The LOVE sand sculpture is complete and on display. Go check it out this weekend at Virginia Beach’s Neptune Festival. Wonder how it was built? Check out this video – 24 hours of sandcastle building compressed into two minutes!
Virginia is for Lovers is about love – pure and simple. For those who have traveled Virginia seeking LOVE artworks for photo opportunities, here’s a new artwork and perhaps our most unique yet.
Sandsculpture at a previous Neptune Festival Boardwalk Weekend.
On Monday, September 24, master sand sculptors will bring LOVE to the Virginia Beach Oceanfront in the form of a giant wave crashing and leaving the word LOVE behind. See the LOVE sand sculpture in progress from the Virginia Beach Boardwalk between 7th and 8th Streets and in its completed form for the duration of the Neptune Festival Boardwalk Weekend (September 28-30) through October 7.
Beginning September 28, visitors can get close to the 5′ x 14′ sculpture with a $3 admission ticket to Neptune’s Kingdom of Sand (children 12 and under are free). Pose for a photo and then share it to Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #LOVEVA, or post it on the Virginia is for Lovers Facebook page.
The highlight of the Neptune Festival Boardwalk Weekend is the signature, world-renowned North American Sandsculpting Championship, where more than 275 artisans showcase their talents along 35 blocks of the Boardwalk. It’s the largest event of its kind. Additionally, visitors will enjoy a variety of live music, a Grand Parade, Saturday night fireworks display over the Atlantic, volleyball tournament, surfing classic, Atlantic Sailing Regatta, and 8K and 5K runs. The entire weekend is a memorable family fun experience, one that truly puts LOVE at the heart of a Virginia vacation.
The Neptune Festival LOVE artwork is part of a statewide effort which began with the Virginia is for Lovers oversized LOVE artwork. The artwork has made stops at Virginia Welcome Centers, attractions and localities throughout Virginia. It has become a favorite photo opportunity for visitors as well as local residents wherever it has gone. Photos taken by visitors from across the country can be seen at Virginia.org/LOVE.
Those who love a good glass of wine can find it every day of the week in Virginia. Winery tasting room staffs offer guests samples, explain how the wine was created, what smells and flavors should be recognizable in each and what food might pair well with each. Additionally, many of Virginia’s wineries host special events. Here are a few you can look forward to in September.
Celebrate the Labor Day Weekend at Fox Meadow Winery. Expect red, white and blue food pairs with the wine. Sept 1-3. Standard tasting fee of $5-$6 applies.
First Sunday of the Month Brunch at Prince Michel features wine tastings, self or guided tours, and of course, the brunch buffet. $25/adult; $12.50/child 12 and younger. 10:30-2:30
Yappy Hours at Keswick Vineyards is a time when dog owners can bring their pooch. Tastings are conducted both inside and outside. Leash your pet at all times. Held every Sunday 9-5.
Labor Day Lunch at Chateau Morrisette sounds like a great way to spend the day. The restaurant is open 11 to 2 and the winery is open 10 to 5.
Live Music Fridays is exactly what it sounds like. Go to Potomac Point Winery every Friday for music, wine and dining. $24.00/person. 6-9 p.m.
Music, wine and the great outdoors. That’s Starry Nights at Veritas Vineyards & Winery. Bring your blanket or lawnchair and have a relaxing evening under the stars. 7-11 p.m.
The Squealing Black Dog & Swine Festival at Chateau Morrisette promises to be a great time - BBQ pit masters, sauce competition, R&B, Blues and Country music, great wine, vendors and more. $25/person. 11 to 6.
Sans Soucy Vineyards invites you to their 3rd Annual Shrimp & Wine Festival featuring five wineries, great food, live music, and plenty of arts and crafts. $15 in advance; $20 at the gate. Designated drivers are $10. Children 16 and under are free. Noon to 6.
The South African Food & Wine Festival, now in its 7th year, is held at Grayhaven Winery. Exotic eats and Grayhaven’s wine are what’s up. The upbeat live music by JuxtaPower won’t let you sit still, so be ready for a great weekend in Gum Spring. General Admission: $20 in advance; $30 at the gate. + Wine Tasting: $25 in advance; $35 at the gate. Children 17 and under are free. 11-6
Blue Ridge Vineyards hosts a Summer Concert series twice per month, where guests can relax with fantastic music and even better wine. Hear the sounds of Preacher Woody & MWB Band from 5 to 9 p.m. Later, on September 22, SOLREVOLT brings the fun.
