10 Great Summer Festivals

by Casey Higgins | Posted on May 16th, 2012

Festival season is officially underway in Virginia and this handy list will give you some ideas of how to spend your upcoming weekends.

Virginia Lake Festival

Virginia Lake Festival

1. May 19-20: Monacan Indian Nation Pow Wow in Madison Heights. $7 for adults, $5 for kids. If you’ve never experienced an authentic pow wow before, go to this one. Full regalia, drums, dancing, crafts, American Buffalo, Eagles, great food, and age-old stories make this a memorable event.

2. May 25-28: 43rd Annual Roanoke Festival in the Park in Roanoke. Free with the exception of evening concerts. This festival has taken a turn towards the arts, making it a great day or more for families to see a variety of creations. Expect to see sand sculptures, fine arts and crafts, cloggers, BMXers, animal acts, and even big names in concert – Gin Blossoms, Lee Brice, and Craig Morgan.

3. May 31-June 3: 32nd Annual Herndon Festival in Herndon. Centered on families, this festival includes carnival rides, games, kids’ hands-on activity area, a model railway exhibit, and fireworks!

4. June 1-3: Blackbeard Pirate Festival in Hampton. Arrgh! The pirate ships sail in to Hampton’s waterfront and hand-to-hand battles are waged just off the dock. Immerse yourselves as garbed scallywags meander the grounds singing sea chanties and telling tales. The photo ops are priceless! Fireworks, encampments, character entertainment for little ones at Little Swashbuckler Stage, and even cutlass-swinging lessons.

5. June 1-3: Patriotic Festival: A Celebration of Our Military in Virginia Beach. Little boys and big boys alike will especially enjoy the power-packed punch this festival delivers. The line-up for this year includes the Discovery Channel’s American Chopper with Paul Junior unveiling his custom military themed chopper, the Washington Redskins, great Monster Energy giveaways, Corvette Museum Racing Tour, Air National Guard simulators, the Blue Angels Oceanfront Air Show, and so, so much more.

Virginia Covered Bridge Festival

Virginia Covered Bridge Festival

6. June 8-11: Norfolk Harborfest® in Norfolk. Days of free entertainment including more pirates, tall ships, Battleship Wisconsin tours, fireworks, live music, Virginia wine sampling for mom and dad, face painting, make-and-take crafts, and appearances by Nick Jr’s Yo! Gabba! Gabba! characters.

7. June 16: Virginia Covered Bridge Festival in Woolwine. This festival is a little bit of nostalgia for you and a little glimpse of something that isn’t as common as it used to be for the kids. Hop aboard a wagon and take a ride between two of Virginia’s treasured covered bridges – Jack’s Creek and Bob White, browse the antique cars on display, let the kids cheer on the duck race, pet the animals, and bounce around in the inflatables to wear down their energy.

8. July 19-21: Virginia Lake Festival in Clarksville. Tethered hot air balloon rides, sand sculptors, lots of food and more than 200 vendors to browse, helicopter rides, antique cars, live music, and so much more await your family at this must-attend event at Virginia’s only lakeside town.

9. July 21-22: Renaissance Festival in Gloucester. Knights and ladies, do attend this medieval-style festival and learn to juggle, be knighted yourself, dance the maypole, and find other fun shennanigans to partake in. Free!

10. August 11: 5th Annual Smith River Fest in Axton. The outdoorsy family will thrive at this festival that’s all about the river! Enter the river race, learn to tie flies and cast a line, take a guided paddle trip, enjoy the live music,  or go for a float. The kids will be entertained in a number of ways, including the Kids Village with inflatables, climbing wall, and more.

If your interest in festivals is piqued, go on to Virginia.org and see more! There are beer, wine, and quite a variety of food festivals that you’re sure to enjoy.

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