I’m headed down to Southside today for the Shad Planking. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the event, Jonathan Martin‘s 2006 writeup sums it up best:
WAKEFIELD, VA — As it does every third Wednesday in April, VA’s political epicenter moved 40 miles east from Richmond to the piney woods outside of this small town yesterday. Known more for its free libations and easy access to many of the commonwealth’s most prominent pols than the nearly-inedible fish that gives the event its name, the Shad Planking is the can’t-miss rite of VA’s political spring. Part political festival, part booze fest, the gathering draws candidates, would-be candidates, past candidates and the junkies who love em all — and love the free draft beer they hand out even more.
Now in its 58th year, the Ruritan-sponsored soiree has changed some over the years — most conservative Dems have become conservative GOPers, blacks and women are now welcome and, perhaps more amazingly, Northern VA’ians are, too. Yet in many ways, it retains the same gossipy, back-slapping character it has had since they nailed the first freshly-caught, migrating shad to a board and cooked it over an open fire amid the peanut fields of Southside VA. Candidates shake hands, activists from all parts bend their ear, staffers pour cold ones in campaign cups and the locals ignore the hoopla for the fish, cole slaw and cornbread.
I’ll have pictures and a writeup tomorrow.