally grown apples, an apple pie eating contest and inflatables for children to play on. The festival, held at Jim Barnett Park on Saturday and Sunday, will also feature vendors selling arts and crafts, such as pencil drawings, hand-spun alpaca wool, handmade jewelry and hand-blown glass.

Main Street Agriculture
Equal parts farmer’s market and educational fair, this event held 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday on Winchester’s walking mall features fresh produce from local farmers, samples from neighboring restaurants and cooking demonstrations.

New Market Pup Pool Party
Wind down the “dog days” of summer with a swim for your pooch at the New Market Community Pool from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday. Registration and proof of vaccination are required by Friday.

Avtex Community Day
A celebration commemorating the transformation of the former Avtex complex into an eco-friendly redevelopment site is slated for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. The event, which will begin with a special ceremony, will also include local exhibits, site tours, music, food and children’s activities. Avtex Community Day will be held at 400 D Kendrick Lane in Front Royal.

Historical Society quilt lectures
The Winchester-Frederick County Historical Society presents a series of lectures on Friday and Saturday, titled “A Focus on Quilts from the Lower Shenandoah Valley.” The lectures will be held at Shenandoah University’s Harry F. Byrd School of Business in the Stimpson Auditorium. Admission is $65 for members and $75 for non-members.

Changing of the Leaves show
Orkney Springs Fire and Rescue hosts its auto, truck and tractor show from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday with a variety of vintage cars and big rigs. The show will be held at 3821 Orkney Grade, at its intersection with Kelly Road, in Basye.