News Release

National Park Service Special Programs and Events in August 2017

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Date: July 31, 2017
Contact: ERIC CAMPBELL, (540) 868-0937

National Park Service News Release
For Immediate Release – July 31, 2017
Contacts Name: ERIC CAMPBELL (540) 868-0937

National Park Service Announces Special Programs and Events in August
Which Highlight Shenandoah Valley History

Middletown, VA ----- Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park and its partners will offer a series of special National Park Service ranger programs and other events this August to highlight various stories related to the history of the Shenandoah Valley. “These programs will give visitors a chance to explore important events of the Valley,” said Eric Campbell, the park’s chief of interpretation. “We will cover a numerous subjects and offer a wide variety of events, including a Star Gazing Party, special programs for Civil War Weekend, programs on critical moments of the Battle of Cedar Creek, along with special events at Belle Grove, including a 50th anniversary celebration on August 13th and its annual Wine Fest on August 26th.”

These special presentations include both the popular “History at Sunset” programs and also the “Battlefield Series” programs. All of these programs are free and last between 90 minutes to two hours.

* August 4th (Rescheduled from July 28th) —History at Sunset: Rivers and Valleys: Geology of the Shenandoah (7:00 pm) The Shenandoah Valley's unique geology and geography contributed significantly to its agricultural, social, and military history. Join Ranger Rick Ashbacker for this car caravan tour which will explore many of the physical features and materials that were critical to the development of the Cedar Creek and Belle Grove region. Meet at the NPS Visitor Contact Station (7712 Main Street, Middletown, VA).

* August 12—Battlefield Series: “…with a wild, fierce yell” The Defense of Thoburn’s Redoubt (7:00 pm) The Confederate attack on October 19, 1864 at Cedar Creek caught many Union units by surprise, the first being Col. Joseph Thoburn’s 8th Corps division. Join Ranger Jeff Driscoll as he examines the defense of “Thoburn’s Redoubt” during the first chaotic pre-dawn hours of the battle. Meet at the Thoburn Property, Bowman’s Mill Road, Middletown (the site will be marked by signs).  For more information see: or call (540) 869-3051.

* August 12—National Park Service Star Gazing Party (8:30 pm) Come look through our telescopes, or bring yours and we can show you how to use it. Co-sponsored by the National Park Service, the Shenandoah Astronomical Society and the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation. Meet at the Thoburn Property, Bowman’s Mill Road, Middletown (the site will be marked by signs). For more information see: or call (540) 869-3051.

* August 13—Belle Grove’s 50th Anniversary (1:00 – 5:00 pm) To celebrate, Belle Grove will be open free of charge for ice cream, cake, and behind-the-scenes tours. For more information, see: or call: (540) 869-2028.

* August 18-20—Winchester-Frederick County Civil War Weekend  A series of special events and programs at historic and Civil War related sites in Frederick and Clarke counties. Activities typically include special tours, children's activities, book signings, living history demonstrations, and more. For more information and a complete schedule of events see: or or call: (877) 871-1326.

* August 18—History at Sunset: “Attention - Company!” Civil War Soldier for an Evening (7:00) Have you ever attended a Civil War "living history" event or re-enactment and wondered about all those strange movements, battle formations and commands? Or the details of the various steps in loading and firing a rifled-musket? Join Ranger Jeff Driscoll for a hands-on interactive experience on the basics of Civil War drill. For adults and kids alike! Meet at Belle Grove Plantation Manor House (336 Belle Grove Road, Middletown, VA).

* August 19—Advance and Retreat: Gordon’s Attack at Cedar Creek (9:00 am) Join Ranger Rick Ashbacker as he explores the attack of Maj. Gen. John B. Gordon’s Division on the Union line held by Col. (and future President) Rutherford B. Hayes troops. Meet at the National Park Service Visitor Contact Station (7712 Main Street, Middletown, VA).

* August 19—National Regiment Living History Encampment and Firing Demonstrations (10:00--5:00) Members of the National Regiment will set up an encampment and discuss the life of the common Civil War soldier. Firing demonstrations at 10:00 am, and 3:30 pm. Life of the common soldier demonstration at 12:30. Meet at the 8th Vermont Monument. Parking is located at the Claven Lane parking area (2262 Claven Lane, Middletown, VA). The location will be marked by NPS signage.

* August 25—History at Sunset: Voices of the Valley: What Soldiers Wrote Home at Cedar Creek (6:00) The Civil War soldiers who struggled in the Valley during the fall of 1864 endured countless hardships. Ranger James Horn will examine the campaign and the Battle of Cedar Creek through the letters written by these men at the time. What did they endure? What were they fighting for? These and many other topics are revealed by the letters penned by the soldiers themselves. Meet at the 8th Vermont monument (8739 Valley Pike, Middletown, Virginia). Visitors are encouraged to bring a flashlight and folding chairs.  

* August 26—Belle Grove Wine Festival (11:00 – 6:00) An annual favorite at Belle Grove that will feature tastings of regional vineyards, music, chef demonstrations, vendors, and more. Fee. For more information call (540) 869-2028.

For details and updates, call (540) 869-3051 or see:

Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park offers a wide variety of ranger-conducted programs, which tell the park’s many stories related to the rich cultural history of the Shenandoah Valley and the American Civil War. These programs are offered regularly. Check the park website ( or call (540) 869-3051 for a current schedule.


About Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park: Cedar Creek and Belle Grove commemorates a nationally significant Civil War landscape and antebellum plantation by sharing the story of Shenandoah Valley history from early settlement through the Civil War and beyond. The park is embedded within the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District, a National Heritage Area. 

Created on December 19, 2002, the park encompasses approximately 3,700 acres across three counties and includes the key partner sites of Belle Grove Plantation (owned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and managed by Belle Grove, Inc.), Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation lands and Headquarters, Shenandoah Valley Battlefield Foundation lands, and a developing Shenandoah County Park. The partner sites continue to be owned and operated independently

Last updated: December 27, 2017

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Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 700
Middletown, VA 22645



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