ANNUAL MANUAL- Outings: Annual Events (and a few semi-annual seasonal events)

Mid to late Summer (June, July, August 2007)

Ash Lawn Opera Festival- Ash Lawn-Highland, a mile or two past Monticello- Since 1978, opera fans and others who just like a country picnic and music have enjoyed operas in English and special events for children at the home of James Monroe. This year's bill includes La Boheme and The Sound of Music. $5-$26. 979-0122.

August (July 31-August 5, 2007)

Albemarle County Fair- North Garden- A pretty drive down Route 29 brings you to the site of this typical county fair featuring crafts, animal and agricultural exhibits, family entertainment, beauty pageants, rain, pig- and husband-calling contests (don't get confused), games, and amusement rides. Plenty of great food always available. 293-6396

Early September (September 1, 2007)

Louisa County Air Show- A real barn-stormin' festival with parachutists, biplanes, and aerial stunts. Free admission, but pay for rides. Louisa County Airport. 540-967-0050

September (September 9, 13, 16, 20, and 23, 2007)

Charlottesville Chamber Music Festival- UVA's Old Cabell Hall- Does Mozart get your motor runnin'? Does Haydn start you up (you never stop)? If so, get your dose of chamber music and then some at this month-long event. $6-$22 for individual concerts, $20-$80 for four shows, $25-$100 for all five. 295-5395

Early September (September 8, 2007)

First UVA football game- Scott Stadium- This year it's against the Blue Devils of Duke. The night before marks Paint the Town Orange night, a sort of city-wide pep rally sure to get the orange-and-blue blood flowing. Ticket info: 800-542-UVA1 or locally 924-UVA1

Late September (September 29, 2007)

Charlottesville Vegetarian Festival- Lee Park downtown- One of the biggest in the country with over 110 exhibitors, face-painting, jugglers, and food (veggie only, go figure). Free admission. 11am-4pm. 979-1200

Late September (September 30, 2007) and Late April (April 27, 2008)

Foxfield Steeplechase Races- Garth Road- Still in business after almost having its license yanked because some youthful attendees find public intoxication (and urination) to be part of the fun, this equestrian fandango is a spring and fall must-do for horsey locals. Tickets $25 in advance; parking $15 with no tickets available at the gate. Last year's fall race was called "Family Day," and included pony rides, a chili cook-off, Jack Russell Terrier races, a stroll around the course– and lower attendance than the spring bacchanalia. 293-9501 or 1-800-635-3982

Early October (October 6-7, 2007)

Fall Fiber Festival- The Montpelier Estate in Orange County- Not to be confused with a wingding celebrating Metamucil, this one's all about the fleece. Sheep-shearing and wool spinning, knitting, rug-weaving, a fiber fashion show, and a fleece sale that allows shepherds to make their own fleeces available at this regular down-home good-time. $5 adults; under-16 free (no one gets fleeced). Sat 10am-5pm; Sun 10am-4pm. Info: Michelle Mangham, 973-2222.

Early October (October 13-14, 2007 and May 17-18, 2008)

Crozet Arts and Crafts Festival- Claudius Crozet Park- Pottery, textiles, leather, glass, wood, metal, photography, and art provide a tantalizing array of beautiful handmade articles for sale. This two-day event makes a fine outing for the entire family. $4 adults, $1 kids 6-12. 823-2211.

Early October (October 13-14, 2007)

Virginia Wine & Garlic Festival- Rebec Vineyard, Rt. 29 south just north of Amherst- Leave all your olfactory concerns at the door, because this festival is part feast, part comedy routine, and all fun. Kids activities, contests, food, crafts fair, wine tastings, live music, and more. Don't miss the crowning of the Garlic King! 10am-5pm both days. $20 general admission, $25 if you're tasting the wine, $5 kids 2-11, discounts if you buy tickets in advance. 946-5168

Early November (November 1-4, 2007)

Virginia Film Festival- UVA and Downtown- Founded by the state with a little help from local benefactor Patricia Kluge back in 1988, this is the event that has brought to town such stars as Vanessa Redgrave, Ann-Margret, Nicolas Cage, and Sigourney Weaver. Last year alone, the festival landed events with Robert Duvall and Morgan Freeman! This year's theme: Kin Flicks, a look at family in the movies. 982-5277 or 1-800-UVA-FEST

Late October (October 26-28, 2007)

Martha's Market- John Paul Jones Arena- Sixty-four boutiques from around the country set up shop in John Paul Jones Arena for a one-of-a-kind marketplace experience. It's put on by the Women's Committee of Martha Jefferson Hospital, and all vendors donate 15 percent of their sales to benefit breast cancer treatment at the hospital. Admission $5, kids under 10 free. 296-7143


The Spirit Walk- Downtown- Since 1995, the local historical society has been mixing ghouls and history, and history always wins in this clever walking tour taking in ghostly haunts such as the Maplewood Cemetery and infamous murder sites downtown. Tours get started at the Historical Society's building just off the Downtown Mall. This year, they're getting an early jump on the spooking, running tours October 26-28. 296-1492

Trick or Treat on the UVA Lawn- What started as a big brother/big sister gig now brings several thousand parents and kids to the Academical Village each Halloween afternoon for the most car-free trick or treating on the planet. 3-5pm. 

