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Events Across Virginia

Top 20 Virginia Festivals

Virginia is filled with festivals. Festivals can be found in every region of the state and at different times of the year to celebrate a variety of events and things.

Hundreds of thousands of people make their way to these annual gatherings. Filled with fun, food, entertainment and vendors, each of these Virginia festivals draw crowds with common interests.

Below are the top 20 festivals that can be found in the state. The annual attendance is included a long with a brief summary of the activities. To learn more about a particular event, contact the agency that is in charge of organizing it or go to their Web site.

Neptune Festival air show
Neptune Festival air show
1. Neptune Festival - Drawing the largest crowd, which totals about 500,000 people each year, this popular Virginia Beach event offers fun for all ages. Events start in May and go through September and include everything from an international sand sculpting contest to wine tasting to a youth art contest and a volleyball tournament. Throughout the duration of the event there are concerts, fireworks and dinners. For more information call 1-866-NEP-FEST.

2. Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival - With an annual reported attendance of about 250,000 people, this event that celebrates the beautiful apple blossom draws crowds from around the country. Lasting 10 days and offering more than 40 individual events, this festival includes band competitions, parades, dances, a carnival, luncheons, celebrity appearances, and a circus. The annual event is held in Winchester and is set for April 25 through May 4. To learn more, call (540) 662-3863.

3. Boardwalk Art Show - One of the oldest and most respected outdoor art shows along the Eastern seaboard, the Boardwalk Art Show exhibits the work of 300 artists and draws crowds of 250,000. This year's event marks 59 years of art exhibits and crowds enjoying the sandy beaches with festival activities. With more than 300 booths featuring fine art, plenty of food and a variety of live entertainment, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Running along the Virginia Beach boardwalk, the event is set for June 12-15. For additional information about the event, call (757) 425-0000.

4. Norfolk Harborfest - Drawing a crowd of 250,000 people, Norfolk Harborfest has thrilled crowds for 38 years. Located directly on the waterfront, the largest dock party in the region includes three days of free family fun that includes fireworks, the Parade of Sail, a variety of entertainment, water activities, food and more. Set for June 6-8, call (757) 441-2345 for details.

5. Hampton Bay Days – This memorable event draws a crowd of more than 200,000 people to Hampton's downtown waterfront during the first weekend in September. Offering a diverse lineup of local musicians, exhibits, vendors, food and fun, it is a great family oriented event. Call (757) 727-1641 to learn more about the annual event.

6. Virginia Highlands Festival - What was simply designed as a week-long event to display regional arts and crafts now draws an annual crowd of 225,000 people. Events include booths set up by more than 100 artisans and crafters, live musical performances, a Writer's Day with booksignings and workshops, living history exhibits, food, an antiques market and more. The event is set for Aug. 1-10 in historic Abingdon. To learn more, call (276) 623-5266.

7. Richmond Folk Festival - Usually drawing a crowd of about 200,000 people, the Richmond Folk Festival features numerous live performances by a variety of artists along the town's riverfront. Offering music, crafts, food, vendors and more, the event has something for folks of all ages. To learn more about the event that is held each October, call (804) 788-6466.

8. Pungo Strawberry Festival - As many as 120,000 people attend this annual event held on Memorial Day weekend in beautiful Virginia Beach. It offers old-fashioned fun such as a pie eating contest, a strawberry bake-off, a parade, an extensive military display worth millions, pig races, three stages of continuous entertainment, an art show and one of the largest carnivals on the coast. For more information call the festival committee at (757) 721-6001.

9. Carytown Watermelon Festival - The annual gathering to celebrate the watermelon draws as many as 110,000 people to this trendy community in Richmond. Set for Sunday, August 10, the event will feature more than 3,000 watermelons, 60 musicians, more than 100 exhibitors and a huge kids' area. It is known as the largest one-day festival in Virginia. To get additional details, call (804) 783-7450.

10. Bull Run Festival of Lights - This Centreville holiday tradition draws about 110,000 people every year. Santa's Enchanted Lights features more than 40,000 animated lights to brighten the Christmas season. There is also a magical Holiday Village that offers an unbelievable experience. To learn more about this event, contact (703) 631-0550.

11. Holiday of Lights at the Beach - Everyone loves the beach, so when you mix the beach and the holidays together, you get an unsurpassable experience. About 100,000 people travel to see 100 miles of festive Christmas lights on display along Virginia Beach every year. To get further details, call (757) 425-3111.

12. American Music Festival - Folks gather at Virginia Beach for the great entertainment that takes place during the American Music Festival. Held at Beach Street USA, the event includes the best of country, jazz, R&B, rock and more. For three days over Labor Day weekend, the oceanfront comes alive with the sounds of the best bands from around the country. Call (757) 425-3111 to learn more about the event.

Virginia Lake Festival; credit: Wikimedia
13. Virginia Lake Festival - Drawing more than 100,000 people each year in July, the Virginia Lake Festival has been named one of the top 20 festivals in the Southeast.

14. Herndon Festival - Herndon welcomes some 80,000 people each year for the Herndon Festival. The 34th annual event is set for May 29 through June 1, and there is no admission fee. The event includes arts and crafts, a carnival, entertainment, 10K and 5K races and more. Call (703) 787-7300 for more information.

15. Urbanna Oyster Festival - For this annual two-day event, 70,000 people go to Urbanna for great oysters and fun. With no admission fees, this pay as you go festival is set for November 1-2. To get the specifics about the festival, call (804) 758-0368.

16. Poquoson Seafood Festival - Every year 50,000 enjoys the harvest from the sea at the annual event. Set for October 17-19, the event salutes the fishermen and watermen along Chesapeake Bay. The festival features workboat races, live entertainment, arts and crafts, fresh seafood and more. To get details, visit!contact/c5fi.

17. Old Fiddlers' Convention - More than 40,000 people descend upon Galax for the anual Old Fiddlers' Convention. The 79th annual event is set for August 4-9. Camping, fun and fiddle competitions fill the six-day event. Call (276) 236-8541 to get more details.

18. Virginia International Tattoo Festival - Each year about 30,000 people make the annual trek in August to the Virginia International Tatoo Festival in Norfolk. The signature event of the Virginia Arts Festival, the event is an exhibition of military bands, military drill teams, Scottish dancers, gymnasts, choirs and more.

19. Chautauqua Festival - The Wythe Arts Council hosts the annual Chautauqua Festival in the Park starting the third Saturday of June. The eight-day event is a family oriented festival that focuses on the arts and music. Food, fun, music and a variety of entertainment make the event memorable. This year marks 30 years for the popular event. To get a schedule of events, call (276) 228-6855.

20. Virginia Wine Festival - The largest wine festival in Virginia is held in Plains in northern Virginia and presents more than 50 wineries from around the state along with performances and food vendors. This year's event is Sept. 13 and 14. Go to for details.

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