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Virginia Festivals

Updated on August 18, 2010

Festivals in the Commonwealth of Virginia

Virginia food, music, art, crafts, regional, lifestyle, holiday festivals and more.

When planning for a Virginia festival it is a good idea to pack a few items even if you don't expect to need them. Items to bring include lightweight collapsible chairs, layered clothes, sunglasses, sun block, sunglasses, hats, water, ice, snacks and a camera. Virginia weather can change suddenly and is not predictable, so having more than you expect can save the day if rain or wind sets in.

When attending a festival for the first time, the best way to learn about what to expect is to read about past events, check reviews of festivals or other first hand accounts of past experiences. Some festival enthusiasts will have a network of friends that can share information.

Nearly all festivals offer at least some shopping opportunities. Many events will have a large selection of crafters and other vendors. As the festival season enters Autumn, festivals offer more and more items related to Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukah, Kwanza, Christmas and other celebrations.

Virginia Music Festivals

Norfolk Jazz Festival

Held in Town Point Park over 2 days, this is the region's longest running outdoor jazz festival. The festival recruits nationally known artists as well as a selection of local and regional jazz favorites.

Hampton Jazz Festival

The Hampton Jazz Festival is held each year during the last full weekend in June. Festival organizers evaluate available jazz, R&B and blues artists that are on tour during the time of the festival, bringing in the best musicians possible. Held in the Hampton Coliseum, the venue is highly respected by Hampton residents and visitors.

Norfolk Latino Music Festival

This festival features the largest outdoor dance floor in Hampton Roads filled with salsa, merengue, and guaguanco dancing and live music by local, regional, and national Latin recording artists.

Virginia Food and Drink Festivals

Virginia Wine Festival

The Virginia Wine Festival is an annual event that no wine lover should miss. Each year, thousands of wine lovers flock to the banks of the Elizabeth River in downtown Norfolk, Virginia to enjoy this festival. The event has music, gourmet foods, specialty wares, and samplings of newly released vintages and past favorites from Virginia's premier wine-makers. Wineries from across the state offer chardonnays, merlots, cabernets and other fine wines. Wines presented during the festival are available for purchase by the bottle or the case throughout the day.

Summer Celebration Wine Festival

The Summer Celebration Wine Festival provides a variety of live music and entertainment, wine tastings, unique vendors and historical interpretation all wrapped up in an elegant, one-day show. The event is held in Newport News on the stately historic grounds of Lee Hall Mansion which is a Garden Club of Virginia site and on the National Register of Historic Places.

Chesapeake Wine Festival

The Chesapeake Wine Festival attracts a very large and affluent audience from Chesapeake and beyond. Thousands gather to enjoy wines from Virginia’s wineries and other regions. Also featured are foods from the regions best restaurants, live music and wine seminars.

Virginia Beer Festival

This festival celebrates the fine art of beer making. The event features live music, food, and beers from Europe and America. The Virginia Beer Festival is often held in the Town Point Park at Norfolk's Waterside.

Pungo Strawberry Festival

Every year the Pungo Strawberry Festival is held in Virginia Beach on Memorial Day weekend. Not only does the Festival have all the strawberries you can eat offered in over 50 different ways, but also a wide variety of events, including a pie eating contest, strawberry bake-off, continuous entertainment on three stages, a parade, one of the largest carnivals on the east coast, livestock show and sale, a multi-million dollar military display, pig races, youth art show, and some of the most unique arts and crafts exhibited anywhere. For more information, visit www.pungostrawberryfestival.info

Watermelon Festival

With over 115,000 people attending, the Watermelon Festival has become the largest one day festival in Virginia. There are 10 live music areas, a huge kids area and of course locally grown watermelon! Festival enthusiasts will want to visit the Watermelon Festival in Carytown, Virginia. For more information, visit www.carytownrva.org

Bayou Boogaloo & Cajun Food Festival

The Bayou Boogaloo & Cajun Food Festival is Norfolk's annual New Orleans' and Bayou culture festival. This 3-day summer festival delivers the heart and soul of Louisiana to visitors to Town Point Park in true Cajun and Creole style.

Suffolk Peanut Fest

Suffolk Peanut Fest offers concerts, amusement rides, contests and competitions, a demolition derby, a truck and tractor pull, motorcycle rally, fireworks, as well as local and national entertainment. The event has been featured in numerous magazines, including Virginia Business, Southern Living, The Southern Farmers Almanac, Best Festivals-Mid Atlantic and others.