Early November (November 3, 2007)

The Montpelier Hunt Races- Montpelier Station (45 min. north- Orange County)- A bit farther away than Foxfield, but it may actually take less time thanks to its smaller scale. And unlike Foxfield's reputation as more of a boozefest than an athletic event, the Montpelier Hunt Race is one of the nation's oldest and most respected steeplechase events. Admission $15, parking $20, or spend $1,250 to $7,500 to make a private, all-accoutrements-included party of it. 540-672-0027

Mid-November (November 16-18, 2007)

Jeffersonian Thanksgiving Festival- Downtown Mall, Lee Park, and other venues- Over 70 different events over four days include musical performances, craft demonstrations, and historical reenactments. In past years, all events have been free– why change now? 249-4032

Late November (November 24, 2007)

Last home UVA football game- Scott Stadium- UVA's is a program on the rise, and in the home finale, the Cavs take on Virginia Tech for the Commonwealth Cup in a game unlike any other these two have played: It is the first match-up of these two arch rivals since the tragic death of 33 Tech students and faculty on April 16, 2007. Ticket info: 800-542-UVA1 or locally 924-UVA1


For a delicious and hassle-free Thanksgiving, make reservations for you and yours at Graves Mountain Lodge (540-923-4231) in Madison County for their all-you-can-eat buffet-style Thanksgiving dinner. Not only do they serve turkey with all the trimmings, but also Old Dominion delicacies like Virginia ham and fried oysters. 

Late November and December (November 23-December 31, 2007)

Downtown for the Holidays- Downtown Mall- Holiday City Market. The festival offers a variety of holiday events along the Mall, helping families enjoy the spirit of the season. Don't forget to check out the tree lighting on the 23rd, Santa when he comes to town on the 24th, and book your tickets for the Holly Trolly! 977-1812

Late November and December (December 1-31, 2007)

Holiday Open House- McGuffey Art Center, Second St.- It's the rarity of rarities: all studios in the subsidized-rent palace of art are usually open. There's entertainment, and, in the Gallery, a holiday group show by all members. 295-7973

New Year's Eve (December 31, 2007)

First Night Virginia- All over Downtown- For years, visitors have enjoyed entertainment, food, alcohol-free events, and fireworks at midnight. The program strives to grow and improve its festivities every New Year, and as always, an admission button gets you into everything. And as if it weren't a big enough party, First Night celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. Prices have yet to be finalized but should be in the area of $12/adults, $6/kids, kids under 4 free. 975-8269


ACC Basketball at UVA- John Paul Jones Arena- For decades, the Atlantic Coast Conference has been the premiere conference in the nation for men's and women's college basketball. In January, you can find out why when UVA begins its conference schedule in ernest at the still-new 16,000-seat John Paul Jones Arena. With the UVA men having won a regular season conference championship last year, these tickets will probably be hard to come by when they go on sale in September. Ticket info: 800-542-UVA1 or locally 924-UVA1

Mid January (January 20-21, 2007)

Chili Cook-Off at First Colony Winery- Beat those wintertime blues by sampling batch after batch of piping hot chili. Be sure to vote for your favorite! Price of admission includes winery tour, wine tasting, a signature wine glass, and what would a bowl of chili be without a side of cornbread? 11am-5pm both days. $12, $5 of which goes to the volunteer fire department. 1650 Harris Creek Road. 293-2054 

Mid March (March 26-30, 2008)

Virginia Festival of the Book- All over town- Bringing together noted authors and eager author groupies, this popular event continues to grow with attendance topping 20,000 each of the last four years. The event has featured such luminaries as Garrison Keillor, Helen Thomas, the Fellowship of Southern Writers, Clyde Edgerton, Malcolm Gladwell, and Michael Chabon. Most events at the five-day fest are free. 924-6890

Mid Spring (March 30, 2008)

Charlottesville Ten-Miler- Streets of Downtown- The town's biggest running race, which draws participants from all over the state and beyond, usually tops out at 2,000 entrants and blocks off city roads, streets, and alleys. But you have to get up early on Saturday to check it out. Fee to run to be determined (probably $15-20). Fee to watch? Priceless. 296-6115

Mid-April (April 19-20, 2008)

Monticello Wine Trail Festival- Every winery seems to have its own festival, but here several of the big clusters on the vine band together for a comfy little gig. Formerly held in the fall, beginning in 2007 it became a spring event held at Morris Farm in Greene County. for more.

