Norfolk plays host to a plenty of extraordinary festivals and special events, providing entertaining, culturally enriched experiences for individuals and families alike. Many of these “signature” events draw thousands of visitors annually from across the world. Check out some of our favorite early spring and summer festivals!
VA International Tattoo, Scope Arena
It’s no secret Norfolk has a serious appreciation for our military; after all, Norfolk is home to the largest naval base in the world. In 1997 Virginia Arts Festival presented the city with what has now become a staple to Norfolk’s performing arts scene; The Virginia International Tattoo Festival. This once a year spectacular showcases inspirational military music, majestic massed pipes and drums, show-stopping drill team maneuvers, and hundreds of international performers! This display of Military talent is incomparable to any other event in the USA, so grab your tickets and I promise you will be astounded!
Virginia Beer Festival, Town Point Park
Did you know USA Today has named the Virginia Beer Festival one of the “Best Beer Festivals” in the country? Well now you do – how exciting! So let’s take a closer look at what makes this festival stand out. Situated at beautiful Town Point Park, the weekend festival features over 150 different types of your favorite IPAs, ales, ciders, sours, pilsners, lagers and stouts, just to name a few. Once you have that cold brew in hand, enjoy the live music as you plan your strategy for the next beer. And as any good festival knows, with beer, you must have food – good food – and the culinary selection from local restaurants, food trucks and chefs will be sure to satisfy those munchies. Once you have your fill of beer and food (pretzel necklaces to be exact), attend an on-site brew school seminar or stop by the tent dedicated to helping you learn how to brew your own beer at home – how many beer festivals can say that? To find out what other surprises and events await, you will just need to stop by for yourself.
Virginia Wine Festival, Town Point Park
Winter is over, the bees are buzzing and the locals are sipping; sipping their way through Wine Fest that is! What better way to spring into summer than with an all weekend event of sampling two-hundred plus Virginia vintages with the Elizabeth River as your backdrop. I’ll let you in on a local’s secret, pack yourself a picnic and attend the festival on Sunday; you’ll avoid the long lines. So sip, swirl, and enjoy the extraordinary taste of Virginia grapes! Click here to see our events calendar for spring and fall dates.
Stockley Gardens Arts Festival, Stockley Gardens
Nestled in the heart of Ghent, one of Norfolk’s most beloved neighborhoods lives Stockley Garden. This strip of land is home to the regionally famous Stockley Gardens Art Festival. This festival is free to the public and occurs twice yearly, featuring all medians of art imaginable! This one of a kind arts festival showcases true masterpieces of local talented artists, offers two dollar Cogan’s Pizza slices (arguably amongst the best pizza in town) and even encourages strollers and your furry best friend to tag along! The money raised contributes directly to housing, transportation, and medical care for those with developmental disabilities. Click here to see our events calendar for spring and fall dates.
Harborfest, Town Point Park
Tis’ the season for fireworks, boating & all things outside! Harborfest has become a must-attend event in Norfolk, this weekend is completely going to transform your expectations of a summer festival. I challenge you to complete every activity, see every show, eat all the food, tour every tall ship, see the real live mermaids, and watch every firework explode into color. The endless activities will keep you begging to come back!
Pride Fest, Throughout Norfolk
PrideFest has become a staple to Norfolk’s festival scene for over 30 years, making our city more dynamic, diverse and distinct than ever! This vibrant festival had a humble beginning at Lakewood Park, and has now grown into THE HOTTEST event of the summer! Pride Week starts on June 27 with events ranging from block parties to a night of dancing and LGBTini’s at the Chrysler Museum of Art to beer specials at O’Connors, rollerskating at MacArthur, live music and so much more. These events all lead up to the big day of Pride at Town Point Park!
Fourth of July Great American Picnic, Town Point Park
What better place to celebrate Independence Day than in the heart of Norfolk, just a stone throws away from where Christopher Columbus discovered our country! Town Point Park will offer American fare; hot dogs, hamburgers, barbecue, seafood, buttered corn on the cob, juicy watermelon, and lemonade! Fill up your plates, sit back and relax as you watch the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command Band kick off the holiday celebrations. Stick around until 9:30 for a spectacular fireworks display just over the Elizabeth River!