Cape Charles Harvest Festival

The Harvest Festival is held near Cape Charles Virginia. Enthusiasts celebrate the Eastern Shore's harvests of produce and seafood. The event features all-you-can-eat soft shell crabs, shrimp, crab cakes, sweet potato pie, fried green tomatoes and more in a beautiful waterfront setting. Includes a tent full of local art to enjoy and take home.

Eastern Shore of Virginia Seafood Festival

The mother of all Virginia seafood feasts! This event serves oysters, clams, scallops and fresh fish served all-you-can-eat treat at Tom's Cove Campground on Chincoteague Island.

Chincoteague Blueberry Festival

This event has fresh blueberries in every yummy creation possible. Over 115 crafters and artists display their products at the Eastern Shore's largest fine arts & craft event.

Chincoteague Island Oyster Festival

This festival has a very loyal following. All-you-can-eat food includes oysters on the half shell, steamed, single fried, fritters, clam chowder, clam fritters, steamed crabs, cole slaw, potato salad, hush puppies, hot dogs and drinks.

Urbanna Oyster Festival

The Annual Urbanna Oyster Festival is sponsored by the Urbanna Oyster Festival Foundation, a non-profit organization. Crowds for the two-day event number nearly 75,000. The event has over 125 food and craft booths and the Fireman's Parade features over 80 engines of every size and description.

Virginia Art Festivals

Virginia Arts Festival

Begun in 1997 as a way to promote tourism, this spring festival showcases artists from around the world as well as the Virginia's best professional artists. The arry of performances include of music, theatre and dance. Festival events are held in eight cities across Hampton Roads in concert halls, performing arts centers, opera houses, theatres, museums, outdoor stages, and historic churches.

The Virginia Beach Boardwalk Art Show & Festival

The Virginia Beach Boardwalk Art Show & Festival is one of the Commonwealth's most highly anticipated events. Attendance often exceeds 350,000 visitors and art sales can surpass $2 million annually. The event has been ranked in the top 50 best fine art & design shows in the nation by Sunshine artist magazine. Prize money for artist awards reached over $30,000 in 2008, a milestone which has attracted high-caliber artists and art collectors since.

Annual Ocean View Art Show

The Chesapeake Bay Art Association sponsors this show every year and it is largest and oldest artist run show in Hampton Roads, Virginia. Held in October which allows enthusiasts to enjoy the nice fall weather, the show has entertainment for the whole family, food vendors and more.

Chincoteague Island Decoy Art Festival and Auction

This spring festival features over 100 regional and national carvers competing and selling their artisan wares. The event also includes an auction and awards for best in show.

Newport News Fall Festival of Folklife

The Newport News Fall Festival of Folklife is held in Newport News Park annually. This is Southeast Virginia's biggest traditional craft show. The event features over 200 vendors, crafts, trades, entertainment, foods and children's activities.

Eastern Shore Festivals

The Chincoteague Island Virginia Oyster Festival is another island attraction. The festival, created by the chamber of commerce, features Chincoteague Island's famous oysters. The event promotes the oyster season, which includes the cooler months of fall, winter and spring. The popularity of the event may require obtaining tickets well in advance as the festival often sells out.

The Commonwealth of Virginia

The Commonwealth of Virginia is an American state on the Atlantic Coast of the USA. Virginia is known as the "Old Dominion" and sometimes as "Mother of Presidents", because it is the birthplace of eight U.S. presidents.

The capital of the commonwealth is Richmond. The most populated city is Virginia Beach and Fairfax County is the most populated county. The total population of Virginia is nearly eight million.

History

The founding of the Virginia Colony in 1607 by the Virginia Company of London was the first permanent New World English colony. Virginia was one of the Thirteen Colonies in the American Revolution and joined the Confederacy in the American Civil War, during which the state of West Virginia separated.

Virginia's economy relies on agriculture, federal agencies, military bases, media and technology. Computer chips are said to be the state's leading export, with the industry supported by a strong system public schools and universities.

fly fishing
fly fishing

Nature Related Festivals

Virginia Fly Fishing Festival

The Virginia Fly Fishing Festival is held outside each spring on the banks of the South River in Waynesboro, Virginia. The Fishing Festival draws anglers from across the Mid-Atlantic with nonstop free lectures and tips on where, when, and how to fly fish in the Old Dominion and across the globe as well as wine-tasting and live music. The festival is a one-stop shop for gear, expert advice, and even instruction. It is the largest fly fishing event in Virginia.

Reader Feedback

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    • Sojournstar Media profile image

      Angela Hobbs 

      5 years ago from The TARDIS

      I live in Richmond, how about you?

    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 

      9 years ago from Royalton

      Virginia sounds like it's a great place to go for a festival.

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