Last Sat in April (April 27, 2008)

Annual Dogwood Festival- McIntire Park, Downtown and other sites- Two weeks packed with events: the biggies are the Dogwood Festival Parade, the City's major annual struttin' happenin', and 12 days of carnival rides in McIntire Park. Along the way, there's the coronation of the Dogwood Queen, a tennis tournament, the 10-miler, Garden Week, and even fireworks lighting up city skies. Some events are free; most have a modest entry fee. 961-9824

Late April through late September

Fridays After 5- Every Friday from early May to early October, this massive free party fills the air with sounds from some of the region's (and nation's) best musical artists. Attendance is still free, but a cup of beer costs you $5. 817-0220

Mid April (April 19-27, 2008)

Historic Garden Week in Virginia- Various backyards and estates- This is a chance to visit the gardens– and in a few cases the interiors– of houses of some rich and famous locals. Recent years have included John Grisham's secret garden and Coran Capshaw's elegant Seven Oaks in Greenwood– as well as those perennial favorites, UVA Lawn Pavilions. This year's main event for this area is scheduled to be the Morven Estate Gardens near Ash Lawn. Tickets $10-$35. 804-644-7776

Mid April (April 19, 2008)

Charlottesville Marathon and Half-Marathon- All over town and then some- To paraphrase Merle Haggard, it seems Charlottesvillians were born the running kind. After years of the Ten-Miler growing in popularity, Charlottesville had its first marathon and half-marathon in 2002, and it's been a hit every year since. In fact, it's become so popular that this year the New York Times rated it one of the top five marathon destinations in the country. The starting gun goes off at 7:30am. Registration opens on October 1. 293-7115

Early May (May 3-4, 2008)

Montpelier Wine Festival- Orange County- No other Virginia wine festival can compare to this two-day extravaganza at Montpelier, home of James Madison 45 minutes north of town. Price of admission includes tastings, a commemorative glass, food, live music, and a lot more. $12/advance, $20/at the gate. 1-800-594-8499 or 540-672-5216

April through October

The City Market- Downtown in the public parking lot at Water and First streets- In most cities, this is called the Farmers' Market, but then again, in most cities, the local college has a "campus." Fresh fruits, veggies, baked goods, flower bouquets and plants are offered for sale, while a spirit of civil disobedience simmers with goats' milk cheese purveyors– who since the state banned their sales, have offer their yummy products free (for a voluntary donation)! Sat 7am-noon. 970-3371

Mid-May (TBA)

The Discovery Dash- This used to be a cute little photo opportunity for the kiddies on the Downtown Mall. Now, in its 16th year, the race is a full-blown running competition held at Monticello High School. 977-1025

Late June (June 20-21, 2008)

James River Batteau Festival- For 18 years this eight-day river float has revived the days of moving hogsheads (big barrels) of tobacco along the James. The batteaux put in at various stops along the River from Stapleton (east of Lynchburg) to Maidens (west of Richmond). Free. 434-528-3950

Late June (June 28-29, 2008)

Nelson County Summer Festival- Oak Ridge Estate, 40 minutes south of town, featuring fine wines, kids' stuff, music, and more oak trees than you can shake a– well– stick at, this one's worth the drive just for a peek at the massive mansion built by a railroad magnate a century ago. 12 and under free; adults $10-12, with additional charges for wine and house tours. 263-8098 or 800-282-8223


Monticello Independence Day and Naturalization Ceremony- Monticello- Naturalization of approximately 75 new citizens. Guest speakers have included Secretary of State Colin Powell, architect I. M. Pei, and large-scale artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude; patriotic music by the Charlottesville Municipal Band helps set the tone. Admission to ceremony and grounds is free. 984-9828

Downtown celebrations- Fireworks fly at McIntire Park. Fees for some events, but the fireworks are free. Info: Dave Phillips, 817-2393

Crozet Carnival- Claudius Crozet Park- In 2005, this old-fashioned carnival lasted three days, including games, rides, live bands, a parade, and great fair food. Hosted by the town's volunteer fire department. 823-4758

Scottsville Parade- Scottsville- The little river city pulls out all the stops for the Fourth, starting with a big parade through town. Arts and crafts vendors, food, an antiques fair, a flea market, live music at The Rhythm on the River concert, and fireworks keep the festive mood going all day. 286-9267


Putting on your own fireworks display at home? Anything more serious than sparklers, spinners, and fountains is prohibited in both Charlottesville and Albemarle. Not okay: bottle rockets, roman candles, and M-80s.

Late July (TBA)

African-American Cultural Arts Festival- Booker T. Washington Park- Education and entertainment celebrating the heritage of people of African descent. Events include storytelling, crafts, live music, and dance performances. Free. 975-3929, 973-8792