Weeklong festivities at Strawberry Hill begin today


April 10, 1994|By Dorothy Fleetwood | Dorothy Fleetwood,Contributing Writer

Strawberry Hill Race Weekend is Richmond's top social event in the spring. The weekend has turned into a full week of festivities that lead up to Saturday's steeplechase races at the fairgrounds on Strawberry Hill.

Many events are held as fund-raisers, such as the Richmond Ride, which benefits the city's mounted police squad. Horse owners will join members of the squad for a three-hour ride through the city's historic areas today at noon. Richmond's SPCA will benefit from "Art for Animals," a show, sale and auction of works by nationally known artists who specialize in equine, domestic and wild-animal art Wednesday at the Jefferson Hotel.

And there's the popular Strawberry Hill Gala, a black-tie dinner dance that benefits all race-week beneficiaries. The event is held in the Old Dominion Building at the fairgrounds and features music by the symphony, coaching activities, hot-air balloons and music for dancing by a local shag band.

A new event this year is the Strawberry Hill Balloonfest. Twelve hot-air balloons will be launched from trackside on race day at 7 a.m., after the races and again on Sunday morning.

As in past years, the horse-drawn carriage rides will be among the most colorful weekend events. About 25 antique carriages will arrive from several states to participate in festivities that include a carriage tour around the city Friday afternoon, the Friday evening gala and a pre-race drive on Saturday morning. The carriages will return to the fairgrounds in time to participate in opening ceremonies at noon. Admission to the races is $15 in advance; $25 after April 12. Call (804) 228-3200.

Feast of Ramson

The ramp is a wild leek found in the mountainous regions of West Virginia. "Ramp feeds" are popular events during ramp season from April to June, but the granddaddy of all "ramp feeds" is the Feast of the Ramson scheduled on Saturday in Richwood.

Now in its 56th year, the event takes place at Richwood High School from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. One of the state's largest one-day craft shows will be held that day at the Richwood Junior High School gymnasium, where entertainment includes blue grass and country musicians, gospel, old-time fiddling and dancing. In addition to ramp, the menu includes ham, bacon, fried potatoes, brown beans, corn bread, dessert, sassafras tea and other beverages. The price is $8 for adults; $4 for 12 and under. Call (304) 846-6790.

Go fish

Head for West Virginia once again for the second annual Spring Mountain Festival in Petersburg (in South Branch Valley), home of the golden trout. To celebrate the season, the town plans all kinds of activities -- fiddlers' contests, an antique-car show, music, magic, clogging, pancake suppers, a quilt show, lots of food and many other attractions.

The city pool in the park will be stocked with trout, and once you have hooked your fish someone will be there to clean and cook it for you. On Saturday, children can try their luck in the kids' fishing derby. Crafts, food and entertainment will be available at the park, and there are activities throughout town and train rides into the scenic region beyond. Hours are 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is charged for a few events, but most are free. Call (304) 257-2722.

Crafty things

The 12th annual Smithsonian Craft Show (formerly the Washington Craft Show) is scheduled Thursday through next Sunday in the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium, 1301 Constitution Ave. N.W. Organized by the Smithsonian Women's Committee, the show offers original, one-of-a-kind and limited edition items in basketry, ceramics, furniture, jewelry, wearables and many other crafts. A silent auction is also featured. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday and Saturday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $8 for adults; $7 for seniors; $5 for children; free for under 5. Call (202) 357-4000.

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