The Virginia Arts Festival 20th Anniversary Edition of the Virginia International Tattoo was fantastic. If you missed it this year, do not miss it next year.
Take your whole family. My nine-year-old granddaughter sat on the edge of her seat for over two hours. She made friends with two cute Scots pipers. We discussed the age-old question of what a Scotsman wears under his kilt. Rachel thought the Tattoo was better than the circus.
The VAF is far from over. There is so much good stuff for kids and families coming up in the next few weeks. Some are free, some on the fringe, and they all are fit for families. Plan your way through Memorial Day with our Family Friendly Guide to the Virginia Arts Festival.
April 28 – May 1
Outside at the Harrison Opera House
dotMaze is an art installation, theatrical experience, and life-size puzzle all wrapped up in a hedge. This 20 square meter hedge will be filled with twists, turns, sounds and characters. Families can get lost together and solve the mystery of how to get out, but there won’t be anything scary.
The Fringe Festival is the VAF’s festival within a festival. The Fringe is just that: artists and experiences that are just a bit off the beaten path, different and unique. There several family-friendly options in the Fringe Festival this year.
Thursday, April 28
The Plot – Granby St. & Olney Rd.
The Hot Sardines are a sassy, French Cajun band with some great old time vocals and a little tap-dancing.
“We’ll see daughters, mothers and grandmothers coming to our show together,” says bandleader Evan Palazzo. Seven-year-olds have shown up at the show with cans of sardines to sign. This show will be under a tent outdoors at The Plot. No seats, standing only, good for dancing with your kids.
Saturday, April 30; 10 AM & 2 PM
Sunday, May 1; 10 AM & 2 PM
The Plot – Granby St. & Olney Rd. Norfolk
$5, children two and under FREE
Remember when there were puppet shows in the park? No, me either. Give your kids that experience.
“Help Save the Monkey,” about an 8-year-old and an 80-year old who race to save a pet monkey that lands from space, will be performed outdoors, under a tent, at The Plot, in the NEON, Norfolk’s Arts District. There will be two shows each day, followed by crafts. Not craft beer, although that’s just a short walk away. These crafts are for the kids.
Friday, May 6; 8 PM
Saturday, May 7; 9 AM – 10 PM
24th Street Pavilion, Virginia Beach Oceanfront
Enjoy the beach, the ocean breezes, and that sweet Caribbean music. This is kind of a big deal. Steel bands from all over the United States will be competing with their steel drums. Bring a picnic and spend the day on Saturday.
Saturday, May 21; 3 PM
City Center at Oyster Point, Fountain Park, Newport News
The VAF spreads out all across Hampton Roads, from Virginia Beach to Williamsburg. The World Arts Celebration takes place in Newport News. There will be music and food from around the world. Your family will have a chance to shop in an artisan village and make crafts from around the world.
Sunday, May 29; 2 – 5 PM
Church Street Park, Norfolk
Food, music and family fun celebrating Norfolk’s historic Church Street community in the Church Street Park across the street from the Attucks Theater.
Monday, May 30; Gates open at 5 PM; Concert at 7:30 PM
City Center at Oyster Point, Newport News
Have a good old-fashion Memorial Day. Bring a picnic, lawn chairs and a blanket. Celebrate everything that is great about the United States with the U.S. Air Force Heritage American Band.
Virginia Symphony Orchestra
Thursday, June 9; Park opens at 8 PM; Concert at 8:30 PM
Town Point Park, Norfolk
Here’s another outdoor concert, under the stars, where the kids can get their wiggles out and the whole family can enjoy the music. Our own Virginia Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Rob Fisher, will be performing Sousa, Gershwin and Tchaikovsky’s spectacular 1812 Overture, complete with church bells and cannons.
There are many more events and performances coming up in the Virginia Arts Festival. If you have a budding ballerina, you don’t want to miss the Dance Theater of Harlem with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra on Saturday, May 14 or Sunday, May 15 at Chrysler Hall.
If strings are your thing, the Miami String Quartet will be performing several times, on Monday, May 16 at 7:30 PM at the Robin Hixon Theater in Norfolk and on Tuesday, May 17 at 7:30 PM at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Portsmouth. They are also doing two Coffee Concerts during the day.
There are so many opportunities to mix culture and family in the next weeks. Performers from puppets to a piano virtuoso to JoAnn Falletta playing with the Tidewater Classical Guitar Orchestra will be performing. For a complete list, by date, go to here.