By Chantel Sills
Summers in Hampton Roads are vibrant and alive filled with festivals, concerts and sporting events. As the semester winds down and summer starts to peek over the horizon, Virginia Wesleyan students will be happy to know there are events to satisfy every interest.
May is the beginning of festival season in Hampton Roads with the first festival taking place before the end of the semester. This festival is Norfolk’s second annual Puppy De Mayo Yappy Hour in Town Point Park. This is a one of a kind event for dog lovers complete with treats for the dogs and dog-themed drinks for the owners. Dining and dancing takes place on the Downtown Waterfront ensuring a fun-filled evening with pets. This event is located at Town Point Park along the Downtown Norfolk Waterfront on Thursday, May 5 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. It is a free event.
The weekend of Saturday May 7 to Sunday May 8 is the annual Spring Town Point Virginia Wine Festival. This event starts at 11 a.m. on both days and ends at 6 p.m. The wine sampling ends at 4:30 p.m. and the wine sales end at 5 p.m. With over 25 of the best wineries from Virginia bringing over 200 unique wines to sample, there is something for everyone.
Beer lovers might be interested in the annual Virginia Beer Festival. It takes place Saturday, May 21 and Sunday, May 22. It starts at 2 p.m. and ends at 6 p.m. and is also located in Town Point Park. With over 125 beers to sample and a live music performance by Buckshot, it should be a worthwhile event.
Rolling into June, there are tons of tasty events like the 27th annual Bayou Boogaloo & Cajun Food Festival. It starts Friday, June 24 and ends Sunday, June 26. The first day of the event from noon to 2 p.m. is free and open to the public but the rest of the event requires a ticket. Norfolk is bringing in a little down-south New Orleans cuisine.
Those who have the pleasure of celebrating July 4 in Norfolk have the opportunity to celebrate at the 34th annual Fourth of July Great American Picnic on Monday, July 4 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. The event is free and open to the public taking place at Town Point Park. Enjoy an amazing waterfront fireworks display.
The Virginia CaribFest in August gives locals a carnival experience like no other. For the past 11 years, Norfolk transformed into a festive island celebration. This year, the kickoff for the event is the J’Ouvert Boatride on Friday, Aug. 19 on board the Spirit of Norfolk. Carnival-goers can party the night away and then wake up early to watch the Mas Bands Fete parade on the streets of Norfolk, leading the festival into Town Point Park. For those who still want to enjoy the nightlife, the Granby Theater will be hosting a soccer party.
Festivals are not the only events that occupy the summer months. Athletic enthusiasts might enjoy the North American Sand Soccer Championships which will return to the Oceanfront June 10-12. Teams band together from Virginia, Miami and even as far as Barcelona for a fun and competitive weekend of sand soccer.
Hampton Roads also has an active arts industry with productions taking place this summer. For example, there will be the Afro-Cuban All Stars on Tuesday May 3, Virginia International PANFest on Saturday May 7 and Tchaikovsky Spectacular on Thursday, June 9.
Another local favorite is the Shaggfest put on by Shaggy and the radio station Z104. It takes place on Saturday, May 21st at the Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater in Virginia Beach. This year’s headliner is 2016 Grammy Award Winner Diplo with other performances by Travis Scott, Daya and a few other national and local artists.