CLIFTON FORGE — The Virginia Opry made its debut on October 17, 1992, on stage in the Historic Stonewall Theatre, renamed The Historic Masonic Theatre in 2003 after the founder of the Opry, Appalfolks of America Association, donated the theatre to the town of Clifton Forge.
On March 31, 2020, Gov. Ralph S. Northam signed “Senate Bill 283” that designates The Virginia Opry as the Commonwealth of Virginia’s official Opry after the bill that Sen. R. Creigh Deeds introduced in January of 2020 passed the Virginia Senate 40-0 and the Virginia House of Delegates by a 93-6 vote.
During the 28 years between The Virginia Opry’s debut and “Senate Bill 283” being passed, The Virginia Opry had performed family-oriented country music shows at the following venues other than The Historic Masonic Theatre: Washington & Lee University, The Farm at Glen Haven, Masonic Amphitheatre and the Buckhorne Country Store and Campground’s Buckhorne Stage.
Also, during those years, The Virginia Opry featured the following prominent entertainers and groups as guest performers: Dan Seals, Keith Bryant, Glen Shelton, The Farm Hands, The Freight Hoppers, Darrell Webb Band, Michael Hoover and his Sweetwater Band, Bob Campbell and the Coachmen, and Robbie Meadows and his Pony Express Band.
Additionally, many local bands and guest performers have performed on stage as part of The Virginia Opry that is currently being sponsored by Hunt Brothers Pizza of Lexington, Kentucky for The Virginia Opry’s second consecutive season.
Currently, The Virginia Opry has inducted 41 members who comprise nine bands, and Bill Pinkney’s Original Drifters along with Alfred “Mustard” Dearing, Sr. will be inducted in February of 2022. Bill Pinkney’s Original Drifters have been scheduled to perform at The Historic Masonic Theatre on Saturday, February 5, 2022.
The Golden Triangle of Country Music will be formed by creating a triangle of venues that promote country music, namely Natural Bridge Historic Hotel, Berglund Center, and venues in the Alleghany Highlands. Clifton Forge the northern point of the Triangle is 55 miles from Natural Bridge and 45 miles from the Berglund Center.
Natural Bridge Historic Hotel (est. 1906) has officially designated the hotel as the Resort Performance Home of The Virginia Opry, and prior to COVID-19 in 2020, management at the Berglund Center was on board with forming the southern point of the Triangle where the Roanoke Fiddle and Banjo Club could be reestablished.
The Virginia Opry’s first show at its new Resort Performance Home is Friday, October 15, 2021, featuring Michael Hoover, Denise Glass and Glen Shelton presenting “Memories of Elvis.” WKEY Radio Station has been the Radio Home of The Virginia Opry since May 2019.