By Ken Wilson –
Dogwood planting and sheep dog running, brainstorming and dining al fresco—what do you love? What would you like to discover? Whatever it is, Central Virginia probably has a festival for it. Let’s see what’s happening this spring.
7th Annual Run For Home
The Haven and Virginia National Bank will hold their 7th Annual Run For Home 8K Run and 4K Walk on Saturday, March 10. Held just two weeks before the Charlottesville Ten Miler, the Run for Home will serve as a training race for many participants.
The race and walk will start at 8:00 a.m. on the Downtown Mall, wind through historic and scenic downtown neighborhoods, and finish back on the Mall. Participants will receive an official Haven running hat, and a hearty, healthy, and delicious breakfast at The Haven after the race.
Registration fees apply. All proceeds benefit The Haven in downtown Charlottesville. Serving over 85 people daily, The Haven is a safe and welcoming day shelter for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness.
Spring Oyster Festival
Early Mountain Vineyards will hold a Spring Oyster Festival Saturday, March 10 and Sunday, March 11 from noon to 5:00 p.m. with Virginia wines, live music and fresh oysters sourced from the Eastern Shore.
Along with oysters on the half shell, Early Mountain’s chef will prepare a seasonal menu of crab cakes, sausage rolls and clam chowder. Early Mountain’s newly released 2017 Rosé and all its other wines will be for sale.
Advance tickets are $15. General Admission at the Door is $20, but only $5 for attendees under 21. Admission includes entry to the festival, a glass of Early Mountain wine, and a stemless wine glass as a take-home gift for those over 21. Under 21 tickets include free beverage choice of water, soda or juice. Kids three and under get in free.
The City of Staunton will hold a free Eggstravaganza festival at the Soccer Complex in Montgomery Hall Park from 9:30 a.m. to 12 noon on Saturday March 31. Expect bounce houses, old-fashioned egg coloring, refreshments, arts and crafts activities, face painting and surprise entertainers. Egg Hunt ages and times are as follows: two and three-year-olds, 10 a.m.; four and five-year-olds, 10:30 a.m.; six and seven-year-olds, 11 a.m.; eight to ten-year-olds, 11:30 a.m.
All Things Dogwood
White dogwoods and pink sport coats (and pink dogwoods and white sport coats) have been in season and in style from late March to early May each year—the dogwoods for centuries and the sport coats since 1950, when the Charlottesville Dogwood Foundation began serving the community with entertaining events like carnivals, parades, balls and benefit breakfasts.
The Foundation’s mission is to assist individuals and families in distress, promote leadership, education, and community involvement among area youth, and enhance the beauty of the community by promoting the planting of dogwood trees.
That means giving 27 area children backpacks and back-to-school supplies—oh, and new bikes, helmets, and shoes. It means sponsoring the Charlottesville Dogwood Memorial, dedicated to the memory of all who served our country in Vietnam, especially those from the Charlottesville Albemarle area. It means awarding the $1,500 Dogwood Community Achievement Scholarship to the graduating senior “who best personifies an ongoing commitment to exemplary community service.”
This year’s festival opens with the Dogwood Festival Pageant for girls ages 3 – 15 on March 24 at 10:30 a.m. at Central Elementary School in Fluvanna County. Admission is $5. Children under 5 years old are free. Four-foot tall white, pink and red dogwoods go on sale at Barracks Road Shopping Center on March 29 from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m., March 30 from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and March 31 if trees are left.
The Dogwood Carnival takes over McIntire Park from April 5 through April 22, Mondays through Fridays from 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., Saturdays from 1:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m., and Sundays from 1:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Admission fees apply. The fireworks display will be Friday, April 6.
The Benefit Breakfast is set for Friday April 20 from 7:00 to 10:00 a.m. at the Doubletree Hotel on 29 North. The Silent Auction begins at 7:00 a.m., and breakfast starts at 8:00 a.m.
The Charlottesville Dogwood Memorial receives its annual rededication on Friday, April 20.
The 69th Annual Charlottesville Dogwood Festival Grand Feature Parade is April 21, beginning at 10:50 a.m. on McIntire Road by the Albemarle County Office Building. This year’s theme is Candy Land, and for the first time in decades, candy will fly along the parade route. Awards will be given for best floats and for Dogwood Spirit.
The highlight of the Queen’s Ball, on the final night of the Dogwood Festival, is always the crowning of a new Dogwood Queen. This year’s queen will receive her crown at the Doubletree Hotel on April 21 in a ball held from 7:00 to 11:00 p.m. Tickets are $22. There will be a cash bar.
The following afternoon at 3:30 p.m. the 90-member Municipal Band of Charlottesville, founded in 1922, will play its annual Dogwood Festival Spring Concert in Piedmont Virginia Community College’s Dickinson Auditorium.
The Charlottesville Dogwood Foundation will also sponsor the Dogwood Track Classic on May 4 and 5 at UVA’s Lannigan Field. First held on April 17, 1965, the Dogwood Track Classic is the oldest track meet in the south, and features high school track teams from Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland, and Washington D.C.
