The Shad Planking traces its origin to the early 1930s, when a group of friends gathered together at Wrenn’s Mill in Isle of Wight County during the spring running of the shad in the James River. They planked and smoked the fish in the traditional style of native Virginians, and they talked politics in the tradition of their fathers before them.
As the tradition grew, the Wakefield Ruritan Club assumed ownership of the event in 1949. Generations of Virginia politicians have attended and addressed the Shad Planking gathering. It is truly a unique assembly of the varying views of the people and politics of Virginia.
2016 marks the premier of the Grapes & Grains Festival, which will be held in conjunction with the Shad Planking. The newest iteration of the Shad Planking will seamlessly marry politics, agriculture, the wine industry, and Virginia commerce in a way that no other event in Virginia can do. Attendees will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite candidates in the Shad Planking Presidential Straw Poll and the Best Virginia Wine competition. One aspect that remains unchanged is that all profits from the event will benefit Wakefield area charities and community organizations. Tickets are $25 if purchased before the event; $30 at the gate, and are available now on the brand-new website shadplanking.com.