Each year, Tidewater Virginia has an exciting program of festivals and other public events. The following is a list of some of the more popular festivals that run from the spring through the holiday season.
The Virginia Arts Festival
Started in 1997 as a way to promote tourism, this spring festival showcases artists from around the world, as well as Virginia’s top professional performers. A variety of performances will include exhibitions of music, theater, and dance. Festival events are held in eight towns on the Hampton Roads in concert halls, performing arts centers, opera houses, theaters, museums, open-air stages, and historic churches.
The North American Sand Soccer Championship
The North American Sand Soccer Championship is held annually in Virginia Beach in early June. In between games, players and spectators mingle on the beach. Often, street vendors attend the sale of food and art on the boardwalk during the event. The teams for this event are a mix of adults, teens, and small children. There are all-male teams, all-female teams, and mixed teams that make up each division. A pro division includes a team from the United States as well as from other countries.
The Norfolk Jazz Festival
This is the longest running open-air jazz festival in the region. The festival invites nationally known artists as well as some of the best jazz musicians from the area.
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 exceed $2 million annually. The event has been ranked in the top 50 best art and design shows in the nation by Sunshine Artist magazine. Artists’ prize money reached more than $30,000 in 2008, a milestone that has since attracted leading artists and art collectors.
The Hampton Jazz Festival
The Hampton Jazz Festival is held every year during the last full weekend of June. Festival organisers evaluate available jazz, R&B, and blues artists touring during the festival and bring in the best musicians possible. Hampton Roads residents and tourists have a lot of respect for the Hampton Coliseum, where the event is held.
Cajun Food Festival & Bayou Boogaloo
The Bayou Boogaloo & Cajun Food Festival is the annual cultural festival of New Orleans and Bayou in Norfolk. This three-day summer festival brings visitors to Town Point Park to experience the heart and soul of Louisiana in true Cajun and Creole style.
Latino Music Festival in Norfolk
This August’s festival features the largest outdoor dance floor in Hampton Roads, filled with salsa, merengue, and guaguanco dancing and live music from local, regional, and national Latin artists.
Neptunus Festival in Virginia Beach
The famous Virginia Beach Neptune Festival runs all spring and summer, ending with Boardwalk Weekend. The award-winning festival began in 1973 and, over the years, has grown into the city’s biggest event and one of the most successful festivals on the East Coast. It is still recognised as one of the top 100 celebrations in the nation and one of the top festivals in Virginia. Events will be held on the Virginia Beach Oceanfront Boardwalk between 1st and 32nd Sts.
Suffolk ‘Peanut Fest’
Suffolk Peanut Fest features concerts, amusement rides, contests and competitions, a demolition derby, truck and tractor pull, motorcycle rally, and fireworks, as well as local and national entertainment. Many magazines, such as Virginia Business, Southern Living, The Southern Farmers Almanac, Best Festivals-Mid Atlantic, and others, have written about the event.
Newport News Autumn Festival of Folk Life
The Newport News Fall Festival of Folklife is held annually in Newport News Park. This is the largest traditional craft show in Southeast Virginia. The event features over 200 vendors; arts and crafts; entertainment; food; and kids’ activities.
Holiday in the City
Holidays in the City celebrates 25 years with six weeks of magical festivities, celebrating the holidays of Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s Eve. The festivities end in November with the Grand Illumination of the downtown skyline. The highlight is the annual Grand Illumination Parade, where floats, brass bands, giant balloons, dancers, and Santa Claus himself parade through downtown Norfolk.