Fall Festivals & Events
In Lexington, red-brick sidewalks link new hotels and innovative eateries to a slew of boutiques and galleries. Buena Vista is a launch pad to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Antique malls, country stores, craft breweries, the Virginia Horse Center, and old time music shows add oomph to the landscape's ahhhh's along the county’s back roads.
The energy is palpable in downtown Lexington in fall. Returning coeds and cadets flock to Main Street to see what’s new. Fall produce impresses foodies at farm-to-table restaurants. Young and old bump elbows at piano jams and acoustic shows. And the Lexington ghost walk? It reaches maximum spooky. On campus at W&L, VMI, and SVU, concerts, plays, and football games take the spotlight.
The official annual Nothin' Fancy Bluegrass Festival is still on hiatus for 2021, but the band is welcoming folks September 24 and 25 to listen to free live music at Glen Maury Park in Buena Vista. Via their Facebook page, the band said, "we will be doing the same as last year, camping, jamming, and enjoying each other's company. There will be music both Friday and Saturday (24th and 25th) nights at the pavilion which is free for all that wish to come. We will be 'passing the hat' for donations and working on a few other fun things to help raise funds so that we can come back bigger and better for 2022!!!"
Toast the new season with live music and great wine and food at Rockbridge County's newest vineyard: Ecco Adesso! They're celebrating fall all weekend, October 1-3. Don't miss it!
The 15th Annual McCormick Farm Mill Day is October 2 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visit the historic mill on the beautiful grounds of Cyrus McCormick Farm. Hay rides, traditional craft demonstrations, live music, local BBQ chicken, and education activities for kids are all on the agenda for this day of fun on the farm.
If life is stressing you out, release the tension with grape stomping at the Rockbridge Vineyard Harvest Festival October 2. Afterwards, you can rest your feet on a hayride and enjoy a glass of Tuscarora white.
Love pumpkins? Head to Swisher's Farm in Fairfield for the Pumpkin Bonanza October 2 and 3. Choose from hundreds of pumpkins for carving or decoration, plus plethora gourds and cornstalks.
Mountain music and culture are the draw October 9 in Buena Vista at the annual Mountain Day celebration. Enjoy traditional arts & crafts, history, and music.
OCTOBER 16 IS A DAY FULL OF FUN ...
Start with the annual Wade's Mill Apple Butter Festival at Wade's Mill in Raphine. Holding true to tradition, the festival will include old fashioned apple butter making (that you can take home!), artisan demonstrations and sales, excellent food, tastings by Rockbridge Vineyard and Halcyon Days Cider Co., our local fire department BBQ chicken, and demonstrations by the Rockbridge County Sheriff's Office K9 Unit. Admission and parking are free!
>> The vendors you will meet at the Apple Butter Festival are also those you'll meet along the North Rockbridge Holiday Trail December 4. Save the date!
A hop, skip, and a jump from Wade's Mill, enjoy fall fun at the Brownsburg Museum. From 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. on October 16 there will be hayrides with Classic Carriages and you can buy a pumpkin out of the back of Old Blue, a 1960 Ford pickup!
If you have a love of big trucks or a perhaps a little one who loves big trucks, don't miss the Large Car Magazine Southern Classic Truck Show at White's Travel Center in Raphine. Occurring the same day as the Wade's Mill Apple Butter Festival, White's is just down the road and there will be great entertainment all day.
Join in the fun at the Timber Ridge Presbyterian Church Fall Festival from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Shop the vendors, peruse the flea market, and definitely fill your belly with baked goods, apple butter, and Brunswick Stew. Hot dogs and more will also be available.
The Rockbridge Symphony takes over Hopkins Green in downtown Lexington at 2 p.m. for a fall concert entitled "Music Makes the Villain!" Timely for the Halloween season and villainous antics, the musical selections will include Rossini's Thieving Magpie Overture, Mozart's Don Giovanni Overture, and Saint-Saens' Danse Macabre.
Close out the evening with a free showing of the Soar Dunk Team at 7 p.m. at Maury River Middle School.
