Southern Gap Elk Fest happening in Grundy, Va – Oct 14-17

Looking for a unique fall activity that gets you outside and closer to nature? How about one that also celebrates Virginia’s elk and authentic mountain heritage? Happening at the Southern Gap Visitor Center in Grundy, Va, The Southern Gap Elk Festival will be packed with outdoor activities for everyone from families with kids, nature photographers, wildlife enthusiasts/conservationists, thrill-seekers, and more! If any of the following activities interest you, keep reading about this uniquely Virginian festival:

  • A wild game dinner
  • A free premiere showing of a mini-documentary on the Buchanan County elk restoration project
  • Guided elk tours
  • Wildlife photography class and contest
  • Bonfire storytelling
  • Running with the elk race
  • 3D archery
  • Turkey calling
  • Elk bugling competitions
  • A mountain arts showcase
  • Music
  • ATV/UTV night ride
  • and more!

All of the events will be held at the Southern Gap Visitor Center and in the surrounding community and will uphold social distancing / COVID safety guidelines. There is lodging and camping available on-site, as well as in the nearby town of Grundy.  

Hosted by Buchanan County Tourism, the Southern Gap Visitor Center, Southern Gap Outdoor Adventure, SWVA Sportsmen, and the SWVA Coalfields Chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, this four-day festival offers free admission to daily events. Special events that require a fee include the guided elk viewing and the wild game dinner that will be hosted by the Buchanan County Chamber of Commerce. Tickets are limited and are on sale now through the chamber, or at Southern Gap Outdoor Adventure.

Wednesday, October 14

Dinner attendees will have the opportunity to sample wild game foods including deer, elk and bear, among other wild game. Additional sides and desserts will also be featured.  See ticket pricing below:

  • $20 for adults
  • $15 for children

After you enjoy the mountain authenticity of the dinner , the free premiere of “The Elk of Southern Gap,” begins. This newly-produced mini-documentary covers the Buchanan County elk restoration project that just in the last 5 years have gained the Buchanan County herd approximately 75 elk.

The evening will wind down with a presentation by the Department of Wildlife Resources and a live auction hosted by the Southwestern Virginia Coalfields Chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. You will be heading to your sleeping bag (or bed) with nothing but elk dancing around in your head!

Thursday, October 15

Sandy Shortridge-Weekley will be kicking off day 2 with music and storytelling during the regularly scheduled Southern Gap Sessions event at the visitor center.

Friday and Saturday, October 16 and 17

The festival will be in full swing by the weekend with food trucks, arts & crafts vendors, and activities all day long including:

  • Wildlife photography class and contest
  • 3D archery
  • Running with the Elk race
  • Taxidermy competition
  • Guided elk tours
  • ATV riding
  • Mud bog
  • Rally course events
  • Local arts and crafts
  • Bugling
  • Turkey call competitions featuring youth and adult divisions
  • Bonfire story-telling
  • Stargazing
  • A kids zone event hosted by the Boys and Girls Club of Central Appalachia
  • A second showing of “The Elk of Southern Gap” mini-documentary (Saturday)

The festival will finish strong with an awards ceremony recognizing winners from all the various competitions held throughout the festival and live music!

Make the most of your fall and go outside and play at this unique fall festival that in celebrating the elk and mountain heritage, celebrates some of the many things that makes Virginia so special.

For festival updates, follow @WildBuchanan on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, or log onto

Places to Go, Things to See: