The annual event showcases the long tradition of fox hunting in the DMV.

Fox hunting has a long history in the mid-Atlantic, coming over with the colonists in the 1600s. The sport is as elaborate as it is synchronized, composed of hunters on horseback, hounds, and of course, a fox.

In its origins, a successful hunt ended with the demise of a fox, but nowadays, the fox lives to see another day. The hunt is a visual art form for both the participants and the spectators. Riders wear traditional red and black riding garb and follow a pack of hounds through the countryside. Hunting clubs throughout Maryland and Virginia hold hunts in fall and spring. 

It’s hard to take part in a fox hunt if you aren’t a member of a hunt club. But there is a way for you to experience the hunting culture by visiting the hunt country capital—Middleburg, Virginia. Each year the town celebrates the sport during its annual Christmas in Middleburg festival. The all-day event includes a procession of hunters and hounds, a Christmas parade, children’s activities, a craft fair, and more.

This year’s Christmas in Middleburg takes place on Saturday, December 7, 2019. The festival day starts at 8 a.m. with Breakfast with Santa. After breakfast, guests can visit with Santa or stroll through the craft fair. Line up on Washington Street with some hot chocolate to wait for the Hunt and Hounds Review, which will begin promptly at 11 a.m. Members of a local hunt club will ride down the street in their finest, accompanied by a pack of hounds. The fun continues at 2 p.m. with the Christmas parade.

Christmas Parade in Middleburg

Courtesy Christmas in Middleburg, Facebook

Middleburg is located about an hour and a half from Washington, D.C. The quaint village is home to a historic downtown area filled with shops, restaurants, equestrian boutiques, and cute bed and breakfasts. If you plan to drive in for the festival, plan to get there early, and reserve parking ahead of time. A full schedule of events for Christmas in Middleburg is available at christmasatmiddleburg.org

Have you been to Middleburg before? Have you gone fox hunting? Tell us in the comments!