The Nellis Group has put together an impressive list of Northern Virginia festivals, holidays, and parades that occur throughout the year. Whether you're seeking family-friendly festivals or an adults-only scene, this list has you covered!
These NoVA festivals are devoted to some of everything like springs floral bounty, food, summer fairs, carnivals, arts and crafts, holiday lights, beer, wine, animals and farms, history, and so much more.
We have grouped these activities by season, and since they may change year-to-year based on the calendar, check back in from time to time for any variances, changes or new additions!
McLean Chocolate Festival, McLean
American Heritage returns with their demonstration of how chocolate was made in Colonial America. They have a room dedicated to live entertainment for the whole family. The Trillium Trio and the Sunshine Gang will be back from last year!
Chocolate Lovers Festival, Fairfax
A weekend festival for chocolate lovers, with tastings, activities, entertainment, and open houses at historic buildings throughout downtown Fairfax.
The Chocolate Lovers Festival was developed in 1992 as a joint effort of the City of Fairfax, Central Fairfax Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Fairfax Coalition, Downtown Fairfax Merchants Association and George Mason University. The purpose of the festival was to draw visitors to Old Town Fairfax, to encourage community participation and to foster cooperation among the city government, the business community and local residents.
The first festival was held in February 1993 and continues an annual tradition with "love of chocolate" as a unifying theme. This popular festival continues to attract chocolate lovers from around the country.
George Washington Birthday Parade, Alexandria
Thousands will join in the revelry for the 288th anniversary of George Washington’s birth in his adopted hometown of Alexandria, Virginia. The city celebrates the General’s birthday throughout the month of February with more than 15 festive events, including the George Washington Birthday Parade, a Cherry Challenge among Alexandria’s restaurants, free admission to historic sites, popular walking tours and an 18th-century banquet and ball.
Alexandria St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Alexandria
Visitors and residents are invited to don their green and line King Street in Old Town Alexandria to kick off the region’s St. Patrick’s Day celebrations at the 39th Annual Alexandria St. Patrick’s Day Parade, presented by the Ballyshaners, a nonprofit organization that aims to promote and preserve Irish heritage. More than 2,000 participants will march in this year’s parade, including the Notre Dame Alumni Band, dog rescue groups, pipe and drum bands, historical re-enactors, Shriners and Kena cars, and Irish dancers. The parade starts at 12:30 p.m. at King and Alfred Streets and ends at Lee and Cameron Streets. Come early at 10:30 a.m. for the Fun Dog Show on Market Square, which benefits the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria. More than 30 costumed dogs will compete in a range of categories, including Best Human/Canine Look-Alike, Most Talented and Most St. Paddy’s Spirit. The dogs will then kick off the parade at 12:15 p.m.
Women in Aviation and Space, Centreville
WAS are opening their doors to your family for a day full of hands-on activities, inspiring women, and fun challenges to celebrate women’s contributions to space, aviation, and STEM fields.
This family day is designed to introduce every member of your unique family to groundbreaking women of the past and the women driving us into the future.
- Women in Aviation and Space Day
- Women in Aviation and Space Family Day
- Women in Aviation and Space Family Day at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
- Meet Inspiring Women Working in the Field Today
STEM professionals and air traffic controllers are ready to answer your questions about a career in science and flight.
Curators will talk about women working in space and military demonstration pilots.
-Challenge Your Family and Friends
-Test your skills in our flight simulators.
-Join Girl Scout and Brownie troops in a build your own flyer design challenge.
-Snap A “We Can Do It!” Photo
Step into Rosie the Riveter’s “We Can Do It” poster at our dress-up, photo station.
Sit Back, Relax, and Learn! Take a break at one of the story times, featuring I’m Amelia Earhart, or learn how to identify stars in the inflatable planetarium.
National Capital Area Cake Show, Fairfax High School
View spectacular decorated cake displays by world-class sugar artists at the annual National Capital Area Cake Show. The festival features demonstrations, hands-on classes, vendors, bake sales, and a chance to meet celebrity TV sugar artists. The Cake Show was not held in 2019 but returns in 2020.
