Welcome to the Virginia Mountains of Smyth County in Southwest Virginia!

Regional Visitor Center • 408 Whitetop Road • Chilhowie, VA 24319 • I-81, Exit 35

(276) 646-3306 • Toll Free 877-255-9928 • ron@visitvirginiamountains.com

Southwest Virginia Motorcycle Trails 2014!

Come Visit Marion!

  • Weekly Jams and Festivals for 2014

    Weekly Jams for Smyth, Wythe, Grayson, Washington and Scott Counties, plus a complete 2014 schedule of area festivals!

    More Information…

  • Lincoln Theatre Schedule of Events

  • Civil War 150 Updates

    Local sesquicentennial partners:


    Below are a few reminders and new items:


    1.  Signature Conferences: Registration for the 2014 Signature Conference, "The American Civil War in a Global Context" remains open.  Please help spread the word within your community. Not only is this going to be an outstanding program featuring historians of international acclaim, but there will also a lunchtime "Ask the Commission" Q&A with members of the Commission and staff, and many special programs are being planned by the Fairfax sesquicentennial committees.  Last, we are planning something very special at next year's conference for those who've attended all the programs, so please spread the word and encourage everyone to attend.


    Conference newsletter


    News release


    Need more Save the Date cards? Let me know how many and we'll send them right out.


    2.  Local Civil War 150 Roundtable meetings: Civil War 150 Commission staff are planning to hit the road again this summer to share the latest updates about special programs in 2015, grants, and information on scheduling CW150 programs: the HistoryMobile, "An American Turning Point" panel exhibition, and Legacy Project. Roundtable meetings will be held in late July/early August - we're planning the schedule soon, so please let me know if you'd like to host one.


    3.  Sesquicentennial Recognition Awards: You'll be hearing more details very soon about a new Sesquicentennial Recognition Award program that the Commission is creating to recognize the leadership of local partners and the success of sesquicentennial programs throughout the state.  More details to follow soon (especially at the Roundtable meetings where we'll discuss the awards program in depth), but for now, be sure to keep details, press clippings, and other documentation about sesquicentennial programs in your locality.

  • Sugar Grove Farmer's Market

  • Blue Ridge Highlands Fishing Trail

  • Marion Chili Cookoff, Shine and Show and Street Dance July 18-19!

    Downtown Marion Chili Championship, Shine n' Show Car Show and Street Dance scheduled for Friday, July 18th


    Marion (VA) It's that time of year again, where the streets in Downtown Marion are lined with over a dozen chili teams, exquisite vehicles, food vendors and all kinds of activities!  Join us on Friday, July 18th, from 7pm til 11pm for the 28th Annual Chili Cook - off and Shine n' Show Car Show, along with tons of other fun things to do in downtown Marion, VA!


    Back for its 28th year, chili teams will compete on Main Street for over $500 in cash and trophies, and most importantly, bragging rights for "The Best Chili in Town." Local judges will score the concoctions and determine which chili is the best, and worst. The public is also encouraged to participate by purchasing a "keepsake chili bracelet" for only $5, where they are able to taste all the chili concoctions and determine which chili they like best. Each purchase guarantees a chili ticket, where the public can vote for their favorite chili  and team. Tasting begins at 8:00pm and will last until teams run out of chili. Awards Ceremony for winners will begin at 9:30pm.


    In addition to the chili cook-off, Friday night will feature the annual "Show n' Shine" car, truck and motorcycle Cruise In on Main Street, sponsored by Susan Bell Nationwide and FM94.  Participants in the Cruise In showcase their vehicles and commemorative plaques are rewarded to the first 30 participants. Trophies for "People's Choice" and "Best in Show" will be awarded at 9:30pm. Entry fee is $25, where $5 will be donated to the Iron Warriors Club.  Along with the car show, Wythe Raceway will have their cars parked on Broad Street in downtown to show off!


    By popular request, "Phantom," which is one of the region's most popular "good-time music" bands, will again take the stage for the downtown street dance from 7pm til 11pm. Bring a chair and your dancin' shoes and enjoy the music!


    Select food vendors will be set up on the street just beside the Court House, offering funnel cakes, ice cream, snow cones, cotton candy, corndogs, kettle korn and more!


     Downtown restaurants will also be open, so come hungry! Whether you want a sit-down meal or want something to grab and go, you can find it in downtown Marion! Select businesses will even have tents set up outside their restaurants to sell food if you're in a hurry as well!


    And if you're looking to dine somewhere different, The Collins House Inn Bed & Breakfast is offering a dinner special the night of the event. Dinner starts at 6:30pm and cost is $19.95 per person.  Menu includes stuffed pork loin, green beans, baked apples, homemade rolls and more! Reservations are a must, so call (276)781-0250 if you're interested!


