9 Festivals You Don’t Want to Miss Happening in Virginia This March

Courtesy of RVA Burlesque Festival

By Aila Boyd

March 10, 2023

This list of festivals across Virginia is worth the drive no matter what part of the commonwealth you call home.

If you’re looking for something fun to do, you’re in luck because there are nine unique festivals happening this month in the commonwealth. 

It doesn’t matter if you want to see a good show, find a new favorite local author, or simply fill your belly—one of these nine festivals will surely be right up your alley. 

Suffolk Mystery Authors Festival

Location: Suffolk

Date: March 11

Love a good mystery novel? If you answered with a resounding “yes,” then the Suffolk Mystery Authors Festival is for you. The festival will be hosting more than 50 national bestselling authors at the Suffolk Conference Center

Hank Phillipi Ryan, a USA Today bestselling author, will be the special guest headliner. Some of the other writers who will also be in attendance include Gabby Allan, Betsy Ashton, Maya Corrigan, and Jeffrey James Higgins. The authors write in the genres of mystery, thriller/suspense, horror, paranormal, science fiction, historical, romance, and women’s fiction.

The festival will include book signings and moderated author panels. Books will be available for purchase. 

Oyster Roast, Orange Crush, and Craft Beer Festival

9 Festivals You Don’t Want to Miss Happening in Virginia This March
Courtesy of Virginia Beach Volunteer Rescue Squad

Location: Virginia Beach

Date: March 12

Come hungry to the all-you-can-eat-and-drink Oyster Roast, Orange Crush, and Craft Beer Festival at the Virginia Beach Convention Center.

A $75 adult ticket—or a  $25 child ticket for ages 6-16—will give you access to all the food and drink you can handle, with the exception of Orange Crush, which will require a drink ticket. 

Fresh and fried oysters, homemade clam chowder, barbeque, fried chicken, sides, soft drinks, local craft beer, and local wine will all be on the menu. 

While you’re enjoying live music, casino tables, live and silent auctions, and local artists at the festival, know that your support goes to a good cause: the proceeds will help purchase lifesaving equipment and supplies for local first responders. 

Highland County Maple Festival

9 Festivals You Don’t Want to Miss Happening in Virginia This March
Courtesy of Tonoloway Farm

Location: Highland County

Dates: March 11, 12, 18, and 19

Highland County is called “Virginia’s Sweet Spot” for a reason.

If you love pouring maple syrup on pancakes (and other things), the Highland County Maple Festival is for you. It’s a celebration of the “opening” of the trees and a chance to observe the process of maple syrup-making. 

This year, 10 syrup production locations will be open, including Back Creek Farms and Duff’s Sugar House, all of which have unique techniques and stories.

The festival offers you the chance to gorge yourself on pancakes, buckwheat cakes, and maple doughnuts, while enjoying live entertainment. 

Virginia Festival of the Book

Location: Charlottesville 

Dates: March 22-26

The mission of the Virginia Festival of the Book is to bring “together writers and readers to promote and celebrate books, reading, literacy, and literary culture.” 

This year’s festival will include writing salons, book panels, and immersive outdoor programs. 

One of the conversations will feature actor and deaf activist Nyle DiMarco, who will discuss his memoir, Deaf Utopia, with musical performer WAWA Snipe at The Paramount Theatre

Chester Wine Tasting Festival

9 Festivals You Don’t Want to Miss Happening in Virginia This March
Courtesy of Kiwanis Club of Chester

Location: Chester

Date: March 18

If you like drinking for a good cause, you’ll love the Chester Wine Tasting Festival hosted by the Kiwanis Club of Chester at the Perkinson Center for the Arts and Education

Proceeds from the $25 tickets will benefit the local food bank, the Chesterfield-Colonial Heights Christmas Mother program, and other charitable efforts. 

Taste of New Orleans Festival

9 Festivals You Don’t Want to Miss Happening in Virginia This March
Courtesy of Lux Events

Location: Newport News

Date: March 18

New Orleans is “known for its jazz music, Creole cuisine, unique dialects, and its annual celebrations and festivals, most notably Mardi Gras.” To enjoy all that New Orleans has to offer in Virginia, check out the Taste of New Orleans Festival. 

Organizers say the event will include stilt walkers, pony rides, face painting, balloon twisting, mask making, games, noisemakers, and beads.  

Foodies can sample New Orleans-style food—alligator bites, anyone? 

Those with little ones can decorate their strollers or wagons with Mardi Gras faire for a chance to win the stroller contest and cash prizes. 

For adults, there will be a costume contest in which participants repurpose old Halloween looks into Mardi Gras-inspired attire. The best dressed man and woman will be crowned the king and queen of the festival. 

Spring 2023 Capital Art & Craft Festival

Location: Chantilly 

Dates: March 24-26

The three-day Spring 2023 Capital Art & Craft Festival at the Dulles Expo Center will feature more than 230 artists and their unique handmade items, all of which will be available for purchase. It’s billed as “the largest event of the season in Northern Virginia.” 

Some of the mediums the artists work in include apothecary, clothing/textiles, glass, jewelry, leather, metal, mixed media, painting and prints, photography, pottery/clay, printmaking, specialty foods, and wood.

Jennifer Domal, an award-winning mixed media folk artist from West Chester, Pennsylvania, and Wood Speaks To You, a Chesterfield-based crafter of unique home décor items, are among the artists you can meet at the festival. 

RVA Burlesque Festival

9 Festivals You Don’t Want to Miss Happening in Virginia This March
Courtesy of RVA Burlesque Festival

Location: Richmond

Dates: March 30-April 1

Not surprisingly, the RVA Burlesque Festival is “dedicated to celebrating the art of burlesque.” 

The weekend of entertainment will promote artistic expression, inclusivity, diversity, and empowerment. 

The Thursday kickoff event will be at Strangeways Brewing. The Robinson Theatre will serve as the backdrop for the showcases on Friday and Saturday. There will be performances by national burlesque performers, as well as Richmond-based performers. 

Those interested in learning more about the art of burlesque can register for one of the Saturday classes.

Sounds of the Mountains Story Festival

Location: Fincastle

Dates: March 31-April 1

Those who attend Sounds of the Mountains Story Festival are in for “fun stories, music, food, and springtime beauty.” 

This year’s storytellers will include:

  • Donald Davis, a former United Methodist minister and author of 18 books
  • Adam Booth, the recipient of the 2022 Governor’s Arts Award for Folk Arts in West Virginia
  • Beth Horner, a performer with over 28 years of experience
  • Kim Weitkamp, a storyteller, author and singer-songwriter
  • and Joe Collins, a dulcimer performer and professor emeritus of religion at Gardner-Webb University.

The festival takes place on the 470-acre Camp Bethel

READ MORE: 10 Small Town Burger Spots in Virginia You Have to Try

  • Aila Boyd

    Aila Boyd is a Virginia-based educator and journalist. She received her MFA in writing from Lindenwood University.

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