Looking to kick off the spring season with an official event? There are plenty of spring festivals happening throughout the Commonwealth that bring together your favorite seasonal interests, from new Virginia wine releases and fresh, locally-grown cuisine to outdoor activities and live concerts featuring some of the biggest names in music. Plan a weekend around one of these festivals to get the most out of your spring in Virginia. Want to see all upcoming Virginia festivals? Check out our complete list to plan a season full of fun!
Although there are dozens of festivals to choose from, each with its own unique atmosphere, tastes and vibe, we have picked a handful of festivals that have a storied history, are rising stars in their genre, and were popular with visitors in the past few years.
HIGHLAND MAPLE FESTIVAL — MONTEREY
Since 1958, the Highland Maple Festival has been bringing everything maple to residents and visitors of Monterey and features 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.
VIRGINIA FESTIVAL OF THE BOOK — CHARLOTTESVILLE
The written word comes alive during the Virginia Festival of the Book, held annually in Charlottesville. Attracting audiences of more than 20,000 people, it is the largest community-based book event in the Mid-Atlantic region. Authors like Edgar Award-nominee Lyndsay Faye, Lisa Ko, Justin Spring, and Alisha Rai attend for live book readings and signings, as well as various other events including children’s programs and hands-on writing workshops. Find out more about individual events, most of which are free, on the festival website.
THE VIRGINIA ARTS FESTIVAL—VARIOUS LOCATIONS
For over 20 years, The Virginia Arts Festival has been bringing together a variety of artists to showcase the best of Virginia’s talent and culture. While this festival takes place in nine Virginia cities throughout the spring, the biggest event is the Virginia International Tattoo. This all-American show of patriotism and pride includes acts from Virginia marching bands, drill teams, dancers, choirs, and other large-scale performances. In 2016, the Virginia International Tattoo had the honor of being award the Number One Event in the United States by the American Bus Association.
TOM TOM FOUNDERS FESTIVAL—CHARLOTTESVILLE
Held in Charlottesville, the annual Tom Tom Founders Festival includes block parties, live concerts, workshops, local food, public art, competitions, and talks from startup innovators. Community built and led, this event focuses on bringing together the residents of Virginia to celebrate creative ideas and inspire community leadership.
A true harbinger of spring, Gloucester’s Daffodil Festival is an annual floral extravaganza held in early April, just as the beautiful yellow blooms make their appearance. The festival’s theme will be “In Full Bloom,” celebrating both a full return and the history of the popular event.
SHENANDOAH APPLE BLOSSOM FESTIVAL—WINCHESTER
One of Virginia’s largest and oldest festivals is the annual Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival in Winchester, held over 10 days at the end of April and into early May. Entering its 96th year, the festival has grown to include a wine festival, a carnival with midway rides, a golf tournament, apple pie baking contest, a fun run and 10K, the coronation of Queen Shenandoah, the Queen’s Ball, fireworks, the world’s largest firefighters’ parade, and the official Grand Feature Parade, among many other events with live music and food involved.
CHINCOTEAGUE SEAFOOD FESTIVAL—CHINCOTEAGUE
In search of fresh seafood? You’ll find an impressive spread at the Chincoteague Seafood Festival in early May! Signature seafood dishes will be prepared for your consumption, including the famous Little Neck Clams that the festival is known for. Drinks are included with admission; beer is additional. Stay all day and graze while live beach music sets the vibe.
Held annually in May, Dominion Riverrock is a three-day festival of outdoor sports, live music, and plenty of local craft beers and food from Virginia vendors that is held at Brown’s Island in Richmond. The event brings together athletes, spectators, performers, and even dogs together to experience a multitude of outdoor activities. Kayaking, rock climbing, bouldering, trail running, cycling, slacklining, and stand up paddleboarding are all on the agenda for these three days of fun. Want to let your pet participate in the fun, too? Sign your dog up for the dog jumping contest!
SPRING TOWN POINT VIRGINIA WINE FESTIVAL—NORFOLK
The annual Spring Town Point Virginia Wine Festival takes place in early May in Norfolk. With more than 200 wine samples from over 20 of the best wineries in Virginia and educational “Somm-inars” where you can learn about Virginia wines, this event brings together the best aspects of wine during one spring weekend. While sampling wines, you can also feast on gourmet foods from local chefs and enjoy live entertainment.
CLINCH RIVER DAYS FESTIVAL—ST. PAUL
Celebrating over 25 years, the two-day Clinch River Days Festival is held annually in St. Paul and celebrates the river life, heritage, and culture of Southwest Virginia. Whatever your outdoor pleasure, you can likely enjoy it during this weekend of fun. Taste the food and wine flavors of the region as you learn about the railroad and river influence on this area.
SPRING WINE FESTIVAL & SUNSET TOUR—MOUNT VERNON
The middle of May is the perfect time to treat yourself (or mom for Mother’s Day!) to a day overlooking the Potomac River with a glass of wine at the Spring Wine Festival & Sunset Tour at George Washington’s Mount Vernon. Sixteen Virginia wineries will be on hand for your tasting pleasure while the rarely opened wine storage of George Washington will be open for your viewing pleasure. This festival is very popular and often sells out in advance.
For three memorable days, the Norfolk waterfront at Town Point Park transforms into an exciting playground for people of all ages during Norfolk Harborfest. Activities include the Parade of Sail, artisan foods and beverages, performances, one of the largest fireworks shows on the East Coast, family games and so much more.
ANNUAL UMOJA FESTIVAL—PORTSMOUTH
Portsmouth invites you to the Annual UMOJA Festival.This three-day festival promoting cultural diversity and unity, and will open with a traditional African drum call and ceremonial processional. Great ethnic foods and artisans’ wares are a highlight along with a famed musical act. Performers and events will be announced soon on the festival website.
HEART OF VIRGINIA FESTIVAL — FARMVILLE
For over 40 years, the Heart of Virginia Festival brings together the best of the Commonwealth for one day in Farmville, with magic shows, local artwork, crafts, and all your favorite festival foods. Throughout the day, performers play a wide range of musical sets, from jazz and soul to rock and bluegrass. Start the day with the 10k run, then stop by the antique car show to view an impressive assortment of restored classic cars.