By Jan Mercker
Two groovy concerts, a community campout and a list of fabulous events all summer long? A decked out vintage VW bus roving the county? Welcome to Loudoun’s Summer of Love.
The county’s Visit Loudoun tourism agency celebrates the 50th anniversary of the iconic Virginia is for Loversadvertising campaign and the golden anniversary of the Woodstock music festival with a series of events spotlighting some of the many reasons tourists and residents alike love Loudoun.
It all started when the Virginia Tourism Corporation was looking for partners to celebrate the Virginia is for Loversmilestone, said Visit Loudoun CEO Beth Erickson.
“Visit Loudoun’s marketing team jumped on the opportunity and came up with the concept of really focusing on the cultural touchstones of 1969—and to use that to focus on all that Loudoun County has to offer, from our farms or wineries, our breweries, horses, recreation, music, history and even fashion,” Erickson said.
The Summer of Love campaign features 17 diverse events, from a dairy festival to a Lilly Pulitzer-themed polo match. And the common thread is a hard-to-miss, bright red vintage Volkswagen bus hitting each event for photo ops and fun. The branded bus provided by Visit Loudoun’s partner Lindsay Volkswagen of Dulles will be parked at the agency’s Market Station headquarters when its not making the rounds to Summer of Love events.
“The bus is awesome” Erickson said. “It’s a tremendous opportunity to thread all of these events together, and the hope is that people will follow the bus. … We really want people to share what they love about Loudoun County using the bus as a great backdrop”
The Summer of Love officially kicked off last Saturday with Dairy Day at the Loudoun Heritage Farm Museum in Sterling. For music lovers, the fun begins the this weekend with the first of two bookend concerts marking the start and end of the campaign.
The two-day Woodstock in the Gap festival in Hillsboro takes place Friday, June 7 and Saturday, June 8. Friday’s lineup includes a locally sourced dinner and talk from historian and author Marc Leepson, who will discuss his experience attending Woodstock after returning home from serving in the Vietnam War and the healing power of music. Saturday’s festival kicks off with yoga and locally made granola on the town green, followed by a family-oriented craft festival where children can make love rocks and headbands while parents shop from local vendors and food trucks. The free music festival starts at 4 p.m. music festival with Woodstock-inspired favorites from Joey and the Waitress, a tribute to Joe Cocker from The Band-Changed and a Grateful Dead tribute from Born Cross Eyed.
Woodstock in the Gap also is the kick off for Hillsboro’s weekly concert series, says Vice Mayor Amy Marasco and will live up to the tiny town’s reputation for going all-in whenever it’s time to celebrate.
“Of course it’s Hillsboro, so there’ll be tie dye flags in town right after Memorial Day,” Marasco said. “It’s just going to be fun. … People can bring blankets. We’re going to make it like a pop-up Woodstock”
The Summer of Love wraps up with a grand finale concert at B Chord Brewing near Round Hill on Saturday Aug. 17. The lineup is TBA, Erickson said, but will include top local musicians along with vendors, food, a special Summer of Love beer from B Chord and a specially branded line of wines from Tarara Winery.
“It was important to us that it hit our towns, our villages east and west, that it really does go all over the county,” Erickson said.
The campaign includes events in Sterling, Ashburn, Leesburg and several Western Loudoun communities. Other highlights include a panel discussion on the landmark 1967 U.S. Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia organized by the Loudoun Freedom Center in Waterford Friday, June 21; screening of the original 1969 film “The Love Bug” and bring your own VW rally as part of Lovettsville’s Movies on the Green series on June 29; and Lilly Pulitzer day at Morven Park’s Polo in the Park series Saturday, July 27 featuring a vintage Lilly fashion show between matches. A special Community Camp Out at Algonkian Regional Park Aug. 3 is the only night of the year that residents can camp overnight at the beloved park.
“There is such a breadth of visitor experiences and a diversity that’s so important. One of the key components of Loudoun is outdoor recreation. The fact that we are right on the Potomac River, that we’ve got fabulous hiking trails, being able to be on the water,” Erickson said. “[Algonkian Regional Park] is really pulling out the stops for a unique event.”
Visit Loudoun’s Summer of Love runs Saturday, June 1 through Saturday, Aug. 17 and features 17 fun events across the country throughout the summer. For more information and a complete listing of featured events, go to visitloudoun.org/summeroflove.
Hillsboro’s Woodstock in the Gap kicks off with Dinner Under the Stars with author Marc Leepson Friday, June 7 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.. Tickets are $40 in advance, $50 after May 28. The free festival Saturday, June 8 starts with yoga on the green at 10 a.m., followed by a family fun fair at 2 p.m. and a free concert from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. The festival takes place at the Hillsboro Old Stone School, 37098 Charles Town Pike, Hillsboro. For more information, go to oldstoneschool.org