Staunton’s calendar of events remains packed for the fall; tourism sees a boost

STAUNTON, Va. (WHSV) – Summer tends to be vacation time, when roads are particularly busy, hotel occupancy is up and calendars are packed with events.

Staunton’s summer was packed with events like Happy Birthday America and the Staunton Music Festival, and fall looks similar.

Witches and wizards will come out for Queen City Mischief and Magic.

The Frontier Culture Museum will review its version of Oktoberfest, which is one of the biggest fall festivals.

Those big events mean that Staunton has seen a surge of tourists.

The Smith Travel Study showed a 23% increase in hotel occupancy from July 2021 to July 2022, as well as a 40% increase in revenue.

“They’re not just staying at our hotels, they’re eating at our restaurants, shopping at our retail stores and visiting our attractions,” said Staunton Director of Tourism Sheryl Wagner.

Wagner said Staunton has responded enthusiastically to the events, as many of them have been on hiatus for a few years.

“People are excited to get back together and we have a variety of events going on. I think it’s going to have a significant impact on our tourism revenue,” she said.

Queen City Mischief and Magic (QCMM) founder Sarah Lynch said that Staunton is the perfect backdrop for the event due to the historic architecture, but the people also make the event perfect.

“This town is full of enthusiasts. I’m credited with creating this, but it wouldn’t happen if it wasn’t for hundreds of people who jumped in with both feet and did their part,” he said.

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QCMM kicks off with Locals Night on Friday, September 23rd and runs through Sunday, September 25th. Lynch said there are many people who travel hours away to attend the event.

“We have friends that come together from Alaska and Hawaii, so they know each other and they come through here. They have come every year that we have been in person, and they will come again this year,” Lynch said.

Lynch said there will be many firsts this year, including lots of live animals, an ASL interpreter, Silver Line Theater participation and a party from Trinity Episcopal Church.

For more information on QCMM, please click here.

On October 1, the Border Culture Museum will present the Shenandoah Valley’s version of Oktoberfest.

“We celebrate and commemorate, to some degree, the contributions of German immigrants to American culture,” said the museum’s research coordinator, Doretta Sobolewski.

The Border Culture Museum will also have interpretive activities, historic brewing, flintlock demonstration and cooking demonstrations. Another of the attractions of that day will be their bands, and a group makes the trip from Germany.

The band will not be the only visitor to Queen City from Germany. Sobolewski’s mom will also be in town for the event.

“We have missed our visitors very much. To be able to host these events again, especially Oktoberfest, which has been a staple on our event calendar, is a wonderful opportunity,” he said.

The museum opens at 9 am and the music starts at noon. For more information on the event, visit their website here.

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