AUGUSTA COUNTY -- To the chamber of commerce in Augusta County, agritourism is a bountiful harvest just waiting to be reaped.
Today the Greater Augusta Regional Chamber of Commerce announced a new push for agritourism in the valley.
"We need to appreciate what we have right in our backdoor," said Linda Hershey, president and CEO of the Chamber.
Hershey said she wants to see the Shenandoah Valley become an agritourism destination, celebrating the area's farm heritage.
"You would be surprised at the children who have never seen a cow, much less had the opportunity to milk a cow, or just to see farm animals and be able to touch them - a very special moment when that takes place," she said.
She hopes the push will help draw in people from outside the area.
"We want to make sure that not only our local residents know about these products and services, but that Virginians and all those traveling through the area can take advantage of those products and of our opportunities that are related to our roots of the valley," she said.
And because Augusta County is the No. 2 agriculture-based county in the commonwealth, Hershey said being an agritourism destination could be huge for the area.
"It's good for the hotels, it's good for the restaurants, it's good for the retail stores," she said. "It just puts us on the map as a place to bring your family and enjoy a really nice weekend."
As part of the Chamber's push, they have added a "Farming in the Valley" feature to the Good Times, Tastes and Traditions festival next month - giving local ag-related businesses the opportunity to set up shop.
"They really have never had an opportunity to have a venue where they can showcase their products and services that are ag-related," Hershey said. "And the farms on the American side of the Frontier Culture Museum give them this great opportunity."
The Good Times, Tastes and Traditions festival will be held on September 21 and 22 at the Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton.
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