These 20 events are West Virginia must-sees

 

Parents hear it every year as school winds down for the summer: “I want something to do!” Fortunately, there’s always something to do in Almost Heaven, West Virginia. Just check out a sampling of all the wild and wonderful events that are happening over the next few months. Local and regional CVBs are happy to help you in planning your next getaway to each of the events below.

  1. Party on the river! Adventures on the Gorge offers a unique way to celebrate spring’s arrival with the Fire and Ice Festival. The April 20-21 event features a pig roast, live music and a flaming tower of fire and ice. But if you can’t make it to that one, there’s ACE Adventure Resort’s Mountain Music Festival May 31-June 2 featuring 25 bands on four stages. Umphrey’s McGee and BIG Something will be headlining the festival! Or, dust off your neon clothes and skinny ties for Rivers Expeditions’ Totally Awesome 80s Weekend on August 4, with prizes for best costume and best dancer. These rafting companies also offer great package deals on whitewater rafting and other outdoor adventures. If you’re just looking for a quiet place to take in the views, make a detour to Hawks Nest State Park, where you can take an aerial tram ride down to the bottom of the gorge. Or, stop by all of the areas in the Visit Southern West Virginia region to extend your stay!

 

  1. You haven’t had a true taste of West Virginia until you’ve eaten ramps. Get your fill of these pungent but delicious garlicky greens at Richwood’s annual Feast of the Ramson on April 21. Ramps are traditionally served with pinto beans, fried potatoes, scrambled eggs and bacon, but gourmet chefs have incorporated them into a wide variety of elegant meals. Heck, you can even get Appalachian Ramp Wine (great for cooking!) at Kirkwood Winery. The winery offers tours and tastings of its many offerings, from classic reds and whites to fruit blends and honey mead.

 

  1. Satisfy your sweet tooth at the 6th annual Chocolate Fest and Book Faire on April 28 in Martinsburg. The event features more than 25 businesses each preparing a different chocolate item along the chocolate walk. West Virginia authors will be conducting book signings in local shops, and DeFluri’s Fine Chocolates will offer guided tours of its 10,000-square foot factory. You can walk off those calories on the hiking trails at Poor House Farm Park or—if you dare—take the after-dark Haunted History and Legends Tour of historic sites in the city.

 

  1. The quiet country roads and rolling farmlands of Monroe County beckon lovers of rural life. Plan your trip for May 3-5 to attend Monroe County Heritage Days. Activities include a spring homes tour featuring re-enactors in period costume, music, lectures, an art show and more. While you’re in the area, don’t miss out on a driving tour of the Rural Heritage Quilt Trail and a visit to Moncove Lake State Park.

 

  1. Stroll the beautiful grounds of The Greenbrier during the resort’s first The Greenbrier Concours d’Elegance. The May 4-6 event features some of the finest vintage and luxury cars in the world. Enjoy a weekend of live music, fine wine and gourmet food combined with the blissful views and luxurious amenities of America’s Resort. While you’re in the area, the kids will love a visit to Lost World Caverns or a family bike ride on the Greenbrier River Trail. (You can even fish in the Greenbrier River from the trail!)

 

  1. Mark your calendar for the West Virginia Strawberry Festival May 12- 20 in Downtown Buckhannon. Festivities include art and craft exhibits, live music, a 5K race, and food vendors selling everything strawberry. May is also a great time to get in some early camping at Audra State Park and visit the West Virginia State Wildlife Center just down the road.

 

  1. Stop by the Camp Creek State Park & Forest Timbersports Competition and Ramp Feast on April 28 in Camp Creek! The event, which will be held 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., will feature a wide variety of activities, including a flower and bird walk; a ramp feast with ramp casserole, brown beans, cornbread, slaw and drink; and the Timbersports competition. Admission is free!

 

  1. If you’re a railfan who loves to photograph trains, don’t miss out on Rail Heritage Weekend at Cass Scenic Railroad State Park. The May 18-20 event focuses on re-creating photo scenes from the original steam railroad days in the historic logging town of Cass. This year’s event includes a night photography session at Whittaker Station. For a unique twist on your getaway, combine history and space-age technology with a visit to Green Bank Observatory, home of the world’s largest fully steerable radio telescope. Lodging is available in the restored company houses at Cass and nearby at Snowshoe Mountain Ski Resort. Then, relax in nature at Watoga State Park.

 

  1. Chief Logan State Park is known for a lot of things, including its Christmas in the Park winter festival of lights. During the summer, though, a big must-see is any show at the Liz Spurlock Amphitheatre. Produced by The Aracoma Story Inc., Southern West Virginia’s longest-running theater organization, 2018’s lineup of family-friendly shows includes “Shrek The Musical,” Disney’s “Aladdin Jr.” and “The Beverly Hillbillies.” Chief Logan also features a museum and live wildlife exhibit. And if you’re a fan of ATV riding, the vast network of Hatfield McCoy Trails can be accessed near the park.

