Save the Dates: The Can’t-Miss Festivals in Virginia- Part 1

by Patricia Keppel | Posted: Jan 6, 2017 | Updated: Jan 14, 2020

Comments: 24 Comments


2020 has just started, but we’re already excited for all of the stellar festivals happening in Virginia this year! Mark your calendars and save the dates for these 10 festivals, filled with live music, local food, arts, and outdoor recreation, occurring in every corner of the Commonwealth, from the Chesapeake Bay coastline to the charming mountain towns of Southwest Virginia.

This is Part 1 of a series.

Read Part Two.

Read Part Three. 



March 14-15, 21-22, 2020

Highland Maple Festival

Since 1958, the Highland Maple Festival has been bringing everything maple to residents and visitors of Monterey. This year, the town hosts the 62nd annual festival, featuring delicious maple-infused treats from local vendors, live entertainment, and craft tutorials in a variety of subjects. Attend the Sugar Tour to learn about the long and storied history of maple syrup in Highland County, then head to a few of the demonstrations to discover the maple syrup production process. This tasty town festival is a must for anyone with a sweet tooth and a love of Virginia history.



Select Dates January through May, with Virginia International Tattoo on April 30-May 3, 2020

Virginia International Tattoo

The Virginia Arts Festival begins in January and runs through May, with nine of Virginia’s coastal cities taking part. A variety of artists and performers come together to display the best of Virginia’s culture and talent during this five-month festival. Individual events occur in separate cities over the span of several months, but the flagship event is the Virginia International Tattoo, a celebration held in Norfolk that showcases American patriotism at its finest. The performances includes acts from dancers, drill teams, choirs, marching bands, and other groups from all over Virginia, and for the past several years, the event has been chosen as the Number One Event in the U.S. by the American Bus Association.



April 13-19, 2020

Tom Tom Festival in Charlottesville

For an entire week in spring, the Tom Tom Summit & Festival takes over downtown Charlottesville with live music, block parties, food and drinks from local vendors, public art displays, workshops, and talks from over 400 innovators in a myriad of startup industries. With the festival’s goal of inspiring community leadership, business development, and creative thinking, every event besides the Founders Summit is absolutely free to attend. Last year, the Tom Tom Founders Festival drew over 25,000 people, and they expect an even more impressive turnout for this year’s events.



April 24-May 3, 2020
Annual Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival

Although apples dominate the fall festival scene, none of the autumn fests can compare to the size and splendor of Winchester’s Shenandoah Apple Blossom festival, now in its 93rd year. Apple events like the apple pie baking contest are a given, but the festival has tons of other activities as well. Sample Virginia wines with friends or bring the kids along to the carnival, which features classic fair food and midway rides. There is a golf tournament, a fun run and 10k marathon, live music, the world’s largest firefighter’s parade, and even a Queen’s Ball, which is presided over by the year’s Queen Shenandoah, crowned earlier in the festival. Order individual event tickets by mail, or stay tuned to the website as additional event tickets become available.



May 2, 2020

chincoteague seafood festival

If you’re a seafood lover, you need to attend the Chincoteague Seafood Festival, held on the Eastern Shore’s Chincoteague Island. The main eating attraction are the Little Neck clams cooked in a bevy of ways, but you’ll find everything from locally harvested oysters to various fried fish delights straight out of the Atlantic. Live beach music fills the air at the festival, and your $45 ticket covers it all, including nonalcoholic beverages (beer is available for purchase). Children 5 and under get free admission to the Chincoteague Seafood Festival. GET TICKETS



May 16-17, 2020

Spring Town Point Virginia Wine Festival

The 14th annual Spring Town Point Virginia Wine Festival invites visitors to sample over 200 wines from more than 30 state-wide wineries, allowing you to get the full Virginia wine experience without weeks of travel. Dine on gourmet food samples, shop specialty merchants, and enjoy live performances in downtown Norfolk during this two-day festival. Pick your favorites and take home a few wines by the bottle or the case to enjoy throughout the year.



May 15-17, 2020

The biggest outdoor sports and music festival in the U.S., Dominion Riverrock brings thousands of participants and spectators (even the four-legged kinds!) together on Richmond’s riverside Brown’s Island for three days of unforgettable fun. Outdoor sports of every kind are demonstrated at the free event, including kayaking, rock climbing, mountain biking, paddleboarding, and slacklining. Live music performances occur throughout, and while this year’s entertainers have not yet been announced, last year’s lineup included performances from Cris Jacobs Band, Chris Leggett, The Marcus King Band, and DJ Williams’ Shots Fired. There are also outdoor races for those looking to get active during the festival, and if you’re not worried about the mess, the 5K Mud Run is incredibly popular for even beginner-level runners.



May 29-30, 2019

In its 22nd year, the Clinch River Days Fest in St. Paul celebrates the river and mountain heritage of Southwest Virginia. The festival includes a bus tour of Breaks Interstate Park, caving, live music, a farmers market, car show, parade with floats, and of course, kayak and canoe trips down the river. Start off the festival by participating in Friday night’s “Duck Race” (plastic, not real!), then continue with a full weekend of outdoor activities. In addition to these events, classic car shows, a Civil War reenactment, and carnival rides round out this monumental festival. Entry is free, but several of the participating events charge admission. Stay tuned to the official website for more information as the festival approaches.




Floyd Country Store

For nine days in June, the mountains of Southwest Virginia come alive with musical experiences in more than 20 communities along the famous Crooked Road. The Mountains of Music Homecoming festival pays tribute to the important traditions, culture, and music of the region, with over 200 cultural experiences and 70 folk, bluegrass, gospel, and old time musical concerts. Attend a few of the instrument-making demonstrations to get an even deeper appreciation of the Crooked Road’s historical contributions, then dine on some of the finest locally sourced cuisine available in Virginia. Round out your festival experience with some outdoor activities, like a leisurely river float or a wondrous hike through some of the region’s caves.



Select Weekends July 17-September 6, 2020

Shenandoah Valley Music Festival

The Shenandoah Valley Music Festival runs from approximately mid-July through Labor Day weekend. As the longest running outdoor music festival in the mid-Atlantic region, the events draw some big performance names. Previous acts include LeAnn Rimes and Bruce Hornsby & the Noisemakers, and the varied genres of musicians draw guests from all over the East Coast. While the festival hosts some pretty big headliners, the inexpensive ticket prices make the live concerts accessible to all, with front row seats at the best concerts totaling only $59 a person. Another cost-saver? Guests are encouraged to bring their own picnic-style spread to events. Tickets go on sale for individual events starting in early April.


When it comes to exciting entertainment for this year, this isn’t all. Stay tuned for part 2 of the can’t-miss festivals!


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Brenda Lawson says:

How can you add a festivals?

Tim Churchwell says:

Pork Pine and Peanut Festival in Surry is a must

Jean Edwards Wallace says:

I’ve never heard of Pork Pine & Peanut Festival…..When, where, & what is it?

Donna says:

JULY 15TH & 16TH, 2017 10am to 5pm

All ages are welcome to the 1st Peace Love RVA Yoga Festival on June 17th on Brown’s Island. It’s free and will be a wonderful time! Live Love and Peace!

Collin says:

Don’t forget Appaloosa Roots Music Festival in Front Royal. Labor day weekend every year. Multiple stages 40+ bands…kids 13 and under are FREE! Celtics, bluegrass and more.

Martin M. says:

I have airline tickets to see family out near Monterey in March. I’ll definitely have to ask them about checking out the Maple festival. Thank you for sharing!

Patty says:

Great festival!

Jeanne Marshall says:

#MakerFaire #NationofMakers #weareallmakers

Maker Faire NoVa – March 19th in Reston!