Camptown History

Newspaper Clipping from 1953 Horse Race

The Beginning

The “Camptown Races” were held on Meadow Farm near Doswell, VA. from 1953 until 1958.The races were began to raise money for the Ashland War Memorial Association. Dick Gillis, the mayor of Ashland at the time, suggested the name “Camptown Races” in honor of the popular Stephen Foster song. Over time, the Camptown Races spawned the Varina and Goochland races, creating a sort of Virginia Triple Crown.  - Virginia Historical Records
Group of Musicians Playing at RMC

Moving to Campus

When the races ended at Doswell, the students of Randolph-Macon College brought the celebration to the campus in Ashland, VA.  Camptown carries with it many fond memories for alumni and friends of the College. 

For many years the celebration continued eventually morphing into Earth Day celebrations and then into Spring Fest.  Eventually the festivities stopped, leaving a void in the life of the College. - Do You Recognize Anyone in This Photo?

Old Photo of a Large Crowd of Students Sitting on Grass and Listening to Musicians

The Renaissance

The re-birth of Camptown came during the summer of 2012.  The Office of Student Life, working with the Student Government Association and the (then) Campus Events Committee, discussed the possibility of a large spring event for students.  Camptown, naturally, came to mind and a committee was formed to bring this beloved tradition back to Randolph-Macon College.



The Commons Activities Board, Student Government Association, and the Office of Student Life partner to produce this celebration of spring and of life at R-MC.  We hope that students, faculty, staff, alumni, community members, and friends of the College will join us to celebrate Randolph-Macon College and the world!