Annual Festivals/Fairs in Virginia Beach, VA
Known simply as ECSC, this event is the nation’s oldest surfing competition. But for locals, ECSC is as much a celebration of the beach life as it is about the surfing. With beachfront bands playing throughout the week, vendors dotting the Boardwalk, and food and beverages readily available, this festival has been a hallmark of the summer season for many years in Virginia Beach. Usually taking place in late August along 1st through 5th streets, expect to find crowds in full force. If you would like a place to sit, you’re probably going to have to supply your own blanket or chair and parking can also be a challenge.
Heralded as one of the top 100 Festivals in the country and one of the top 10 on the East Coast, the Neptune Festival technically runs from May through October with a series of over 40 events over the course of the year, including sports competitions, seaside music performances, and wine tastings . But the festival culminates with the Boardwalk Weekend, the event most locals would refer to as the festival itself. The weekend is usually slated for late September and features 32 blocks of beachfront shopping, dining, live music, and other attractions. The signature event of the Neptune Festival is the North American Sandsculpting Championship, a world-class competition featuring some of the best sand sculptors and creations in the world! The Neptune Festival is a real community celebration with a King selected each year from notable residents along with a court of princesses selected from the city’s youth.
Live music, the sound of waves crashing, good friends, and the perfect microwbrew. Sounds tempting, right? Well, the Craft Beer Festival is a beer lover’s dream day. For those unfamiliar with the world of craft beers, these specialties are brewed regionally from very passionate brewmasters. They are not readily available usually, but at this festival, which usually takes place in mid-October, the 24th Street Park is lined with over 50 different beer choices from over 25 different breweries for the event, giving connoisseurs ample opportunities to find a new brew. Lagers, IPAs, stouts, cream ales and even fruit beers are well-represented. Ticket prices include admission, unlimited samplings, and a commemorative glass.
With an idyllic setting featuring the ocean as the backdrop, the Wine Festival is a huge hit with Virginia Beach locals. The event takes place twice over the year. The Spring Festival, usually held in mid-May, features international wines from 9 countries, while the Fall Festival features popular Virginia wines. At both events, tasting stations are set out throughout the park, allowing guests to sample and then purchase their new wine finds. Tickets, which include admission, unlimited tastings, and a commemorative glass, must be purchased in advance and they typically sell out. Space is limited, so guests are not permitted to bring large personal spreads, but you can purchase an umbrella table to host your party (tables come with 8 tickets). Live music and delicious food choices round out the day’s events.
Beaches are usually the first thing that come to mind when one thinks of Virginia Beach. However, the outskirts of the city are home to miles and miles of farmland, known as Pungo. In the springtime, those fields come alive and strawberries, among other seasonal favorites, are readily available for picking. This event, which takes place on Memorial Day weekend annually, celebrates the season’s bounty in a festive, family-friendly, alcohol-free setting. As the namesake implies, the main feature of the festival are the strawberries and the variety of ways in which the fruit can be prepared (over 50 ways to be exact!). A pie-eating contest, livestock farm, carnival, racing car exhibits, continuous live music, and even pig races round out the fun in Pungo.