The Damascus Trail Center. Courtesy of Appalachian Trail Conservancy.

Here’s a round-up of briefs from around Southwest and Southside. Send yours for possible inclusion to

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Damascus Trail Center opening set

The Damascus Trail Center in the town of Damascus will officially open to the public on Saturday, August 27 at 10 a.m.

The center is a collaboration between the Town of Damascus and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.

In addition to providing information to visitors, the Trail Center will feature exhibits and programming that highlight the surrounding landscape. It will also serve as a center for Trail stewardship throughout the region, providing a location for volunteers and outdoor enthusiasts to take part in workshops and trail maintenance training.

The 2,194.3-mile Appalachian Trail is situated just feet away from the entrance to the Trail Center as it travels through downtown. Also nearby are the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail and the Virginia Creeper National Recreation Trail. 

Multiple events throughout the weekend will help mark the occasion:

  • Friday, August 26 at 6 p.m. – Run Damascus Fun Run 5K
  • Friday, August 26 at 7 p.m. – Beaverdam Friday Jams featuring Beth Snapp Band
  • Saturday, August 27, 9 a.m. to noon – Farmers Market
  • Saturday, August 27, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Damascus Trail Center Activities including partner expo, nature walks and gear giveaways from Allyn “Fix it Man” Morton

Starting Saturday, August 27, the Trail Center will be open Thursday-Monday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information about the Damascus Trail Center, visit

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Beth Rhinehart. Courtesy of Bristol Chamber of Commerce.

Bristol chamber president earns national certification

Beth Rhinehart, Bristol Chamber of Commerce President & CEO,  has been designated as a Certified Chamber Executive by ACCE, the Association of Chamber of  Commerce Executives. ACCE is an association based in Alexandria that has more than 1,600 chambers of  commerce and related business and economic development organizations as members.

The CCE program assesses and tests the applicant’s knowledge of core chamber management areas — management, planning and development, membership, communications and revenue and operations. 

Rhinehart is one of eight chamber professionals to earn the Certified Chamber Executive designation in  2022. These leaders represent chambers of commerce in seven states, including Alabama, Florida,  Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Virginia, as well as the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. 

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Four drum corps will perform in Salem on August 2

The  Annual Summer Music Games of Southwest Virginia will be Tuesday, August 2nd at the Salem  Stadium.  

The Summer Music Games will host four corps this year from Drum Corps  International. Competition performances and encore exhibitions by Carolina Crown– Fort Mill,  SC, Santa Clara Van Guard- Santa Clara, CA, Colts-Dubuque, IA, and Pacific Crest- Diamond Bar,  CA.   

This event is the primary fund-raiser for the Pride of Salem Marching Band, Event sponsorships and program ad listing spaces are still  available.  

To purchase tickets to this fantastic event, go to summer-music-games-of-southwest-virginia or call 1-888-547-6478. If you would like  sponsorship information or additional details regarding the Summer Music  Games, please email .

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Claytor Nature Center to host two-day mushroom event

The University of Lynchburg’s Claytor Nature Center in Bedford County is hosting an educational two-day mushroom ID event Aug. 5-6 with well-known mycologists Arleen and Alan Bessette. 

The event is organized by Pat Mitchell, president of the Blue Ridge Mycological Society. You can register for the event here:

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Ryan Klopf, Courtesy of Salem Museum.

Salem Museum to host ecology talk on August 11

The Salem Museum will host a talk on the loocal ecology and what people can do to help protect special habitats within the region on Thursday, August 11 at 7 p.m.

The speaker will be Ryan Klopf, the Virginia Natural Heritage Program’s Natural Areas Science Coordinator and Mountain Region Supervisor. He and his staff work to protect and restore rare species and natural communities within the Ridge and Valley, Blue Ridge, and Piedmont regions of Virginia.

This talk is part of the Salem Museum Speaker Series and will be presented on Zoom. The Zoom link will be posted on the Salem Museum’s website,, on the morning of the talk.