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Fun things to do in Virginia and beyond this summer

A group of wild ponies, horses, of Assateague Island on the beach in Maryland, USA. These animals are also known as Assateague Horse or Chincoteague Ponies. They are a breed of feral ponies that live in the wild on an island off the coast of Maryland and Virginia. It is unknown how the animals originally populated the island, although there are a few legends.

An editor-curated list of the best fairs, festivals, events, and other things to do in Virginia and surrounding states.

July

Totally Tribute Music Fest

FREE! July 1–3 Spend a weekend jamming to your favorite tunes on the scenic oceanfront. High-energy tribute bands will play popular songs from genres such as classic rock, country, and pop. (757) 385-7873. 17th Street and 24th Street parks, Virginia Beach.

4th of July Great American Picnic & Fireworks

FREE! July 4 Bring the family to a patriotic picnic on Norfolk’s waterfront. Pack a picnic basket or buy American fare, including hot dogs, burgers, barbecue, seafood, watermelon, corn, and all the fixings. Enjoy a fireworks show at 9:30 p.m. and live entertainment. (757) 441-2345. Town Point Park, Norfolk.

Chincoteague Island Pony Swim

FREE! July 27–28 Saltwater cowboys on horseback will round up more than 150 wild ponies that live on Assateague Island. Fawn over the swimming equines as they wade from Assateague to Chincoteague islands. The foals are auctioned at the carnival grounds, and festivities include rides, food, live music, and games. Watch the action from the beach or rent a seat on a charter boat. (757) 336-6161. Chincoteague.

Olde Towne Antique and Flea Market

Old Towne Flea Market

FREE! July 2 Find a treasure while strolling through Olde Towne’s antiques flea market. More than 70 vendors sell antique wares, such as estate furniture, china, silverware, architectural salvage, and books. Other finds include one-of-a-kind items, handmade crafts and toys, and decorative accessories. (757) 339-1876. 441 Middle Street, Portsmouth.

44th Annual Wright Kite Festival

July 16–17 Send your kite soaring where Wilbur and Orville took their first flight in 1903. Take a free lesson on stunt- and power-kite flying and craft your own at the kids' kite station. Watch 30- to 100-foot kites fly while roaming the grounds of the Wright Brothers National Memorial. Adults, $10. (252) 473-2111. Kill Devil Hills, N.C.

August

ABBA the Concert

August 6 Dance in your seat to the iconic tunes of ABBA. The authentic tribute band features fan favorites, including “Mamma Mia,” “Waterloo,” “Money, Money, Money,” “Dancing Queen,” and “Winner Takes All.” Adults, $39.50$59.50. (757) 385-2787. Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, Virginia Beach.

Seawall Art Show

FREE! August 27–28 Enjoy the creative wares of more than 85 artists while strolling the streets of historic Olde Towne’s waterfront. Featured art includes glassware, painting, fine jewelry, wood carving, handwoven clothing, and pottery. A student art show and live entertainment are also scheduled. (757) 393-8983. High Street between Crawford and Court streets, Portsmouth.

Virginia Honey Bee Festival

August 20 Get the buzz about bees during a day filled with bee products, vendors, honey tastings, and educational activities. Learn how to raise bees and select plants to create a bee-friendly yard. Look inside a beehive and join activities in the Children’s Garden and festival site. Adults, $16. (757) 441-5830. Norfolk Botanical Garden, Norfolk.

The Lost Colony Outdoor Drama

Through August 20 The longest-running outdoor symphonic drama in the U.S. will celebrate its 85th season telling the story of the first attempted settlement of the English Europeans in America circa 15841587. Enjoy a magical evening of dance, drama, and music set on Roanoke Island. Adults, $25-$40. (252) 473-6000. Historic Waterside Theatre, Manteo, North Carolina.

Crab Crackin’

August 20 Feast on an all-you-can-eat menu including steamed blue crabs; barbecue; and shrimp boiled with sausage, sweet corn, and potatoes while enjoying live music on the front lawn of Ker Place. Tickets, $60. (757)787-8012. Ker Place, Onancock.

September

Neptune Festival Boardwalk Weekend

FREE! September 30–October 2 The boardwalk comes alive for an oceanfront festival that features master international sand sculptors and more than 200 artists selling their wares. Events include a Grand Parade, Atlantic Regatta, student art show, 8K run (entry fee required), and live entertainment. Festival also includes a family fun zone and Neptune’s Healthy Haven with beach yoga. (757) 498-0215. Boardwalk between 6th and 36th streets, Virginia Beach.

NashFest 757 Music and Food Festival

FREE! September 17 Celebrate Nashville’s southern culture and cuisine on Norfolk’s waterfront. The music and food festival will feature national and local recording artists, line dancing, hot chicken, barbecue, craft beer, and whiskey tastings. (757) 441-2345. Town Point Park, Norfolk.

Portsmouth Paddle Battle

FREE! September 10 Compete in stand-up paddleboard and kayak categories. The race course is along the Elizabeth River from High Street Landing in Olde Towne to Hammerhead Crane on the Norfolk Naval Shipyard Historic Drydock and back. Also included are a military challenge, live music, food, drinks, prizes, and kids' activities. Cost to compete, $40. (757) 393-5111. Olde Towne, Portsmouth.

Bayshore Experience

FREE! September 17 Take a virtual stroll down memory lane at the premier seaside resort for African Americans during the Jim Crow era. Visit Hampton History Museum’s collections of photos and artifacts from 5 beaches in North Carolina and Virginia Beach. Enjoy music, memorials, portrait unveilings, videos, and skits at this after-hours event, which takes place from 6 to 8 p.m. (757) 727-1102. Hampton History Museum, Hampton.

Rhythm and Respighi

September 23 The Virginia Symphony Orchestra and Norfolk’s Rhythm Project All Stars bring a local flair to Respighi’s “Pines of Rome;” Louis Gottschalk’s Creole-inspired favorite, “Symphony No. 1: A Night in the Tropics;” and Bruch’s “Scottish Fantasy.” Eric Jacobsen conducts this upbeat classical performance, which features Simone Porter on violin.Tickets from $25. (757) 892-6366. Ferguson Center, Newport News.

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AAA Travel Alert: Many travel destinations have implemented COVID-19–related restrictions. Before making travel plans, check to see if hotels, attractions, cruise lines, tour operators, restaurants, and local authorities have issued health and safety-related restrictions or entry requirements. The local tourism board is a good resource for updated information.

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