 

  1. Are you hankering to try some fishing but don’t have a license? Take advantage of Free Fishing Days June 9-10 at Tomlinson Run State Park. Find your favorite fishing hole on King Creek, Tomlinson Run or Tomlinson Run Lake and cast your line for bass, catfish, bluegill and trout. Overnight accommodations are available at the campground, which also has several camper cabins and yurts. You’ll find plenty of great dining options in Weirton, Wellsburg and Chester. Be sure to look for the World’s Largest Teapot in Chester. (Hint: You can’t miss it!)

 

  1. Bluegrass lovers, rejoice: Wetzel County has just the thing for you! The Back Home Appalachian Arts & Music Festival takes place June 29—July 1 in New Martinsville. The event features a lineup of 18 bands, from Grammy-Award winning bluegrass stars The Del McCoury Band to local favorites Ryan Cain & the Ables delivering their hopping mix of rockabilly and honky tonk. There will also be arts and crafts and food vendors. RV and tent camping is available at the 4H grounds for a small fee.

 

  1. The Mountain State Art & Craft Fair has been a West Virginia tradition since 1963. More than 100 artisans and exhibitors contribute to this annual show through art, music, culture and food. The event at Cedar Lakes includes a quilt show, marketplace, interactive crafts, wine tastings, craft brews, a petting zoo and more. It takes place July 4-7, making it convenient for you to catch the Ripley 4th of July Celebration—billed as “America’s Largest Small Town Independence Celebration.”

 

  1. You’ve heard about him in folk songs and stories. Now you can pay tribute to the legendary steel-driving man at the annual John Henry Days in the rural mountain community of Talcott. The festival takes place July 13-15 and features live music by the Great Bend Tunnel, a 4-mile run, grand parade, fireworks, and of course plenty of craft and food vendors. Nearby lodging includes Twin Falls Resort State Park, named after the picturesque Foley Falls and Black Fork Falls that flow within the park. While in the area, stop by Little Beaver State Park to fish, hike and more.

 

  1. Experience the best of two wild and wonderful state parks with the Mid-Summer Walk Between the Parks. The 8-mile guided hike is beautiful and includes a shuttle service from Canaan Valley Resort State Park to Blackwater Falls State Park. The 4-hour scenic hike is moderately strenuous and takes hikers through groves of red spruce, eastern hemlock and dense rhododendron thickets high in the mountains of West Virginia’s backcountry. Hike dates are July 14 and August 4. Add to your outdoor experience with a paddling trip on the Cheat River. Blackwater Outdoor Adventures offers guided whitewater trips and flatwater tubing and kayaking.

 

  1. Everyone knows the proper West Virginia hot dog is topped with chili and coleslaw. But now you can judge for yourself who makes the best dog at the annual West Virginia Hot Dog Festival, which rounds up some of the best hot dog vendors in the Huntington area. The event takes place the last Saturday of every July (July 28 this year) and features live entertainment, games, a family bicycle tour of Huntington, classic car show and more. Make a long weekend of it and take the family camping at Beech Fork State Park, where you can hike and swim off all those calories! Or head to Cabwaylingo State Forest, which was one of the first parks established in the state!

 

  1. A venue on the Mountain Music Trail, the Augusta Heritage Center at Davis & Elkins College is the go-to place for anyone who wants to learn about traditional music, dance and craft. Celebrate Appalachian culture at the school’s annual Augusta Festival on August 10-11. The event includes a Mountain Stage concert and juried craft fair. Then get a taste of the wild mountain scenery surrounding Elkins with a scenic train ride on the Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad.

 

 

  1. Learn more about the West Virginia State Insect and sample a host of delicious and useful honey products at the West Virginia State Honey Festival August 24-25 in Parkersburg. Lodging options include the historic Blennerhassett Hotel and North Bend State Park, which provides a convenient base for bicycling on the adjacent 72-mile North Bend Rail Trail. Stop by Berdines Five and Dime in Ritchie County for a treat. And don’t forget Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park, which is located on a small island in the Ohio River.

 

  1. Hinton’s proximity to the New, Greenbrier and Bluestone rivers lends this historic railroad town the nickname New River Gateway. Celebrate the area’s river and railroad culture every Labor Day Weekend with the Festival of Rivers, a two-day music festival. You can also take a walking tour of this historic town and visit the Hinton Railroad Museum to view artifacts from the early days of the C&O Railroad. Then take a road trip to Pipestem Resort State Park on the rim of the Bluestone River Gorge. The area is a popular nesting and hunting site for bald eagles. Check out Bluestone State Park for fishing and boating.

 

  1. Moundsville—once called Elizabethtown—pays tribute to its rich history with the annual Elizabethtown Festival. The September 15 event features live entertainment, dozens of vendors, a variety of food, and artisan demonstrations from apple butter making to bagpipe creation. Be sure to make time for a tour of the historic West Virginia Penitentiary and a visit to the museum at the prehistoric Grave Creek Mound.

 

  1. What could be better than an event spent with good music? The Quartets on Parade will be held at East Hardy High School Theater in Baker, West Virginia at 7 p.m. on April 21. The event is sponsored by the Wardensville Lions Club.

 

Which ones will you be attending?

This post was last updated on April 16, 2018