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Fun things to do in Virginia

Illustration by James Gulliver Hancock

A curated list of the best upcoming events in Tidewater Virginia.

We Shall Overcome: A Williamsburg Black History Experience

Ongoing Explore the bravery and resilience of African Americans in 18th-century Williamsburg while touring important locations like the Mary Stith House, Williamsburg Bray School, and Historic First Baptist Church. During this 2-hour walking tour, guides will share inspirational stories of the escaped slaves and influential leaders who helped create a better future for Virginia and the nation. Tickets, $25. Williamsburg

Groovin’ by the Bay

FREE! Through August 25 Every Sunday from 5 to 8 p.m., dance the night away to the sounds of Motown, rock, pop, oldies, swing, and surf music. Food vendors will be on-site and there is free parking in the Hampton University garage. Guests are encouraged to bring blankets and lawn chairs. Mill Point Park, Hampton.

Cirque du Soleil’s Ovo

Through June 16 Insects work, play, and look for love in this funny, colorful, and riotous show. Crickets bounce off trampolines and a hypnotic spider contorts inside her web, giving the audience a look into a diverse ecosystem that teems with life and emotion. Tickets start at $59. Scope Arena, Norfolk.

Under the Oaks Art Fest

FREE! June 18–19 Stroll the scenic waterfront at Whalehead to see creations by more than 50 artists, including pottery, paintings, jewelry, woodwork, mixed media, glass, metal, photography, and fiber art. There will also be local food vendors and a silent art auction. Historic Corolla Park, Currituck, North Carolina.

July 4 Celebration

FREE! July 4 Colonial Williamsburg pulls out all the stops on Independence Day, with music and patriotic programming that includes a Thomas Jefferson reenactor reading the Declaration of Independence from the Capitol West balcony, a musket volley in Market Square, a Salute to the States with the Colonial Williamsburg Fifes & Drums, and a fireworks display above the Governor’s Palace. Colonial Williamsburg.

Sebastian Maniscalco: It Ain’t Right Tour

July 11 Comedian Sebastian Maniscalco, named “the hottest comic in America” by the New York Times, has starred in comedy specials for Comedy Central, Netflix, and Showtime. He’s also been in several films, including one he co-wrote and starred in, About My Father. Tickets start at $49.50. Scope Arena, Norfolk.

TGIF Summer Concerts

FREE! July 26–August 16 Put on your dancing shoes and bring a lawn chair or blanket to these free summer concerts every Friday from 6 to 9:30 p.m. Food and beverages are available for purchase on-site. Featured bands include The Deloreans (July 26), Roberta Lea (August 2), Slap Nation (August 9), and Anthony Rosano and the Conqueroos (August 16). Bennett’s Creek Park, Suffolk.

World Arts Celebration

FREE! July 27 This annual event transports participants around the world. Taste international food and beverages, browse goods from vendors in an artisan village, listen to live music, and enjoy hands-on cultural activities, performers, and interactive education stations. Victory Landing Park, Newport News.

Soundside Summer Market

FREE! August 7, 14 and September 1 Shop a waterfront market for one-of-a kind treasures crafted by local artists on Wednesdays. Handmade items include jewelry, ceramics, woodwork, photography, candles, and other crafts. You can also buy baked goods, local apparel, and vintage items. Soundside Event Site, Nags Head, North Carolina.

Norfolk Waterfront Jazz Festival

August 16–17 Listen to the smooth sounds of jazz along downtown Norfolk’s Elizabeth River at the area’s longest-running outdoor jazz festival. Top international artists include Kirk Whalum, Norman Brown, Rebecca Jade, Bob James, Larry Carlton, and Four80East. Tickets start at $35. Town Point Park, Norfolk.

Funk Fest Beach Party

FREE! August 23–24 Get down on the oceanfront with this festival full of funk-inspired music, food, and eclectic vendors. General admission is free; preferred viewing seats are available for purchase. 24th Street, Oceanfront, Virginia Beach.

Seawall Art Show

FREE! August 24–25 Stroll historic High Street while viewing a juried art show where more than 80 artists display paintings, jewelry, sculpture, tapestries, wood, glass, and other mixed media. Also enjoy live entertainment, children’s activities, and a student art show. Olde Towne Portsmouth.

Crabtown Seafood Festival

FREE! August 31–September 1 Honoring Hampton’s seaside history, this annual festival features fresh catches from seafood vendors, nautical art, live music, kids’ games, sand activities, and educational exhibits highlighting the Chesapeake Bay. Riverfront walkway from Mill Point Park to downtown, Hampton.

Symphony Under the Stars

FREE! September 1 Unwind while listening to the Virginia Symphony Orchestra on the Bagley Stage. Pack a picnic or enjoy cuisine from a variety of food trucks. Bring your own chair or blanket. Free on-site parking and admission. Chesapeake City Park, Chesapeake.

Denbigh Day Parade and Festival

FREE! September 14 A fun day filled with fanfare starts with a 10 a.m. parade including marching bands, decorated floats, dance teams, and decked-out vehicles. Afterward, a festival features live music, games, arts and craft vendors, children’s train rides, educational displays, and a petting zoo. Courthouse Way Community Center, Newport News.

Taste of Suffolk

FREE! September 14 Take a culinary stroll down Main Street and taste Suffolk’s best cuisine while enjoying live music, vendors, eating contests, and a children’s area. There will also be a beer garden and an after-party with the band Wonderland. Downtown Suffolk.

Surfalorus Film Festival

September 16–18 Watch the year’s best surfing movies from first-time filmmakers and award-winning veterans during the Eastern Surf Championships. Each festival evening begins with snacks, beverages, and live music. Jennette’s Pier, Nags Head, North Carolina.

Tour de Fort

FREE! September 29 Explore historic Fort Monroe, Phoebus, and Buckroe by bike on one of 5 guided rides ranging from 3 to 20 miles. Tours start and end at Fort Monroe. All ages and skill levels are welcome. Helmets are required for those under 14. Fort Monroe, Hampton.

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