Save the Dates: The Can’t Miss Festivals of 2017, Part 2


Looking for more incredible Virginia festivals to attend this year? From live entertainment to local cuisine, here are nine more annual festivals to add to your 2017 calendar.

This is part two in a series. Read part one here.



March 19, 2017

If you’re interested in learning how things work, head to the Maker Faire in Reston. Engineers, artists, scientists, craftsmen, and many other skilled professionals gather to showcase their passions, teaching you unique hands-on skills such as soldering, welding, flying drones, and spinning yarn, to name just a few. Whether they consider these pursuits hobbies, experiments, or full-time projects, each demonstrator has extensive knowledge to share during the festival. Get Your Tickets



March 22-24, 2017

The written word comes alive during the Virginia Festival of the Book, held annually in Charlottesville. Attracting audiences of more than 20,000 people, it is the largest community-based book event in the Mid-Atlantic region. Authors like David Baldacci, John Grisham, Rick Atkinson, and Edward Ayers attend for live book readings and signings, as well as various other events including children’s programs and hands-on writing workshops. Find out more about individual events, most of which are free, on the festival website.


Virginia Horse Festival—Doswell

March 24-26, 2017

Secretariat descendants Groundshaker and Moe

Horse enthusiasts, whether owners, riders, or spectators, all gather for the Virginia Horse Festival, a premier celebration at Meadow Event Park. Over three days, equestrian fans can attend seminars, demos, and clinics, and then shop for gear including boots, clothing, jewelry, art, and even trailers, feed, and other horse supplies. With more than 60,000 square feet dedicated to showcasing the animals, the festival is a must-attend for every horse lover. In addition to seminars and shopping, attendees can meet Groundshaker and Moe, the great-great granddaughter and great-great grandson of Secretariat, one of the most incredible horses to have ever lived, during the 8th annual Secretariat Birthday Celebration.


 May 6, 2017

The 39th Annual Heart of Virginia Festival brings together the best of the Commonwealth for one day in Farmville, with magic shows, local artwork, crafts, and all your favorite festival foods. Throughout the day, performers play a wide range of musical sets, from jazz and soul to rock and bluegrass. Start the day with the 10k run, then stop by the antique car show to view an impressive assortment of restored classic cars.


July 21-22, 2017

Sample some of the most mouthwatering barbecue in the world at Smoke on the Mountain, the official state barbecue championship of Virginia. This professional cooking contest gets up close and personal with the most famous barbecue chefs in Virginia as they serve up their take on the classic southern dish. In addition to the endless barbecue, the festival features live music, crafts from local vendors, and plenty of activities for the children.



July 20-22, 2017

Now in its 40th year, the Virginia Lake Festival attracts nearly 100,000 visitors, and has been named one of the top 20 events in July by the Southeast Tourism Society. Although waterfront activities play a big role in the festival, there is something for everyone, including an antique auto show, a 5k run, arts and crafts, and live music performances. Want to experience the lake in a fun and exciting way? Book a helicopter ride or hot air balloon tour for an extraordinary experience during the festival. When the sun goes down, attendees gather along the shoreline to watch the illuminating fireworks show over Buggs Island Lake and the Kerr Lake Reservoir.



July 26-30, 2017


Spanning over 80 acres of mountain plateau land off the Blue Ridge Parkway, Floydfest combines music, arts, and local culture into five days of unforgettable fun. The festival celebrates Virginia’s Great Outdoors with kayaking, hiking, mountain biking, and even disc golf courses throughout the festival grounds. Walk over to the “Global Village” to peruse goods from more than 100 artisans, learn crafts and unique skills in the ongoing workshops and demonstrations, and find every type of food imaginable, whether you prefer sushi, burgers, or barbecue. Bring along the kids and head to the children’s area, complete with youth workshops, puppet shows, playgrounds, and live stage performances. And with babysitting services available, you can attend the later shows without worrying about the kids. Get Tickets



August 7-12, 2017

The oldest and largest fiddlers’ festival in the world, the Galax Old Fiddlers’ Convention pays tribute to the region’s rich culture and mountain music roots. Since 1935, this festival has brought musicians and bluegrass fans from around the world to discover the sound that defines the Blue Ridge Mountains. After 81 years, the festival is still one of the most affordable, fun events anywhere on the east coast, providing a family-friendly vacation option for those looking to learn more about Southwest Virginia’s extensive musical background. Tickets Sold at the Door



August 24-27

Lockn' Music Festival

Some of the most influential jam bands gather each year to play Lockn’, a four-day festival held in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Previous acts include Willie Nelson, Phil Lesh, Robert Plant, and Tom Petty. This year’s lineup features Widespread Panic, The String Cheese Incident, Gov’t Mule, and the Avett Brothers, with more performances being added as the festival nears. Along with nonstop musical acts, the festival highlights outdoor activities like mountain biking, hiking, camping, and even yoga, as well as local artists, crafts, and regional foods. Get Tickets


What other festivals are you planning on attending this year in Virginia? Let us know in the comments below, and look for Part 3 of the 2017 Festival Series coming up soon on the blog!







© pkeppel for Virginia’s Travel Blog, 2017. |

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We are FUN! We are RVA! We support local business and charities! Life is good!

Patricia Keppel

We are FUN! We are RVA! We support local business and charities! Life is good!