Luray/Page Co. Summer Athletics
In Luray and Page County, August and September have become months of true athletic challenge.
First we host the Luray International Triathlon and Duathlon, August 17, followed by the Luray Sprint Triathlon and Duathlon on August 18. All the distances and course descriptions are fully explained on the website.
Now in its 14th year, this event has grown steadily in participation and prestige; in fact, it’s been chosen by USA Triathlon as the Virginia Age Group Championship and is widely considered one of the best triathlons on the East Coast. The cycling and running stages take place on Page County’s scenic, uncrowded roads while the swimming portion is held at Lake Arrowhead, in the shadow of Shenandoah National Park. The International and Sprint Triathlons are now capped at 700 entrants each, but friends, family and spectators easily double that number. Many local residents volunteer at the event, which is strongly supported by Page County, the Town of Luray and local businesses. The triathlons are conducted by Racine Multisports.
If a tri is a little much for you, try the Luray Half Marathon instead. On September 7, this 13.1 mile run will start and end in downtown Luray. There are some rolling hills but the surface is paved the whole way. There will be an after-party immediately following at Hawksbill Brewing Co. Sign up online.
Then on September 28, still more tough individuals will show up for the sixth Blue Ridge Mountain Mudurance held at Ralph H. Dean Recreation Park. Hard, messy and thoroughly enjoyable, this fitness challenge is 5K (3.1 miles) through obstacles such as: a 6- foot climbing wall, 200-foot water slide, mud trenches, sandbag and cinderblock carries, balance beams, hay bale climb, tunnels, and muddy army crawls. The event is conducted by the Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce. You can sign up online here.
But the fun doesn’t end with athletics….
Reminders from Last Month!
On August 10-11 at the Shenandoah Speedway, see the cars and stars of the Dukes of Hazzard, plus country music special guests at. Cooter’s Good Ol Boys Fest. From the Dukes cast will be Tom Wopat (Luke Duke), Catherine Bach (Daisy Duke), Ben Jones (Cooter), Sonny Shroyer (Deputy Enos) and Rick Hurst (Deputy Cletus). If you’ve never seen the General Lee in flight, this is your chance. General admission tickets are $45 for a two-day pass, $35 for a single day pass, and $15 for a two-day kids pass (3-12 years old).
Page Valley Agricultural and Industrial Fair— From August 17 – 24, at the Page County Fairgrounds, celebrate the many aspects of rural life: youth livestock shows, fresh local produce stands, arts and crafts, live music from Blue Ridge Thunder and many others, tractor pulls, a wine festival, and dozens of other exhibits, races, pageants and performances.
A New Festival!
For something new, join the fun at the 1st Annual Sunflower Festival, September 14 at Ralph H. Dean Recreation Park. The event begins at 10:30 a.m. with a 1k fun run around the fitness trail. From 11 a.m.-6 p.m., come out and enjoy clipping sunflowers for a great cause. All donations benefit Page Alliance for Community Action. There will also be kids’ activities, entertainment including music, a petting zoo, pony rides, and food from concessions.
Elsewhere during the festival, hear live music by local and regional talent on the lawn behind the Warehouse Art Gallery, tentatively scheduled from 4-9 p.m.
A New Entrance!
Of course, no visit to Luray is complete without a stop at Luray Caverns, and a brand new entrance—decades in the making—is now open.
On May 20th, Luray Caverns completed a project to eliminate the remaining steps on the 1.25-mile tour route in the world-renowned attraction. The only steps leading from the Entrance Lobby into the caverns have been bypassed by excavating a 164-foot tunnel into the hillside adjacent to the Entrance Building. A looping covered walkway connects the existing building to the new entrance. The exterior appearance of the historic Entrance Building has not been altered, and the new entrance and walkway maintain the cosmetic elements of the existing structure for a consistent outward appearance.
The 141-year-old attraction began removing steps and improving walkways with brick, concrete and ramps throughout the caverns in 1954 — a process that was completed in 1975. A major component of this undertaking in order to totally finish the effort – the steps into the building – remained elusive due to uncertain methods and cost.
Over the past several years, renewed efforts to achieve this monumental goal were undertaken. With new technology in construction and improved environmental safeguards, Racey Engineering of Luray and Lantz Construction of Broadway, VA provided a workable plan in March 2017 and the first tour to use the new entrance was on May 20th.
Luray Caverns currently is one of the few underground wonders providing tours on lighted, all-paved walkways with step-free entry, making the attraction more accessible to visitors.