Going downtown may be a great stress reliever for students returning to class.

With students coming back from winter break and the second semester starting, this time of year can seem quite stressful for many. Throughout January, the city of Harrisonburg holds events ranging from wine tastings to plays that are perfect for students and great for people who want to get to know the town.

Sip & Style: Wine Lover Edition — Jan. 31, 6-8 p.m.

Sip and Style is a way to get creative with friends while enjoying wine. Participants pick which wooden sign they want to decorate and get to choose a color scheme. Each sign has a different saying on it, such as “home is where the wine is” or “bottled up.” This will be held at Bluestone Vineyard and costs $25-$30 depending on which sign one paints with a $3.46 participation fee.

Tom Tom’s Silent Disco — Jan. 31, 10 p.m.-1 a.m.  

Tom Tom’s first traveling disco will be held at Palefire Brewing Company with DJs Ryan Clark, Double U and Flatline. This is an event for those 21 and older where audience members will put on a wireless headset and choose between stations of hip hop, house and pop all hosted by the DJs. Tickets in advance are $15, and those who purchase at the door cost $20. Wearing purple attire to show your JMU spirit is encouraged.

Fab Lab 2020 — Jan. 24, 3-6 p.m.

This event is put on by JMU X Labs on Port Republic Road and will feature many workshops and do-it-yourself events. Fab Lab is an event that was started in order to increase women’s interest in technology. The first Fab Lab was in 2018 with a main goal of increasing female involvement. New to the Fab Lab this year are activities such as custom event T-shirt making, zodiac coaster creating, DIY laser cut earrings and tarot card readings. This event and the materials are all free, but spots must be reserved in advance.

Charity Drag Brunch and Bingo! — Jan. 18, 1-3 p.m. with seating at 12 p.m.

The Charity Drag Brunch and Bingo will be hosted by Rhinestone Productions at Capital Ale House. All of the showcast favorites will be present, and all proceeds and donations will go to Rhinestone Productions’ charity of the month, which will be announced soon. Tickets are $5 and don’t include the price of brunch.

Horizons Edge Sports Campus Grand Opening — Jan. 18, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Horizons Edge Sports Campus is a rec center located on Cornerstone Ln. It’ll be hosting its grand opening with an all-day-long event. The day will include free games, sports, demonstrations, food and music. The official ribbon cutting will happen at noon and will have appearances by Harrisonburg and Rockingham County government representatives. Adult indoor soccer, basketball and volleyball will begin at 1 p.m. The event is free, and anyone is welcome to attend.

“Walls, an American Story” — Jan. 17-19

The original idea for this play came from JMU alumnus Paul Holland and was written by JMU associate professor of theatre, Ingrid De Sanctis. It tells the story of newly-weds Abigail and Carver, who receive a DNA test as a wedding gift. Throughout the play, they grapple with what it means to marry someone of a different race and how it relates to their own identities. This world premiere includes sections by the 2018 advanced playwright class and performances by students from the School of Theatre and Dance. Tickets are $16 for general admission, $14 for subscribers, $15 for JMU faculty and staff, $15 for seniors and $12 for students.

Virginia Prostart Culinary Bootcamp — Jan. 31, 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m. 

The VA Prostart Culinary Bootcamp will be held in JMU’s Godwin Hall. This program is made for students and teachers from all over Virginia who want to gain more knowledge about cooking. The sessions encourage learning and collaboration and will be based on the foundational skills necessary for success in the Prostart curriculum which gives an introduction to the culinary and business sides of the cooking business. All of the sessions are free, but there’s a $5 admission fee.

Tromblow’in Trombone Workshop — Jan. 18, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. 

This is the 12th installment of the Tromblow’in workshop at JMU’s Forbes Center for the Performing Arts. The day will be filled with clinics, group performances, short recitals and instructional workshops, and this year, it’ll feature international trombonist Carol Jarvis who has played in many orchestras in the UK and abroad. She is also a keyboard player, arranger, musical director, professor and journalist.  The workshop has a little bit of everything for all types of players. At the end of the day, the workshop will feature a concert with Jarvis, Mr. Jefferson’s Bones, the JMU Trombone Choir and a finale mass trombone choir that will have over 100 players in it. Players and singers of all skill levels are welcome to attend this free event.

“Little Women the Musical” — Jan. 24-26

The Eastern Mennonite School will be hosting the Broadway adaptation of “Little Women” with evening performances on Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and a matinee on Sunday at 3 p.m. There will also be an open dress rehearsal on Thursday night at 7 p.m. “Little Women” focuses on the lives of the March sisters — Jo, the writer, traditional Meg, timid Beth and romantic Amy — and their “Marmie” who live in Concord, Massachusetts while their dad is away fighting for the Union army in the Civil War.  The play is showing at the Eastern Mennonite School on Parkwood Dr. in the auditorium. Tickets will be $15 for a reserved spot, $12 for general admission and $10 for students and senior citizens.

Winter Festivus 2020 — Jan. 25, 3-11 p.m.

More details are coming, but Winter Festivus 2020 will feature fresh beer, music and food at the Friendly Fermenter. The Friendly Fermenter is Harrisonburg’s first on-site homebrew shop and nanobrewery, so everyone can count on making beer and tasting some, too. 

Contact Morgan Vuknic at For more on the culture, arts, and lifestyle of the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the culture desk on Twitter @Breeze_Culture.