Who's ready for candy?! Downtown Lexington closes Main Street for the annual store-to-store trick-or-treat Friday, October 29 from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Children 12 and younger are invited to participate.
The "BOO Grass" Festival is October 29 - 31 at South River Volunteer Fire Department in Fairfield. The music lineup features Ralph Stanley II, Coyote Ugly, The Ruckus, King Springs Road, Caleb Bailey & Paine's Run, Dreamcatcher, and Dorsey Hostetter. Camping is available and kids are invited to enjoy the Halloween activities occurring all weekend. Children 7 and younger are free.
Keep your costume handy and head out to Locher Park in Glasgow on October 30 for the Fall Spook-Tacular from 5 to 8 p.m. Make your way from trunk to trunk to score candy, make s'mores by the fire pit, paint or carve a pumpkin, and be sure to enter the costume contest. If you'd like to host a trunk for trunk-or-treating, there are awards for best trunk, too!
Ghosts in the Graveyard
On the Haunting Tales Ghost Tour, a guide in black Victorian garb leads a “spirited” evening walk past Lexington’s many haunted sights, with an eerie stop in Oak Grove Cemetery. Tours are available Friday and Saturday through the end of October plus additional dates and times around Halloween.
One of the best things about downtown Lexington? Its walkability. Sidewalks link the top historic and cultural attractions, and most of them sit within a half-mile stroll.
When you tire of walking or want a narrated overview of downtown, hop a ride with Lexington Carriage Company for a horse-drawn tour. Tours are offered daily through October 31.
Weekly fall events include a free wine tasting every Friday starting at 4:30pm at Washington Street Purveyors and free craft beer tastings each Saturday. The competition is fierce at Tuesday Trivia every other Tuesday night at Brew Ridge Taps. The Wednesday morning Lexington Farmers Market on Jefferson Street is the ideal place to pick up something fresh and local while you're downtown.
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Cool on Campus
If you can, time your visit to coincide with a VMI Dress Parade, when the entire corps of cadets marches in full formation and pageantry. The parades occur most Fridays and some Saturdays.
In a football state of mind? Then follow the cheers on Saturday afternoon. A cannon blast from “Little John” rallies the corps at Alumni Memorial Field at Foster Stadium while the Washington & Lee Swing rallies W&L Generals at Wilson Field. Both fields are a short walk from downtown. Alumni and fans may want to head to TAPS, Haywood’s, Macado's, or Southern Inn for a post-game celebration.
Acclaimed orchestras, ensembles, and dance troupes take the stage at W&L’s Lenfest Center for the Arts. The theatre gang at Southern Virginia Theatre in Buena Vista likes to mix it up every year with both musicals and classics.
Live Music and Outdoor Entertainment
Downtown Lexington gets it groove back in the fall with a toe-tapping line-up of weekly performances. Piano players often complement the cocktails at Haywood’s and musicians also descend upon Tonic, Salerno Wood Fired Pizza & Taphouse, and Brew Ridge Taps throughout the week.
Beyond Lexington? Visit our newest winery - Ecco Adesso Vineyards - in Fairfield! Join them Thursdays for Chef Troy Sheller's Wine & Oyster pairings.
Sit outside, sip chardonnay, and listen to bluegrass, folk, and pub tunes during Sundays on the Deck at Rockbridge Vineyard. This series runs from 2-5pm on select Sundays through the end of October.
What views will you enjoy from deck at Devils Backbone Outpost Kitchen & Tap Room? The Blue Ridge Mountains, historic Route 11, and beer, mmm, beer.
South of Lexington is Great Valley Farm Brewery, which also welcomes food trucks and musicians to their majestic Blue Ridge Mountain patio. A visit to nearby Halcyon Days Cider Co. is a sweet treat for the fall season, and a wander through their labyrinth is pure joy.
Most Friday nights, you can catch old-time jams and dancing at Clark’s Ole Time Music Center in Raphine.
We'll see you soon for a fabulous fall in Lexington, Buena Vista, and Rockbridge County!
Last Updated 10/12/21 @ 12:36 p.m.