Norfolk Waterfront Jazz Festival, Town Point Park
Pull up your lawn chair to the longest running Jazz Festival in Hampton Roads! Chill on Norfolk’s waterfront while indulging in the tunes of sweet smooth Jazz and R&B. Jazz is arguably the truest art form of America, so let these talented musicians transform you into the era of the 1900’s. And don’t forget to snack, drink & shop at the festival’s marketplace!
Latino Music Festival, Town Point Park
Every summer Town Point Park transforms into one giant dance floor. We encourage you to grab your favorite dance partner and join us for an evening of the hottest salsa, meringue, and guaguanco dancing the East Coast has ever seen. Live explosive Latin music by local, regional and national recording artists will fill the park and have your feet dancing all night long. This cultural event will not only showcase contagious Latin beats but it will also deliver the best Latin cuisine Norfolk has to offer.
Bayou Boogaloo, Town Point Park
We’re bringing a taste of Louisiana to Norfolk, literally, more than 8,000 pounds of Cajun crawfish will be at your fingertips! Always wanted to visit Cajun country or just simply miss good ole Louisiana cooking? Then come eat your way through Town Point Park at the Bayou Boogaloo. From po’ boys to alligator sausages and all the beignets in between this foodie festival will be sure to satisfy your Cajun craves. Give your taste buds a quick break and take a ride on the 19th-century replica of a Mississippi paddle wheeler or possibly stop by Paddy’O’s for a frosted version of New Orleans famous Hurricane cocktail. Jam out to one of the many southern performers or admire the incredible artwork presented by the Louisiana craftsmen and I’m positive you’ll feel like you’re in New Orleans!
Opera in the Park, Town Point Park
Need a relaxing getaway after your hectic Labor Day weekend? Norfolk’s got just the perfect event for you! Pack yourself a picnic maybe a bottle of wine and join us for Opera in the Park! Let the Opera be the medicine you need to help unwind from the exciting summer months. Stroll through the Artist’s Market where you can browse and purchase paintings, jewelry, hand-crafted items and more! Watch the sunset over the Elizabeth River and I promise it will be an Instagram worthy opportunity for all!
Norfolk In-Water Boat Show, Town Point Park
The Norfolk In-Water Boat Show makes its return to our great city for the first time since 2008! This event is the only major in-water boat show in the Hampton Roads region and will boast hundreds of new and used power boats, including luxury motor yachts, sport fishing vessels, personal watercraft and inflatables. All boats come from locally- and regionally-based dealers who will help make your boating dreams come true. So bring the whole family down to the Waterside District and get ready to enjoy the aquatic experience!
Commonwealth Coastal Classic, Town Point Park
Named one of Virginias Tastiest Fall Food Festivals, the Commonwealth Coastal Classic (formally known as Ribtoberfest), is a southern collaboration waterside feast of barbecue, bourbon, and beer. It showcases our local chef’s favorite southern dishes; ribs, brisket, pulled pork and more! Bring your appetite, jam out to acoustic rock and celebrate like a local!
Children’s Festival, Town Point Park
Hampton Roads’ most beloved family festival is filled with more than 100 creative and interactive activities, storytelling, hands-on workshops and educational displays, cultural experiences, arts and crafts, costumed characters and more! Parents and children alike can frolic through the many imagination stations, shows and displays that will be on site. Then visit the multiple exhibitions and activities that are sure to get the creative juices flowing.
Holiday Yule Log Bonfire & Christmas Market, TowneBank Fountain Park
The sound of holiday caroling will echo through the city streets of downtown Norfolk emitting from TowneBank Fountain Park. The Annual Yule Log Bonfire and Christmas Market transform the park into a festive winter wonderland all ages can enjoy. The Making Spirits Bright Bar is back by popular demand! Jazz up your hot chocolate with whiskey, enjoy seasonal craft beers and mulled wine, sip on specialty cocktails or partake in our selection of adult cider! Cozy up to the fire carol the night away and patiently wait for Santa to make his grand entrance via water taxi!
Written by Visit Norfolk for VisitNorfolk.
Featured image provided by Visit Norfolk
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