The summer is filled with a festivals and events with something going on each week in the southern town. A couple of special highlights are worth noting.
Galax Leaf and String Festival
Showcasing all types of the creative culture, the Leaf and String Festival gives a glimpse into a diversity of local and regional talent, Held on June 13 and 14 this year, the downtown area will be full of music, artisans, and food vendors. Following each afternoon of outdoor music, the event moves into the Historic Rex Theater to continue the nightly entertainment.
Smoke on the Mountain
There’s only one word to sum up the special event held in July — delicious. Authentic southern barbecue with “altitude” fills the streets of the downtown on the third weekend of July 17-18. The competition is the official Virginia state barbecue championship. Teams of the best barbecue competitors from across the country vie for the bragging rights that winning this event brings including a spot in The Memphis BBQ Network World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest. For spectators, it’s a chance to sample some of the best food of the South while enjoying the festival atmosphere that includes music, crafters and children’s activities.
Old Fiddler’s Convention
The grandfather of music conventions is held in Southwest Virginia. Since 1935, Galax has been the home to the Old Fiddler’s Convention, one of the most prominent traditional music contests in the United States. Each August, hundreds come to play in Felts Park, and thousands come to listen. Musicians as old as the convention itself or barely old enough to hold an instrument sit side-by-side and play and sing and learn. The number of steps made by those who get up and flatfoot or tap their feet along with the melodies would surely circumference the globe. This year’s 80th anniversary on August 3-8, 2015 will be as rich in tradition as it was the very first year.
Music is not the only thing that makes a trip to Galax worth the drive, there are an abundance of events throughout the spring and summer for relaxing family-friendly activities.
A River of Heritage
Floating down the New River is like a journey into the past. An ancient river system, it is the oldest on the continent of North America and second only to the Nile River in Africa as the oldest river in the world. Flowing through spectacular mountain scenery including craggy rock cliffs and gorges, the New River provides plenty of opportunities for whitewater enthusiasts with several Class II-III rapids. Motorboaters and canoeists will also enjoy an abundance of flat-water. Premier fishing abounds with just about every major freshwater game fish in the state including smallmouth and largemouth bass, striped bass, muskellunge, walleye, channel and flathead catfish, bluegill, and many other varieties. Trophy fish are frequently caught in these waters with many record setting catches logged.
Adjacent to the river, New River Trail State Park not only offers the named 57-mile rail trail, but also a wealth of other recreational delights. The trail is commonly used for walking, jogging, hiking, cycling, camping, and horseback riding. Scenic vistas from old railroad bridges and two old railroad tunnels are just two of the unique aspects to the trail’s experience. Keep an eye out for geo-caches stashed throughout the park. The New River Trail is less than one mile from the center of downtown making accessibility to the amenities that Galax offers very convenient.