Early every August, the Scott family begins to think about Galax.
Immediately after visiting Chicago as one of Virginia’s delegates to the National Conference of State Legislatures, some of us begin to plan for a trip to Southwest Virginia—and my hometown, several miles south of I-81 in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The main reason for travelling almost 300 miles on a hot August Day is to attend the Old Time Fiddlers’ Convention- a music festival and contest renowned throughout the South and East –and beyond- thanks to NBC’s Charles Kuralt and his beloved on-the-road visits to American iconic places.
My mother and I were born in the same house in Galax. Galax is several hundred feet above sea level in the Blue Ridge Mountains. It gets its name from a beautiful ground cover flower that is found only in that area.
Each year some of the Scotts travel to Galax, along with several other legislators and their families as a part of annual trip to the beautiful Blue Ridge sponsored by the Galax Chamber of Commerce. For some, it was the first of many such visits. For others, it is an opportunity to follow the “Crooked Road” to visit many sites that have been critical to the economic development of the region.
The Crooked Road is a name given to many of the Blue Ridge highways and by-ways designated as especially significant by the Commonwealth for their history in regional development. For 77 years the second week in August has been the time of the Old-Time Fiddlers’ Convention, sponsored by the Galax Chamber of Commerce. Musicians travel from many parts of the Appalachians to play, to listen, to dance, and to sing. On the second weekend, prizes are awarded to the best bands, dancers, fiddlers, banjo players, guitar players, and vocalists.
Many visitors are also enchanted by the historic town of Floyd, which now draws hundreds of visitors to the Crooked Road, a designation given to parts of winding mountain roads where Blue Ridge shops and music can be seen and heard. With help from the Commonwealth and local businesses, many shop in Floyd and enjoy music and dance throughout the summer, especially at the County Store, when musicians, dancers and shoppers take advantage of the shops in Floyd, including some that sell clothes and jewelry from South American. This year former Governor Kaine joined the band with his harmonica and his wife, Ann Holton, wowed the audience with her flat-foot dancing.
If you haven’t tried Blue Ridge Virginia in August, I heartily recommend you think about a trip. I predict it won’t be your last.
Delegate Scott represents the 53rd District in the Virginia House of Delegates. He may be emailed at [email protected]