When Will the Leaves Peak?
Within the next few weeks, Chamber staff will be hearing the same question over and over: “What day will the leaves peak?”
Well, unfortunately nobody can tell you the exact day. However, in this area, the third week in October is often a very good bet to see the autumn leaves in their full splendor. So if you are looking at a calendar now, block off that week in October as at least tentative. As we get closer to autumn, you can also check Shenandoah National Park’s Mountain View Webcam to keep an eye on changing color.
And if you’re planning to stay the weekend, the earlier you book your room the better.
But before we even get to the leaf color, keep in mind the many reasons to visit Page County in September.
On September 6, 19 and October 4, enjoy some nightlife with the Night Skies viewing program in Shenandoah National Park. Amateur astronomers will talk about controlling light pollution and offer telescopic views of the crystal clear skies above the park. Held at the Big Meadows Area (mile 51, outside the Rapidan Camp Gate), and free to all park visitors. A blanket, chair, and flashlight are recommended.
Moving back to daytime, consider the Luray Half Marathon on September 7. This 13.1 mile run starts and ends in downtown Luray. You can see entire course in an online video, but it takes advantage of Luray’s Greenway and several scenic back roads. You’ll see numerous mountain and farmland views but the course is relatively free of hills and is completely paved—no dirt or gravel to negotiate. There will be an after-party immediately following at Hawksbill Brewing Co., conveniently located at the race finish. Registration and more info may be found here.
This is a new event for Luray, but It’s organized by Racine MultiSports, the same stalwarts who run the well-known Luray Triathlon.
Another new event, scheduled for September 14 is the first annual Sunflower Festival from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. held both in Ralph Dean Park and Downtown. Start with a 1K Fun Run at Ralph Dean Park (starting at 10:30 a.m.) Also count on food, music, sunflowers, pony rides, a petting zoo, a hay maze, and pumpkin paint. You can also clip sunflowers for a small donation. There will be live performances all day at Warehouse Art Gallery, plus dining and shopping specials Downtown. Proceeds benefit the Page Alliance for Community Action, a group promoting healthy life choices for the youth and families in Page County. Ralph Dean Recreation Park is located at 625 Sixth St., Luray.
Yet another event in Shenandoah National Park, this one on September 14, is the 20th Apple Butter Festival at Skyland from 11:00 to 5:00 p.m. At this popular celebration, you can watch and participate in the process of making apple butter the old fashioned way, and take home some fresh-from-the-kettle jars of apple butter. Many other items on the menu as well—not to mention wine tastings, pony rides, and live entertainment.
A much different kind of event will be held at Ralph Dean Park on September 28—the 6th Annual Blue Ridge Mountain Mudurance. The Mudurance is a challenge for individuals, pairs, and teams. Racers will negotiate 5K (3.1) miles of obstacles plus lots of mud and water—all in the shadow of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. Kids as young as 8 years old can sign up, as long as accompanied by an adult. If you have multiple kids who want to run together, they can sign up as a team, too! The race is conducted by the Chamber, and co-hosted by the Page Alliance for Community Action (PACA). Not only will they assist with the race, while promoting their mission for healthier, drug-free youth and the community as a whole, but they'll also receive a portion of the event proceeds to continue support their mission. Register or find out more about the Mudurance here.
Also of note on September 28—that is National Public Lands Day, and admission to all national parks is free that day.
Once you’ve recovered from the Mudurance, plan on enjoying the 50th Page County Heritage Festival October, 12-13 at the Page County Fairgrounds.
Organizers are pulling out all the stops for the 50th anniversary festival! It will run from 10:00 to 5:00 p.m. both days and feature craft vendors, antique tractors and equipment, demonstrations, live entertainment, and delicious food at every turn! More than 100 vendors will put on demonstrations of spinning, crochet, apple-butter boiling, oil painting, basket making, wheel-thrown pottery, blacksmiths, and more! A family-oriented event throughout its history, the festival will offer numerous activities for kids such as face painting, pony rides, and a pedal tractor pull. Organized in 1969, the Page County Heritage Association is a nonprofit devoted to preserving the rich historical tradition of Page County. The Heritage Festival is their major annual fundraiser. For more information, visit their website.
All this in Luray and Page County, even before the leaves change.