Each year, Tidewater Virginia has an exciting schedule of festivals and other public events. The following is a list of some of the more popular festivals which run from Spring through the holiday season.
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. A variety of performances include exhibitions 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.
North American Sand Soccer Championship
The North American Sand Soccer Championship, held annually in Virginia Beach in early June. Between games, players and spectators, mingle and relax on the the beach. Often during the event, street vendors attend selling foods and art on the boardwalk. Teams for this event are a mix of adults, teenagers, and small children. There are all-male teams, all-female teams, and coed teams that make up each division. A pro division includes a team from the United States as well as from other countries.
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.
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.
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 Roads residents and visitors.
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.
Norfolk Latino Music Festival
This August 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 Beach Neptune Festival
The famous Virginia Beach Neptune Festival runs throughout the spring and summer, and concluding on Boardwalk Weekend. The award winning festival began in 1973 and has blossomed over the years into the city’s largest event and one of the most successful festivals on the East Coast. It continues to be recognized among the top 100 celebrations in the nation and one of the top festivals in Virginia. Events are held on the Virginia Beach Oceanfront Boardwalk between 1st & 32nd Sts.
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.
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.
Holidays in the City
Holidays in the City celebrates 25 years with six weeks of magical festivities, saluting the holidays of Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa and New Year’s Eve. The festivities in late November with the Grand Illumination of the downtown skyline. The highlight is the annual Grand Illumination Parade where floats, marching bands, giant balloons, dancers and Santa himself parade through downtown Norfolk.