Have a seat on the deck at Lexington Valley Vineyards for their monthly Wine and Wags – a good Friday afternoon wind down with your best pet and a nice glass of wine. Noon to 6.
DuCard Vineyards’ fine wines are paired with a fabulous dinner during the Harvest Winemaker’s Dinner. Music, as well as opportunities to meet the chef and the winemakers, will make this a memorable night. $79/person. 6:30-9:30 p.m.
Taste Rockbridge Vineyards’ wine for free during Sunday Uncorked. Visit between 2 and 5 p.m. and enjoy a live band, too. If you like it, come do it again on September 30!
Afton After Hours is what Afton Mountain Vineyards calls their once-a-month Saturday evening wine and music event. No tastings, but wine for sale by the glass and bottle. 6:30-9 p.m.
Taste something new. North Mountain Vineyard is hosting a Bavarian Dinner right on time for Oktoberfest. 6:30-8:30 p.m. $25 pre-paid reservations only.
As the moon rises, DuCard celebrates! Sit a spell drinking great wine and waiting for the harvest moon to rise. 6:30-9:30 p.m.
Learn more about Virginia’s wineries and pinpoint their locations on our new map at Virginia.org/Wine.
Innovation 2012 is the theme of this year’s Wintergreen Performing Arts Summer Music Festival, set to kick off Friday, July 6 and run through Sunday, August 5. The focus of innovation will include innovators – both familiar and unfamiliar – who have moved us in new directions in dance, music, theatre, film, food, wine and the visual arts.
From a musical standpoint, attendees to these events can expect to hear the works of Ludwig van Beethoven as well as brand new pieces written by student composers in settings that vary from the Evans Center at Wintergreen Resort to the Big Red Barn at Rodes Farm in Nellysford. From classical and intimate to new and center stage, there’s a setting and a performance for everyone.
Gisele and Fabio Witkowski perform August 1 at Wintergreen Resort's Evans Center
June is flying by which means that July 4th is approaching quickly. Do you have your Independence Day planned?
Yorktown Independence Day Celebration
Nearly every small town and city in Virginia has a fireworks display, parade, or festival in celebration of our freedom, but here are a few interesting (and FREE) events that you might check out.
You know the Revolutionary War was won in Yorktown, yes? Why not celebrate our independence there? At 9 AM on the 4th you’ll be treated to a parade. Spend the day at the beach and then get ready for the bell-ringing at 7 PM, patriotic entertainment at 8 PM and fabulous fireworks at 9:15 PM.
If you love a picnic, you’ll especially love the 30th Annual AT&T Fourth of July Great American Picnic & Fireworks in Norfolk. The picnic is free and you don’t have to make the potato salad! Pick a spot at Town Point Park for your family to spread a blanket and then kick back for a great fireworks display. 5 to 10 PM on July 4.
Patriotism will surely bubble up in you as you hear the 1812 Overture performed by the City of Fairfax Band with the fireworks to follow. Spend the evening relaxing on blankets or in chairs; vendors will have food and drinks, and kids’ activities will be plentiful. 7-10 PM on July 4.
Carnival rides attract the kids, but it’s the stars on stage that will attract their parents at the Martinsville Speedway Celebration for the 4th. Country music stars Darryl Worley, Bo Bice and David Lee Murphy will deliver an awesome show prior to the area’s largest fireworks display. And it’s all free!
Balloon Rally & 4th of July Celebration in Lexington
Balloon glows are somehow very romantic. Lounge on the VMI parade ground while the giant hot air balloons glow over the course of two nights in Lexington during the 16th Annual Balloon Rally and 4th of July Celebration. Book a morning or evening ride or take a tethered ride, too. The fireworks will captivate around 9 PM on the 4th.
As you get back to work after a long holiday weekend, let us help you brainstorm other ways to spend your days off this summer. You know you’re ready to walk away and enjoy life outside the workplace again. Or is it just me?
Music events are huge during the summer months with various genres and venues. Most assuredly, there’s a summer music festival just for you. Like a jazz sax over a mandolin? I’ve got one for you. Let’s dig in.
