By Jeff Poole
After a pandemic-induced hiatus, three of Orange County’s most popular events return this weekend.
The Somerset Steam and Gas Pasture Party, Orange Street Festival and Sounds on Short (ribs and brews event) highlight a busy weekend for local residents and visitors.
The Pasture Party kicks off the weekend Friday, Sept. 10 and continues through Sunday, Sept. 12, with daily demonstrations of agricultural heritage, antique tractors, engines and equipment, live music, vendors and more.
Visitors to Fairfield View Dairy Farm in Somerset (14349 Blue Ridge Turnpike) will discover a colorful variety of hissing, spitting, chugging, smoking and churning engines that illustrate industrial and agricultural progress. This year’s featured exhibit is a 1919, 20 horsepower Bessemer oil field engine that powers a model oil rig in the middle of the field. Other demonstrations include wheat threshing, straw baling, a steam powered saw mill, corn chopping, plowing and an antique tractor pull.
Dozens of antique tractors, vehicles and engines (large and small) line the fairgrounds and owners are all too happy to discuss and share their prized possessions.
The Dark Hollow Bluegrass Band will provide live music Saturday from noon to 4 p.m., while the Page County Ramblers will perform Sunday, from noon to 3 p.m.
A special Sept. 11 tribute will be held midday, Saturday, Sept. 11, and a church service at 9 a.m. Sunday morning.
In addition to steam-cooked beans in the new Mac Shack building in the center of the showgrounds, area nonprofit and civic organizations will be offering a variety of food for sale.
This year’s show will be organized slightly differently, as visitors will find the flea market tables and other vendors at the entrance gate, with military reenactors toward the rear of the property.
A $10 gate donation is requested. Kids under 12 are free. For more information, call 672-3429 or email email@example.com.
Saturday morning, the 46th Orange County Chamber of Commerce Street Festival returns to downtown Orange with more than 125 vendors ranging from local nonprofit organizations to artisans and crafters, to local businesses and food trucks.
The event begins at 9 a.m. and concludes at 4 p.m. and is free to attend.
Since it coincides with the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, this year’s event will honor local heroes—those who put the lives of others ahead of their own.
In keeping with the 9/11 theme, the festival will begin with the Orange Volunteer Fire Company ladder truck elevating the American flag high above the event at the intersection of Caroline and Main Street near Orange Presbyterian Church. James Madison Post 2217 member Jonathan Morey will sing the national anthem as members of the Orange County High School JROTC present the colors, shortly after downtown church bells toll at 9 a.m.
Taylor Park will serve as the entertainment stage—beginning with local singers Oleatha Braxton and followed by 11-year-old Leighton Carter, before yielding the stage to 80s and 90s tribute band Waking Napster. The park also will feature a beer garden for visitors 21 or over.
Meanwhile, visitors will have the opportunity to enjoy a few new exhibits and activities.
Rapidan-based Earthquest will offer instructional demonstrations of its birds of prey (that are rehabilitating and cannot be released into the wild), as will Central Virginia-based My Three-Chambered Heart, with their roster of educational reptiles.
The Arts Center in Orange will have pottery wheels on the street for demonstrations and a “pottery throw-down,” while Jess Cifizzari’s Paint it Orange will provide arts and crafts for children in the Kids’ Zone. The Music Room at the intersection of Main Street and May-Fray Avenue will offer music under the overhang from the Rapidan Pops, the BRAVO Youth Orchestra and the fun band from 9 a.m. to at least 1 p.m.
In the middle of the event, the restored historic Orange County Courthouse will be open for tours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Masks will be required inside the courthouse and the number of tour participants will be limited. Tours will commence approximately every 30 minutes.)
For more information, visit www.orangevachamber.com.
Following the conclusion of the street festival, Short Street (beside the Orange Train Station) will become a food and concert venue, as the Orange Downtown Alliance brings back its ribs, blues and brews event as “Sounds on Short Honoring Our Heroes.”
The event blends good food, good drink and good music to create a great time.
This year’s event opens with Billy and the Backbeats and is followed by Curt Krandall and True Story. Beer, wine and food are available on-site and participants are encouraged to bring a chair to enjoy the event. Admission is $5 at the door.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (540) 672-2540.
Other events scheduled this weekend include Germanna Public Access Day at the Fort Germanna archaeological site (free, but registration is required at www.germanna.org), as well as professional bull riding and barrel racing at Oakland Heights Farm (tickets are $15 at the gate or $10 for children).
orangevirginia.com/events2 for additional information about Orange County events and activities.