From Patsy Cline to cantaloupes: 15 quirky summer festivals in Virginia

From Patsy Cline to cantaloupes: 15 quirky summer festivals in Virginia

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

By Aila Boyd

July 3, 2024

Summer is synonymous with warm weather, vacation time, and festival fun. Luckily, Virginia knows how to celebrate in style. If you’re on the hunt for a unique festival experience, check out these 15 quirky festivals happening this summer. 

Virginia Lake Festival

Where: Clarksville

When: July 19-20

Cost: Free

It’s hard to think of a more summer-centric way to spend a day than on the lake. Check out the Virginia Lake Festival this year as it celebrates its 47th year. Live bands will be playing as attendees get to sample from all sorts of food vendors. Classic cars, as well as helicopter rides, also feature prominently in the festival. The festival culminates in a fireworks display.

Norfolk Latino Music Festival

Where: Norfolk

When: July 20

Cost: Free

Celebrate Latin culture by attending the 23rd Annual Norfolk Latino Music Festival along the Downtown Norfolk Waterfront. At the festival, the sounds of salsa will transport you to a world of excitement and energy, while you feast on the flavors of Latin cuisine, including tacos and empanadas. 

Virginia Cantaloupe Festival

Where: South Boston

When: July 26

Cost: $40

If you love the taste of cantaloupe, then the 44th Virginia Cantaloupe Festival is for you. The festival includes live entertainment from Jim Quick & Coastline and The Konnection Band, alcoholic beverages, roasted corn, ice cream, and of course, cantaloupe. 

Mary Draper Ingles Festival

Where: Radford

When: July 26-28

Cost: Free

Celebrate the life of the famed early American pioneer Mary Draper Ingles at the Mary Draper Ingles Festival. Taking place at multiple locations, the festival will feature activities for those of all ages.

Smoke on the Mountain

Where: Galax

When: July 26-27

Cost: Varies 

Barbeque enthusiasts likely won’t be able to resist the scrumptious offerings of Smoke on the Mountain when pitmasters from near and far converge on the streets of Galax to showcase their smoky creations. The festival also includes music and family-friendly activities. 

2024 Dino Festival

Where: Martinsville

When: July 26-27

Cost: $5-$10 depending on age

The two-day dinosaur extravaganza that is the 2024 Dino Festival allows families to come together to learn about the ancient creatures. The festival includes life-size cast skeletons of some of the most iconic dinosaurs of the Mesozoic Era, a wide variety of fossils, dino-themed activities and crafts, and the opportunity to interact with expert paleontologists. 

Cave Comedy Fest

Where: Harrisonburg 

When: July 27

Cost: $10-$55

Who doesn’t love a good laugh? For a lighthearted and fun summer experience, attend the Cave Comedy Fest. The fest features comedy shows inside Melrose Cave with a mini cave tour featuring LA International Touring Headliner Lachlan Patterson and the Funny Womacks. Guided tours of the Melrose Civil War Caverns to see over 150 Civil War signatures will also be available. Food and drinks from local vendors will be available that you can enjoy while tailgating. 

Old Fiddlers Convention

Where: Galax

When: Aug. 5-10

Cost: $10-$15

Embrace the music of Appalachia by attending the 88th Annual Old Fiddlers Convention. The old-time and bluegrass music competition features different kinds of music throughout the week, featuring clawhammer banjos, autoharps, guitars, and bluegrass banjos. If you love to dance, register for the flatfoot dance competition on Saturday. 

High Knob Outdoor Fest

Where: Norton

When: Aug. 10-17

Cost: Some events associated with the festival have fees. 

It should come as no surprise that the High Knob Outdoor Fest is a celebration of all things outdoors. It features outdoor recreation trips, activities, and presentations. The downtown festivities include outdoor vendors, demonstrations, food trucks, and live music. Runners should sign up for the Flag Rock 5K Trail Run on Thursday. 

Norfolk Waterfront Jazz Festival

Where: Norfolk 

When: Aug. 16-17

Cost: $35

Love jazz music? You’re in luck because the Norfolk Waterfront Jazz Festival brings some of the biggest names on the international smooth jazz scene to Town Point Park along the Downtown Norfolk Waterfront for a two-day event. The 41st edition of the festival will feature artists like Kirk Whalum, Rebeca Jade, and Bob James. 

ViBe Mural Festival

Where: Virginia Beach

When: Aug. 18-27

Cost: Free

The ViBe Mural Festival is a unique celebration of the mural. Each year, 10 new murals are painted by different local and national artists at properties around the ViBe Creative District. The public gets to explore the murals and even meet the artists as they work. 

Southwest Virginia Bee Festival

Where: Roanoke

When: Aug. 24

Cost: Free 

Celebrate National Honey Bee Day by attending the Southwest Virginia Bee Festival at Elmwood Park. There will be educational sessions, food trucks, honey tastings, activities for kids, and prizes. 

14th Annual Patsy Cline Block Party!

Where: Winchester

When: Aug. 31

Cost: Free

Fans of the late country music icon Patsy Cline will be delighted to hear that there is a block party dedicated to honoring her legacy. The 14th Annual Patsy Cline Block Party! is an old-fashioned block party that consists of live music from local bands and various events. Attendees get discounted admission for a tour of the Patsy Cline Historic House

Crabtown Seafood Festival

Where: Hampton

When: Aug. 31-Sept. 1

Cost: Free

The Crabtown Seafood Festival honors Hampton’s history as a city built by seafood. Happening in the downtown waterfront area, it consists of seafood vendors, live music, nautical art, boats, and educational exhibits about the Chesapeake Bay. 

Appaloosa Roots Music Festival

Where: Front Royal 

When: Aug. 31-Sept. 1

Cost: $60-$125 for adults

Love roots music? If so, the Appaloosa Roots Music Festival is for you. Taking place on Labor Day weekend, the family-friendly annual festival combines music, including local, national, and international bands, and outdoor experiences, like camping, hiking, and canoeing. 

This article first appeared on Good Info News Wire and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.15 quirky summer festivals in Virginia15 quirky summer festivals in Virginia

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  • Aila Boyd

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

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