Stuart Beach Music Festival
Stuart’s 31st Annual Hot Fun in the Summertime Beach Music Festival is June 7-9. Now you might be thinking, “beach music in the Blue Ridge Highlands?” Well, yes. The sand is trucked in and the bands are annual favorites at any beach music event you encounter. Come camp out, kick back and listen or shag to Band of Oz, The Tams, Jim Quick & Coastline, The Holiday Band, Big Daddy Love, and The Mark Roberts Band.
The Band of Oz gets around, I tell ya. See them again at the StellarOne Beach Music Festival in Buena Vista on July 28 at Glen Maury Park. They’re headlining along with Magnificents Band.
Bluegrass and Old Time
Old time fiddlin’ is hot in the summer. So hot that competitions are held with prize money, ribbons, and trophies going to the favorite musicians and bands. If “pickin’ and grinnin’” is your slice of life, pull up a camp chair, but make sure your flat footin’ shoes are at the ready.
The Virginia Blues & Jazz Festival is held at Garth Newel in Hot Springs June 15-17. The performers are quite acclaimed – Grammy Award winners Grupo Fantasma and The Robert Cray Band promise an amazing weekend in the mountains.
Winchester Blues House Festival
In Hampton, the namesake Hampton Jazz Festival gets underway June 22 and is a three day event. Going strong for 45 years, the nation’s top blues, jazz, soul, and pop performers know they can count on a great crowd when they perform this event. Which top performers? How about Kenny G, Charlie Wilson, Natalie Cole, Monica, Jill Scott, Dave Koz, and BeBe Winans? They’ll be there with a few others.
The Winchester Blues House Festival is unique in that 100% of the festival net proceeds benefit local Habitat for Humanity efforts. Enjoy great musicians including headliner The Pat Travers Band on July 14.
This summer marks the 30th year for the Norfolk Jazz Festival and it promises to be better than ever with Jeff Kashiwa, Steve Cole, Marcus Anderson, Peter Wright, Rick Braun, Gerald Albright, and more. July 20-21.
In a League of Its Own
FloydFest. Now there’s one of Virginia’s key summer music events. Camp around the Blue Cow Pavilion for four days (July 26-29) of “Lovers Rock” – seven stages hosting more than 50 musical performances spanning generations, more than 100 artisans, demonstrations, workshops, a Children’s Universe, babysitting service, and plenty of amazing food.
The list of FloydFest performers is outstanding. To mention but a few …
Alison Krauss & Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas
Drive By Truckers
Bruce Hornsby & the Noisemakers
Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder
Variety at the Beach
Virginia Beach is a given summer destination, but here’re a few more reasons why the call of the oceanfront is a little louder for music lovers.
Hardee’s Latin Fest is big on flavor – both in food and in music. Shake what you got as Salsa, Merengue, and Jazz are key to this event. June 8 and 9 on the beach at 24th Street. Free!
Sandstock – A Blast from the Past is just that. Cover bands for 60s, 70s, and 80s music take over the 17th, 24th, and 31st Street parks June 22-24. If you love The Who, Led Zeppelin, Bon Jovi, Rolling Stones, Pat Benatar, Elvis, and other key figures from those music periods, you’ll love this festival. Bring your tie dye and lots of hairspray! Free.
The big hits of summer at the beach come in the form of The Verizon Wireless American Music Festival. One giant stage sits on the sand and all of the other stages along the boardwalk are utilized as well for this three day multi-genre event. This year’s headliners are O.A.R., Cheap Trick, and Train. You’ve gotta be there – August 31-September 2.
It might come as a surprise, but even classical music draws a festival crowd. See what I mean …
The Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival is held June 10-17 in Harrisonburg. Lawn chairs and cut-offs are discouraged, since this festival is held in a concert hall. Expect to see Grammy Award winner Eugene Friesen.
Wintergreen Resort hosts the Wintergreen Performing Arts Festival the weekends of July 6-8, 13-14, 20-21, 27-28, and August 4-5. Enjoy pieces by Beethoven, Stravinsky, Mozart, Brahms, Schumann, Corelli, and Bach.
Just a little way down the road, classical junkies can experience a variety of venues to take in the sounds of the Staunton Music FestivalAugust 17-25.
If this is still not enough for you to choose from, never fear. It’s not a comprehensive list and you can find more music and festivals at Virginia.org.