Belle Grove explores African American history

Kris kringle outdoor market

Belle Grove Plantation is open and free to the public today from 8 am to 4 pm for special programming on the history of African Americans on the site and around the Valley.

Belle Grove will welcome special guests from The Slave Dwelling Project which held other events earlier in the week at Blandy Farm, Burwell Morgan Mill, and St Thomas Chapel in Middletown.

Each hour will feature speakers or presentations on topics like the life of an enslaved cook and the complicated road to freedom.

Special guest Cheney McKnight of the hit YouTube channel “Not Your Momma’s History” will host a discussion about experiences of enslaved people throughout North America.

These talks will all be available on Zoom as well with a link to register found here.

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Blandy Farm celebrates changing Ginkgo Grove

Photo by Janet Michael

The State Arboretum of Virginia at Blandy Farm is celebrating GinkgoFest tonight from 5:00-7:00 pm.

Their 3.3 acre collection of 300 trees is the largest grove in the United States and currently in its most vivid golden color.

There will also be live music, food and drinks, Plein Air Art in the Grove, and staff on hand to educate about the history and growth of Ginkgos.

The lighting will be perfect during this time for photography but bring a flashlight for your walk back.

They will also have shuttles from the parking lot to near the Ginkgo Grove .

The trees emit a stinky fruit so it’s recommended to wear plastic coverings over your shoes to not bring the smell home.

Tickets are available here but visitor’s are still welcome during Blandy’s regular public hours.

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Blandy Farm’s 32nd Annual Garden Fair

The 32nd Annual Garden Fair hosted by Blandy Experimental Farm is back for Mother’s Day weekend.

This year’s event is held at the Clarke County Fairgrounds from 9 am – 4 pm Saturday and Sunday.

This plant sale will everything you can imagine from unique plants and trees to gardening accessories as well as experts to provide tips on how to help your plants flourish.

The event will also feature live music and food trucks.

Entry costs $10 per car load with proceeds going to the Virginia State Arboretum at Blandy Farm.

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Footin for Animals 5k and 10k

Photo by Janet Michael

The 12th annual Footin for Animals 5k and 10k to support the Briggs Animal Adoption Center will get started today at 10 am.

Walk or run by yourself or bring your dog for the scenic trail through the Virginia State Arboretum at Blandy Farm.

If you don’t have a running companion, there will be dogs ready for adoption at the start line.

The Briggs Animal Adoption Center is a program of the National Humane Society.

They rely solely on donations and fundraisers like this to help place cats and dogs with families.

For more information head to

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Blandy Farm’s garden fair is back

Photo by Janet Michael

Blandy Experimental farm’s 31st annual garden fair is back this weekend, but in a new location to provide more space.

The Clarke County Fairgrounds will host the event today and tomorrow May 8 and 9 from 9 am to 4 pm.

The garden fair offers one of the largest selections of plants with vendors from all across the region.

Food vendors will also be open at the fairgrounds.

The event is only $15 a car load and is the biggest yearly fundraiser for the arboretum.

For more information, including a full list of vendors, visit

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.