The Details About the 68th Shad Planking and Grapes & Grains Festival
Shad Planking Event Details
12205 Brittles Mill Rd., Wakefield, VA 23888
Friday, April 22, 2016, 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.
What does it cost?
Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 at the gate.
What do I get with my ticket?
A tasting glass for samples from Virginia’s best wineries and distilleries, live music, political speeches, arts, crafts, social causes, outreach programs, and Virginia’s best and brightest citizens.
In one sentence, what is the 68th Shad Planking and Grapes & Grains Festival?
The perfect marriage of a political rally and a wine & whiskey festival.
Who will be there?
Political figures, wineries, distilleries, VA arts and crafts, non-profits, social causes, outreach organizations, and 1000s of people like you.
Where do I park?
Parking is available on site. Overflow parking is in walking distance, and we will have shuttle service as well.
How many people attend?
In past years, the Shad Planking has attracted up to 4,000 people. We expect about 20 wineries and distilleries and 60 vendors and exhibitors.
What if I’m not a partisan person, or what if I’m not into politics?
The Shad Planking exists beyond any political or partisan concepts. It doesn’t matter what your political beliefs are, or even if you have any. We guarantee you will find something or someone amazing at this event.
Is this event for charity?
Yes, proceeds for this event go directly to helping the good citizens of Wakefield, Virginia, and the surrounding rural area.
Who is running this event?
This event is hosted by the Wakefield Ruritan Club, a wise and compassionate 501(c)(4) organization that creates a better Virginia through “Fellowship, Goodwill and Community Service.” While you have a great time at the event, you can know in your heart that you are also directly helping the citizens of the region.
Can I bring my children?
This event is intended for adults 21 and up.
Can I bring my dog?
We love dogs, but please leave them at home.
A small gathering of friends used to celebrate the start of fishing season by catching shad. These friends would take the oily, bony fish and smoke it on wooden planks over an open flame. As they sat around the fire they talked about the things that were important to them: love, life, and politics.
Soon the small gathering became a large one. The Wakefield Ruritan Club began hosting the event in Sussex County, Virginia, about an hour west of Virginia Beach. It is held on the third Wednesday in April each year. For decades the Ruritans have worked to make America beautiful through charity and scholarship.
Eventually the event that marked the beginning of the fishing season evolved into a festival of delicious food, political speeches, and speculation about the likely winners and losers of the upcoming campaign season. In its early years, Democratic Party bosses used the Shad Planking as an opportunity to select the next governor. However, as Virginia became more Republican so did the Shad Planking, and in recent years all parties, including the Libertarian Party, have had a signifigant presence. Powerful and influential politicians have addressed the Shad Planking throughout its storied past.
In 2016 the Shad Planking completes another monumental evolution with the addition of the Grapes & Grains festival. Wineries, vineyards, and distilleries from all over the state will come in order to let Virginians taste the fruits of their labors. Local artisans and business owners will exhibit their goods, services, and art. The 68th Shad Planking is guaranteed to have something perfect for everyone.
There is no festival anywhere in the world that compares to the 68th Shad Planking. Festival goers will be able to wield their influence directly with politicians and business through the Presidential Straw Poll and People's Choice Award for the best wine in the Commonwealth.
Over the last several years Virginia has created some of the best wines in the entire world. Virginia wines have won countless awards and attracted millions of fans.
Virginia's best vineyards will be conducting tastings for all attendees of the 68th Shad Planking. Taste what the world's most celebrated wine connoisseurs already know: Virginia wine is amazing. The 68th Shad Planking and Grapes & Grain Festival will give attendees the power to vote for their favorite wine with the People's Choice Award. Every ticket holder is entitled to one vote.
The tradition of whiskey crafting in Virginia extends all the way back to the founding of the United States. George Washington himself distilled whiskey. Today, Virginia boasts the finest whiskey in the entire world.
At the 68th Shad Planking Virginia's esteemed distilleries will offer samples of their specially crafted whiskey to festival goers. Learn the special processes for making whiskey and find out what excellence tastes like.
The Wakefield Ruritan Club has hosted the annual Shad Planking since 1949. The United States classifies the club as a non-profit 501(C)(4) organization.
Proceeds from the Shad Planking go directly to the Ruritan Club, which is dedicated to improving communities and building a better Virginia through "fellowship, goodwill, and community service". Buying a ticket for the Shad Planking has a direct and powerful effect on the every day lives of the good people of Wakefield and its surronding rural areas. While you are trying the best Virginia has to offer, you can feel confident that your entrance to the 68th Shad Planking has made Virginia a better place.
Traditionally, the Shad Planking features one or more influential political speakers. 2016's speaker at the 68th Shad Planking will be particularly relevant and important due to the pending election of 45th President of the United States of America.
Virginia is considered a swing state, and the straw poll cast by the Shad Planking attendees will shed important light on the possible outcome of the election. Every person with a ticket to the Shad Planking will get one vote in the Presidential straw poll. As anyone who follows political news can tell you, straw polls give credence to candidates and help spice up the political season.
Even if people don't agree on politics, nearly everyone enjoys sitting out in nature, enjoying an adult beverage, and listening to live music. It doesn't matter what side of the aisle you stand on, the 68th Shad Planking invites you to speak your political mind, but also to sit back, relax, and share in the good times.
The Shad Planking will feature a local Virginia band early in the afternoon. Then we will hear from one of Virginia's finest political minds. Finally, the evening will wind away to the music of a nationally recognized band.
The 68th Shad Planking and Grapes & Grains Festival will feature Virginia's sharpest minds, finest wines, best whiskeys, and live music. However, the Shad Planking has even more to offer. Dozens of small business owners, artisans, crafters, and not-for-profit organizations will be present. The 68th Shad Planking creates a rare opportunity for everyday people and businesses to be recognized and heard by our lawmakers and executives. More than anything, The Shad Planking is a celebration of Love for Virginia: Virginia's agriculture, politics, creativity, influence, art, and business.
Every year the Shad Planking makes national news. Scores of influential people from politicians to journalists to radio and tv personalities have let their thoughts about the historical event to be known.
"Shad Planking is a lot about reminding us what's right about America. All the things that separate us are slim compared to what binds."
"Big crowds, good food, and a political who's who are just a part of what the shad planking event is all about. One of the most interesting parts of this event is the sea of signs. It's called the sign wars, where opposing camps come out days in advance and stake their claim to the surrounding area."
"Since at least 1965, every successful Virginia gubernatorial candidate has attended the Shad Planking the year he won election."
"In recent election cycles, candidates for Congress and the Virginia governorship began to treat the event as a must-do. And several plankings featured highly publicized encounters and good-natured ribbing between political rivals."
“I look at this as the kickoff for the general election, so to speak,” Allen told reporters. “This is ... the best bipartisan political event in Virginia. Folks have a good time, talking to one another, having their various viewpoints and so forth. And it’s fun. It’s the way politics ought to be.”