Spring Festival and Easter Egg Hunts, Ticonderoga Farms
Weekend Easter Egg Hunts & Activities Admission for Ages 2 & up child $14.95 per and $12.95 per adult. Hunts will take place promptly at 10 am, 12 pm and 2 pm on Saturdays and Sundays, during our Spring Festival dates March 10th to April 8th. Please arrive and check in 30 minutes prior to hunt time. Easter Baskets must be utilized, no large back packs or bags. The Hunt is set up so that each child obtains a typical Easter basket full of eggs (25). Baskets available for purchase upon arrival. Meet and Greet with the Easter Bunny 30 minutes prior to the hunt time and find the Golden Goose Egg for an extra special prize! There are many other activities included with your admission to enjoy, including: giant slide hills, huge jumping pillows, hayrides, animal feeding areas, pedal kart track, swinging bridge, and much more! There will be 4 different age groups in separate areas for each Egg Hunt: Ages 0-2, 3&4, 5&6 and 7+. Food vendors will be on-site for Full Plate items, tasty treats and snacks from 11 am-4 pm. The market has refreshments, snacks, marshmallows and S’mores from 9:30 am to Close. *The pillow, pedal kart and Hayride shut down at 4 pm. Entrance gate will close at 4:00 pm daily. *Pets are NOT allowed. An ADA approved vest/hanger wearing service animal is allowed.
Founder’s Day Festival, Lake Anne Plaza, Reston
The 53rd anniversary of Reston’s founding by our beloved Robert (Bob) Simon, Jr. will be held April 8, 2017 at Lake Anne Plaza at 12:00 p.m.
Founders Day 2014Founder’s Day will feature activities for all ages and will focus on the past, present, and future of Reston. The event is open to the whole community.
Founder’s Day is presented by Reston Historic Trust and Museum, Reston Association, Reston Community Center, Initiative for Public Art—Reston, and Lake Anne of Reston Condominium Association.
As part of the celebrations, Restonians will be able to leave their mark on Reston with commemorative bricks. Residents can donate bricks in their name, or in memory of a loved one.
Bluebells at the Bend, Riverbend Park, Great Falls
The Bluebells at the Bend Festival features live music, wildflower walks, live animals, face painting, wagon rides, and other family-friendly activities. The event is wonderful, but it can get crowded so arrive early.
Loudoun Hunt Point to Point Races, Oatlands, Leesburg
Take a trip to Loudoun’s famed horse country to experience the thrill of racing during the Loudoun Hunt Point to Point Races at Oatlands Historic House and Gardens. Enjoy brunch and a series of races including the unique side saddle event featured in the hit PBS series Downton Abbey.
Festival of Spring, Burnside Farms, Nokesville
The Festival of Spring is a unique, magical event that's fun for the whole family. Burnisde Farms plants more than 1.5 MILLION tulips and daffodils on about eight acres for one of the most spectacular pick-your-own events in North America!
Exact timing is very hard to predict as these flowers bloom according to the spring weather patterns and Mother Nature is in charge of that. Checking the field reports page here on their website, Facebook, or Instagram pages is strongly advised before planning a visit. The blooming season usually opens around mid-April (on average) and lasts about 21-30 days (all depending on the weather). The most flowers are in bloom for about 10 days in the middle of the season.
Alexandria Historic Homes & Garden Tour, Alexandria
Tour privately owned Old Town homes and gardens and enjoy refreshments at a private homes. Admission to historic properties is included and many feature special sales. The Carlyle House is a popular stop on the tour to learn about the history of Old Town Alexandria. Find more ways to Celebrate Spring in Northern Virginia with Festivals and Fun Adventures recommended by local experts.
Join Gunston Hall for a day of kite flying and family fun during the annual Kite Festival! With children's activities, crafts, and guided tours, there will be fun for all ages.
Kites will be available for purchase in the museum shop.
Apple Blossom Festival, Winchester
Winchester’s most well-known event the Apple Blossom Festival, now in its 93rd year, is an annual event organized by the private Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival organization and held in the City of Winchester and Frederick County. Attracting large crowds, the festival includes a week of events such as the Old Town Bloomin’ Wine Festival, Apple Blossom Carnival, dances, parades, band concerts, luncheons, parties and much more. For a full list of festival events and information visit the official website: TheBloom.com.
Although the event is not organized by the City of Winchester, logistic support is provided by the City. For road closures, changes to parking and other city related information visit the city’s information page at: https://www.winchesterva.gov/shenandoah-apple-blossom-festival.