Tom Tom Founders Festival
Over 110 events, over 400 speakers, over 70 bands, and more than 20,000 attendees are expected for the Tom Tom Founders Festival & Summit April 9 to 15 to celebrate innovation in entrepreneurship and civic life. Business leaders, artists and creative folks from all walks of life will meet to explore new approaches in fields including data, energy, food, health and more by day—and to party at night. Three different “summits” will comprise the festival.
The Founders Summit, from Wednesday April 11 through Saturday, April 14, will be four days and include over 150 conversations, workshops, and parties with leading American entrepreneurs, innovators, executives, designers, researchers, and investors.
It will offer the chance to make business connections and find creative solutions to bring about community change, and will provide practical insights for modern leadership and scaling success. Topics will include starting and growing ventures, exploring disruptions in machine learning, biotech, and design.
Billed as America’s biggest conference for small cities, the Hometown Summit is “a forum to advance resilience and thriving in America’s small cities.” Over 450 innovators in government, nonprofits, and philanthropy from 76 American cities participated in the first Hometown Summit last year.
This year’s event, with the theme of Own It, is expected to draw 500 participants from Wednesday, April 11 to Saturday, April 14, and will “address national challenges with local solutions.” Topics will include public health, affordable housing, open data, startup ecosystems, culture and arts, and economic empowerment.
The festival’s Youth Summit on Thursday, April 12 will bring together students, educators, entrepreneurs, and civic leaders from across Virginia for a student-planned, student-led experiential program on how to think entrepreneurially.
Tickets for individual festival sessions range from $15 to $100. Full Founders Summit tickets and full Hometown Summit tickets are $299. All access badges for the entire 2018 Tom Tom Founders Festival are $500.
Swing into Spring
The nationally-acclaimed Albemarle High School (AHS) Jazz Band will hold its first annual Swing into Spring benefit concert on Sunday, March 11 at 7:00 p.m. at the Jefferson Theater. The band will play jazz standards and pop/R&B hits spanning decades and perfect for dancing.
An all-star cast of the area’s top musicians, including John D’earth, Veronica Swift, Stephanie Nakasian, Erin Lunsford, Robert Jospé, Jamal Millner, Charles Owens, Devon Sproule, Terri Allard, Michael Coleman, John Kelly, Madeline Holly Sales, Berto Sales, Chance Dickerson, and Dan Barrale, will sit in. Band director Greg Thomas and musician/WHTJ PBS show host Terri Allard will emcee. Tickets range from $18 to $20.
The AHS Jazz Band is raising funds to travel to Savannah, Georgia in April for the Swing Central Jazz competition at the Savannah Music Festival. Besides taking part in a juried competition, the group will enjoy teaching from some of the leading jazz musicians and instructors in the United States, including members of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra.
“This is an extraordinary opportunity for our students to interact with and play for some of the finest jazz musicians in the world today,” Thomas said. “Their selection is a testament to their incredible commitment to this music, to this program, and to each other, and we thought this event would be a great way to share their gifts with the community.”
Crafts, Antiques, Trains and Dogs at the Augusta Expo Center
Craft lovers will wander and wonder and chitchat at the 2018 Fishersville Spring Arts and Crafts Show on Saturday, March 10 at the Augusta County Expo Center. Over 100 vendors will display a wide variety of handmade arts and crafts. Door Prizes will be drawn every hour and a half. The Show will take place from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Tickets are only $2.
Antiquers will hunt for bargains and one-offs among 300 indoor dealers and hundreds more outside at the Augusta Expo Center during the 62nd Shenandoah Antiques Expo. The Expo will be open Friday and Saturday, May 18 and 19 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Sunday May 20 from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Admission is $10.00 on Friday and $5 on Saturday & Sunday. A $10 admission pass on Friday is good for all three days, and a $5 pass on Saturday is good for Sunday as well.
The 32nd Annual Augusta County Model Train Show sponsored by the Augusta County Railroad Museum and Model Railroad Club will roll into the Expo on Sunday, May 6 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The show will feature model train sales, railroad historical societies, model railroad club layouts, railroad memorabilia, and books for sale.
Proceeds from the show will be used to promote the Museum’s ongoing displays of prototypical memorabilia, plus all of the model displays that include four different scales. Admission is $5 for adults. Children under 12 with an adult get in free.
The Charlottesville-Albemarle Kennel Club Dog Show takes place at the Augusta Expo for Obedience and Rally trials on April 7 and 8 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Let’s Go Fly a Kite
The annual Rockfish Valley Foundation Kite Festival is set for Spruce Creek Park, behind the Rockfish Valley Foundation Natural History Center, on Sunday, April 8 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The event is free, and free kites will be distributed to the first 400 kids. Besides kites and a kite store, festival-goers will enjoy music, a magician, parachute races, a duck race, food vendors, and a kids’ nature tent.
Wool and Wine
Hoover Ridge Park in Madison County will host its second annual Wool and Wine Festival on Saturday, April 21 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The festival will be preceded by the annual sheepdog trials, beginning at 8:00 a.m.
Food and liquid refreshment will be available from local food vendors, North Cove Mushroom and Catch the Chef, and local wineries, Mountain Run Winery, Prince Michel Vineyards and Horton Vineyards. Tickets are $20 until Thursday, April 19, and $25 the day of the event. Guests will receive a free tasting glass while supplies last. The festival is on rain or shine.