    Smyth County Livestock 4-H club will be selling tickets for a chance to win a Gator, S.C.A.L.E. will be selling glow-in-the-dark necklaces,  Smyth County Humane Society will be doing face painting for the kids, and Piggy Su will be there for you to kiss for St. Judes. That's right, a pig kissing boothe! Woodmen of the World will also be set up doing free fingerprints for kids, too!


    Back again this year is the Mountain View Ford and SpaceWalk "Kids Zone" with bounce houses, an obstacle course and even a monster truck for kids to play on! And, it's FREE!


    Marion Volunteer Fire Department is also sponsoring a Cornhole Tournament on Royal Oak Presbyterian Church parking lot on Main Street.  Sign up begins at 5:45pm and matches will start at 6:30pm.  Cost is $10 per person and includes a blind draw for teammates.

    How about a food challenge? Instead of watching competitors chomp down as much as they can in a set amount of time, we're putting a new spin on the well-known food challenges and tying it in with our iconic Dip Dog Stand!  Ten lucky contestants will be preselected to compete, and each will have five mustard-heavy Dip Dogs to consume as rapidly as possible. The one who finishes first, wins!


    Qualifying: Radio personalities CJ & Cubbs will incorporate the Great American Dip Dog Challenge into their afternoon show as a top promoted event.  They will qualify the contestants. Nine folks will be encouraged to enter at the Dip Dog Stand, on the Dip Dog and CJ & Dubbs Facebook page.  The very last spot will be filled the night of the event on site.  (In the event not all ten qualifiers are available at contest time, we would select contestants from the on-site registration to participate) LIMIT IS TEN COMPETITORS.  For more information and the list of rules, visit www.marionva.org


    On Saturday, July 19, the Marion Regional Farmers Market is open from 8am til 12noon.  Stop by and shop local! They'll have fresh produce, hand-made crafts, soaps, baked goods, and more!


    On Saturday night at 7:30pm, The Lincoln Theatre in downtown Marion will host a concert with a regionally known band,  Black Mountain Shine performing! Tickets are $10 at the door.


    Then, stick around for a concert at 27 Lions Restaurant  featuring locally known musicians, Jarid Reedy and Rusty Waddell! Music starts at 9:00pm.


    The Town of Marion will offer FREE shuttle service between downtown and the 41st Annual Hungry Mother Arts & Crafts Festival (sponsored by the Art League of Marion) all weekend long as well. Shuttle pick up will be in front of Appalachian Spirit Gallery, located at 144 West Main Street in downtown Marion, and will drop off at the festival at Hungry Mother State Park. Shuttle services will run 10am - 6pm on Friday and Saturday, and 10am - 5pm on Sunday.


    For more information about the weekend events, call Olivia Hall (276)783-4190 or visit www.marionva.org.


    This event is sponsored by: The Town of Marion, Marion Downtown, FM94, Mountain View Ford, Susan Bell at Nationwide, The Bank of Marion, Smyth County Court House, Wells Fargo, Marion Volunteer Fire Department and CJ & Dubbs/102.5FM



    28th Annual Chili Cook-Off & Shine n' Show Car Show

    Friday, July 18, 2014

    ·         5:45pm - Registration starts for Corn Hole Tournament

    ·         6:00pm - Shine n' Show Car Show registration starts

    ·         7pm-11pm - LIVE music by Phantom on Courthouse steps

    ·         8pm - Chili Bracelets go on sell for Chili Cook-off

    ·         8:45pm - The Great American Dip Dog Challenge (located near Town Hall)

    ·         9:30pm - Announcement of Chili Championship, Car Show and Dip Dog Challenge winners

    ·         Special sales and menus at participating businesses

    ·         Shuttle services offered from downtown to HMSP ALL weekend long!

    For information, contact Olivia Hall at (276) 783-4190


  • Clinch Mountain Wildlife Management Area Detail

  • NEW! Birding Loop Map!

    If you enjoy birdwatching, you'll want to take a closer look at the new Smyth County Birding Loop Map. Click here for a larger map.

  • Thundering Beauties Bike Rally at Hungry Mother State Park!

  • Robin Hood at The Lincoln Theatre Saturday July 12

  • BANO BASH 2014 SET FOR AUGUST 23rd and 24th

    Marion, VA  July 08, 2014 - With millions of fans avidly following the soccer World Cup in Brazil, it’s a good time to take note of an upcoming soccer event closer to home. Organizers announced this week that Bano Bash 2014 will be held August 23rd and 24th at Hungry Mother State Park in Marion, Virginia.