Revolutionary War Weekend, Mount Vernon
Mount Vernon's serene 12-acre field transforms into a battleground as hundreds of Continentals, Redcoats, and Hessians conduct military drills, perform cavalry demonstrations, and engage in 18th-century battle reenactments. Throughout the weekend, wander through the encampment and meet the soldiers, discuss military techniques, and meet General Washington. Young visitors can join a youth muster on the bowling green and participate in 18th-century demonstrations to understand life as a soldier in the Continental Army.
Pirate Fest, Lake Fairfax Park
This festival celebrates Virginia’s seafaring past. Join with Pyrates Royale singing traditional sea chanteys, tavern tunes and pirate ditties. Experience the life of a sailor firsthand with our many fun activity stations. Wear your most dashing pirate clothes and enter our costume contest. Learn about global trade in the 18th century and discover the luxury goods from international ports that compelled pirates to sail the seven seas.
Tailgating at the Virginia Gold Cup races is a time-honored tradition, so make the most of the day and participate in the Tailgate Contest. The best tailgates have a theme, decorations and special food and drink recipes. Reserved tailgating spots are available on the North Rail, South Rail, and on Members Hill.
Manassas Air Show, Manassas Airport
The Manassas Airport Regional Business Alliance is proud to present the Manassas Airshow. The airshow is an all-day family friendly event featuring aerial performers from across the USA. There will be food, fun, flying and lots to do. We at MARBA (The Manassas Airport Regional Business Alliance) aim to help inspire the next generation of aviators and aviation professionals by hosting those from around the aviation industry to put their organizations on display for you to see. The aviation industry needs more pilots and professionals now more than ever before. Will you take flight?
Spring Wine Festival and Sunset Tour, Mount Vernon
Join Mount Vernon for its most popular event of the year! Sample wines from Virginia's finest wineries while enjoying delicious food, live music, and spectacular views at the estate.
Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival, Reston
The Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival is one of the “top five” outdoor art festivals in the country with a long-standing reputation for showcasing high-quality hand-crafted, one-of-a-kind artwork in a dynamic outdoor setting that draws affluent and knowledgeable clientele. This unique event is presented in Reston Town Center and attracts approximately 30,000 patrons annually from the Washington, DC metropolitan region, and beyond.
Quarterfest (formerly Taste of Arlington), Arlington
The festival is free and open to the public, but you will need a Crawl passport booklet to join the Quarterfest Restaurant Crawl, drink tickets for the pop-up street pub, and a wristband to enter the Arlington Culinary Discovery Pavilion and Beverage University. To find out more about tickets, wristbands, and passports, please the link above.
Oatlands Strawberry Festival, Leesburg
Oatlands and Wegmeyer Farms has planted Oatlands fields with strawberries! Come to Oatlands first annual Strawberry Festival this Spring -- there will strawberries galore and more!
Viva! Vienna! Festival, Vienna
The Rotary Club of Vienna sponsors the ViVa! Vienna! event, which celebrates the unity and strength of the Vienna community and honors Memorial Day. This event, a time of family fun and pleasure, serves as a major fund-raising opportunity for the Rotary Club so that it may, in turn, provide support for charitable, educational, and community groups the following year.
Delaplane Strawberry Festival, Sky Meadows State Park
Bring the whole family and enjoy a fun and festive day in the Virginia countryside at Sky Meadows State Park near Delaplane, VA. The festival is put on by Emmanuel Episcopal Church and proceeds fund outreach ministries within the church and grants to worthy organizations in the local community, state and beyond.
Enjoy hayrides, old fashioned field games, dancing, music, magic, storytelling, crafts, a petting farm, bake sale, hikes in the shadow of the Appalachian Trail, face painting, cake-walking, Corn Hole, a monkey, and much more!
Pack your own picnic or snack on festival fare and strawberry sundaes! Make a whole day of it and don’t forget to take home a flat of delicious fresh strawberries!
Maker Faire is a gathering of fascinating, curious people who enjoy learning and who love sharing what they can do. From engineers to artists to scientists to crafters, Maker Faire is a venue for these "makers" to show hobbies, experiments, projects.
It is called the Greatest Show (& Tell) on Earth - a family-friendly showcase of invention, creativity, and resourcefulness.
Glimpse the future and get inspired!
