"Shad Planking" Top 5 Page for this destination Virginia Local Custom Tip by b1bob

Virginia Local Customs: 89 reviews and 177 photos

  shad slowly smoked on planks of wood
by b1bob
 
  • shad slowly smoked on planks of wood - Virginia
      shad slowly smoked on planks of wood
    by b1bob
  • shad with corn muffins and pickles - Virginia
      shad with corn muffins and pickles
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  • Wakefield Sportsmens Club: site of the shad planki - Virginia
      Wakefield Sportsmens Club: site of the shad planki
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  • live entertainment - Virginia
      live entertainment
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  • laughin' & drinkin' at the Shad Planking 19.4.2006 - Virginia
      laughin' & drinkin' at the Shad Planking 19.4.2006
    by b1bob
 

This longstanding Virginia custom was built on two foundations: politics and fish. The Shad Planking, named for the oily fish that are slowly smoked on planks of wood, began more than 60 years ago in Smithfield as a way to welcome the shad fishing season on the James River. Not long after that, it kicked off the spring political season. The festival was taken over by the Wakefield Ruritan Club (in Sussex County, an hour southeast of Richmond) in 1949 and happens the third Wednesday of every April. The state and the tradition have evolved since the beginning. It was originally a place for the state's powerful white Democrat men to get together and talk politics. However, by the early 1970s, a few Republicans began to attend, and, eventually, so did women and minorities. After all my years in Virginia, you would think I would have gone to this very Virginia ritual long before 2006. However, the first time, I went with my friends Adam and Will to help out a candidate for U.S. Senate. The weather on 19 April 2006 was ideal for the event: sunny and not too hot nor too cold. I will certainly come back for the music and the political reunion, but the oily, bony guest of honour is a taste I have not yet acquired. Next year, my friends and I will pack our lunch in a picnic basket and have a tailgate party.

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  • Updated Jun 17, 2006
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