    Bano Bash is the major fundraiser for the Eric Albano Youth Soccer Foundation (EAYSF), a Marion-based organization dedicated to fostering and promoting the sport of soccer for youth of all ages. EAYSF was founded shortly after the sudden death of Eric Albano in 2009. Eric was a revered soccer coach at Marion Senior High School and a tireless supporter of the sport of soccer. Eric’s family and some of his many friends quickly came together with a common desire to honor Eric’s memory by promoting his beloved sport. Eric was an inspiration to countless youngsters whom he introduced to soccer.


    Bano Bash is a weekend of sports challenges that include 5K, 10K and half-marathon runs; a kayak race, five-person beach soccer tournaments, and team challenges in most events. A run/walk event for adults, families, and “Kids & Krittters” are also featured. Event organizers say other events and challenges are in the works. Last year’s Bano Bash had well over one hundred participants and dozens of volunteers who assisted with the event. Participants came from as far away as Ohio.


    The funds provided by Bano Bash have assisted EAYSF in supporting the Upward Bound Soccer program of First United Methodist Church in Marion. Last year, more than 80 children participated in Upward Bound Soccer. In addition, EAYSF awards $1,500 scholarships to graduating male and female seniors each year. This year, EAYSF is looking to sponsor traveling youth soccer teams.


    “On behalf of all our volunteers, I want to thank everyone for their support in the past and your consideration of support for this year’s Bano Bash and EAYSF’s fund raising efforts,” said Ron Reedy Jr., EAYSF’s President. “We look forward to seeing you at Bano Bash 2014 in August. It will be fun and it’s for a great cause.”


    EAYSF also accepts donations for its on-going projects and for its ultimate goal of creating a public youth soccer facility.


    Complete details on Bano Bash 2014 events are available at www.banosoccer.com



    Contacts: Ron Reedy Jr. 276.782.0770

          Pat Albano     276.783.7257 or 276.783.3019


  • Marion Downtown Days "Show and Shine"

  • Chili Cookoff and Show and Shine Flyer

  • Cornhole Tournament Flyer

  • Saltville Research Dig July 14-19


    Saltville, VA






    What:                        Saltville Research Dig

    Where:                      Museum of the Middle Appalachians

    When:                       July 14th thru July 19th, 2014

    Contact:                    Museum 276-496-3633


    A paleontological Research Dig will take place July 14 – 19 in the Saltville, VA, Well Fields and be directed by Dr. Charles Bartlett, well-known authority on Appalachian geology.  The Saltville Valley’s, SV1 site, is known by paleontologists worldwide for producing significant fossil material from the last Ice Age.  A team of volunteer ‘diggers’ will work at a site in the Saltville recreation area that Dr. Bartlett explored before permanent concrete structures were put in place.  That site revealed a distinctive layer of history that reaches back to a time when  a river bed of cobbled stones and littered with bones ran through the Saltville Valley.  It was in this layer of cobble and clay that a bone tool was found that showed signs of being worked by humans.  The objective of this year’s research is to dig again to that ancient river bed and collect more data left there by the inhabitants of the Valley at that time.  Dr. Bartlett will collaborate his research with Dr. Blaine Schubert, paleontologist at East Tennessee State University and Director of the Gray Fossil Site near Johnson City, TN.


    Dr. Schubert has conducted numerous field research studies at the Saltville Well Fields site under an agreement between ETSU, the Town of Saltville, and the Museum of the Middle Appalachians.  Dr. Schubert, paleontologists from the Gray Fossil Site near Johnson City, TN, and ETSU students work during summer digs to recover, preserve, and study fossils buried in a thick layer of lake bed sediments dating back thousands of years to the last great Ice Age.  The ETSU team recovered a woolly mammoth’s shoulder blade with scars and punctures that appear to be the bite marks of a large carnivore, most probably that of a short-faced bear or cave bear.  The discovery of a jaw bone and tooth from a short-faced-bear gave confirming evidence that this now extinct predator had a presence in the Saltville Valley.  These and other fossil finds can be seen at the Museum of the Middle Appalachians in Saltville or at the Gray Fossil Site in Gray TN.  Dr. Schubert’s ETSU team will not have a field excavation in Saltville in 2014, but plan to resume their research in 2015.


    Dr. Bartlett’s research site will be open on Monday, July 14 through Saturday, July 19 for anyone interested is observing science at work.

    The public is welcome to visit the dig site between 9AM and 4 PM and talk with Dr. Bartlett and his team about archeological and paleontological work in the Saltville Valley.  If anyone has unusual fossils or artifacts they have found, bring them by to share and possibly get them identified.  For more information call the Museum of the Middle Appalachians in Saltville at 276-496-3633.  The Museum is open daily 10 – 4 and Sunday 1-4.

July 24 - 27 Hungry Mother State Park