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Here is an excerpt from Harrisonburg's Community Connection page on Arts and Culture.
Civil War Orientation Center and Civil War Trail
"At the crossroads of two major turnpikes in the central Shenandoah Valley, Harrisonburg and Rockingham County played a pivotal role in the Civil War. With two major campaigns in the area, there are plenty of sites to visit (23!), all with easy-to-find markers along the Civil War Trail. Confederate Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson waged his famous Valley Campaign here in 1862, and Union Gen. Philip H. Sheridan ordered “the burning” of the Valley in 1864.
A stop at the Civil War Orientation Center at the Hardesty-Higgins House Visitors Center steers visitors on their way to exploring this period of the Valley’s history. For more information, call 540-432-8940.
Court & Market Days
Court & Market Days, held in June, gives city and county residents a chance to experience life in Harrisonburg as it was in 1850. The event is held on the grassy lot next to the Turner Pavilion, where the Farmers Market is going on, too. The day features skits by re-enactors, wagon rides, live music, lectures by historians, and demonstrations by artisans.
Court Square Theater
In the heart of downtown Harrisonburg is Court Square Theater, a 250-seat auditorium that features live theater and music as well as foreign and independent films. The Playhouse, a local theater group, puts on productions at the theater, too.
The theater’s art deco décor incorporates the gargoyles and crests that were part of the Rockingham Motors showroom, which occupied the space in years past. It’s part of a mixed-use complex that also includes a restaurant and brewery, wine shop, and office space, all with shared entrances.
Edith J. Carrier Arboretum and Botanical Gardens
Visitors to the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum and Botanical Gardens can walk along winding trails in shaded woods, view the Virginia native plants and botanical gardens, or just relax on a bench by the pond. The arboretum offers educational and cultural events on site every season of the year. It’s a quiet retreat from the busyness of the surrounding city of Harrisonburg and the campus of James Madison University. The arboretum is a place to learn about environmental preservation and study the important natural resources, plants, and trees. For information about events, call 540-568-3194.
Harrisonburg Farmers Market
Started in 1979 by a local farmer, the downtown Harrisonburg Farmers Market quickly became a popular spot to be on Saturday mornings. Then, in 2006, a local family donated $100,000 for the construction of a pavilion for the market.
“The new Turner Pavilion makes the market much more visible to the public and provides a uniquely pleasant setting for the community to buy local foods and crafts,” says Radell Schrock, president of the Harrisonburg Farmers Market Association. “There is an ever-increasing appreciation for the quality, freshness, flavor, and health benefits of buying local food from farmers you know.”
Forbes Center for the Performing Arts at JMU
When it opened its doors in August 2010, the Forbes Center for the Performing Arts at James Madison University had already become a cultural center in the Harrisonburg community and the region. The 174,524-square-foot building houses venues for theater, music, and dance, as well as rehearsal and support rooms, classrooms, and faculty offices.
The center features the Dorothy Thomasson Estes Center for Theatre and Dance, with a proscenium theater, a black box theater for student productions, a dance performance studio theater, and customized academic and rehearsal space. The Shirley Hanson Roberts Center for Music Performance offers a concert hall and a recital hall.
Situated directly across South Main Street from JMU’s Quad, the center is available to students, faculty, and the community. The National Register of Historic Places lists the quadrangle at James Madison University as a national treasure. The Forbes Center’s architecture meshes perfectly with the quad, being a thoroughly modern structure, yet with a façade of the famous bluestone that characterizes the quad’s older buildings.
In the fall, Harrisonburg celebrates the many cultures of its community at the International Festival. Ethnic foods, music, dance, activities for all ages, a multi-language area, Teen Space@fest, and a World Bazaar featuring traditional folk art are all a part of this festive day. The annual event is held in the city’s Hillandale Park.
Valley 4th in downtown Harrisburg is a full day of fun events. During the day, residents and visitors enjoy the Merchant Window Decorating Contest, walking tours with a local historian, a beer garden, live music, children’s activities, and more. A parade is held in the evening, followed by a concert. It all ends with — of course — a great fireworks display.
ValleyFest, the Shenandoah Valley Beer and Wine Festival, is held in May and celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2010, making it one of the area’s favorite annual events.
Virginia wines and microbreweries headline the event, along with other domestic and imported beers. Set the tasting to the tunes of live music, add some quality crafts and specialty vendors, and you have a fun and memorable day, all sponsored by the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber of Commerce (540-434-3862)."
Source: Community Link.com Harrisonburg VA