This year’s Memorial Day weekend concert at the Filene Center for the Performing Arts pays tribute to “The Greatest Generation.” To mark the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, the Marine Band offers an entertaining and heartfelt musical homage to the men and women who faithfully served in one of the most consequential wars in our history, with Aaron Copland’s iconic Fanfare for the Common Man, several rousing military marches, a special collection of popular songs of the day, and a moving tribute to lives lost in service to their country. As is tradition, the concert will conclude with a performance of Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s immortal 1812 Overture and a medley of the Armed Forces’ service songs, followed by one of the best fireworks displays of the year. Don’t miss this musical salute to our nation and its heroes!
Memorial Day Festival and Parade, Falls Church
For more than 30 years, the City of Falls Church has hosted an annual Memorial Day Festival and Parade. This year, join over 10,000 visitors to City Hall grounds to enjoy the Don Beyer Fun Run; Memorial Day Ceremony; children's activities; food, civic, and retail vendors; and of course, the parade!
One of Northern VA's largest FREE outdoor Festivals is located at Northwest Federal Credit Union, 200 Spring St. Enjoy four days of fun-filled activities, vendors, and entertainment. Save time and money, park for free and ride our complimentary shuttle bus. The best part is, admission and entertainment are always free!
Vintage Virginia Wine and Food Festival, Bull Run Regional Park
For the first time in over 39 years GUESTS can now enjoy not only Wine & Ciders from VA’s best producers – but also this year, there is a special area with over 50 VA-Crafted Beers and Spirits. VIP or add on ticket is required.
Occoquan Spring RiverFest, Occoquan
Occoquan’s RiverFest & Craft Show will include an Artisan’s Walk where you can browse juried art and craft vendors, plus a vendor marketplace dedicated to conservation and outdoor water sports such as boating, scuba, kayaking, and stand-up paddle boarding. The event will also feature activities such as live entertainment, two food courts, a beer garden, river cruises, and stand-up paddleboard and kayak slalom races. Hope to see you then!
Manassas Heritage Railway Festival, Manassas
Experience Manassas this June by attending the 25th Annual Manassas Heritage Railway Festival! This family celebration of rich railroad history features excursion train rides, model train displays, train memorabilia, specialty vendors, and live performances. The festival is free to attend; Fees apply to train excursions.
Cardboard Boat Regatta, Lake Accotink
Whether you’re racing or just watching, it’s always fun to see which boats will sink and which will float to the finish at the popular Cardboard Boat Regatta. Teams compete for bragging rights in multiple age groups and categories. Allow extra time to enjoy a hike around Lake Accotink.
Taste of Del Ray Food Festival, Alexandria
Mark your calendars, clean your palates and prepare to taste some of the yummiest tastes ever at the 7th Annual Taste of Del Ray, sponsored by the Del Ray Business Association (DRBA) the event will take place on Sunday, June 7th from 1:00 – 3:00 pm.
Over fifteen neighborhood restaurants will participate in the outdoor competition that will name the 2015 Judge’s Choice and People’s Choice awards. Ticket holders will enjoy a variety of tastes and cast their votes in the lot behind the United Bank at 2401 Mt. Vernon & E. Oxford Avenues.
Celebrate Fairfax!, Fairfax County Government Center
Celebrate Fairfax!, Northern Virginia’s largest community-wide celebration at the Fairfax County Government Center. Presented by Celebrate Fairfax, Inc., the annual festival hosts tens of thousands of visitors during the three-day run.
The 25-acre site was magically filled with fascinating sights and sounds of more than 300 exhibitors, food vendors, and interactive activities. Celebrate Fairfax! showcases live concerts on seven stages, Inova Children’s Hospital Avenue, a petting zoo, the Fairfax County Karaoke Championship, carnival rides, and great festival foods. Another fun free activity for kids is the Fairfax Express Trackless Train Ride.
Nightly fireworks, presented by Leidos, are a highlight of the festival, and one of many great family programs. This year’s Bud Light Main Stage will feature top national headline
performers: Hoobastank on Friday night and Young MC, Rob Base, Tone Loc & Sugarhill Gang on Saturday night!
All are invited to create chalk drawings on Market Street at the fifth annual ChalkFest at Reston Town Center! This two-day event is open to professional artists, amateur artists, as well as families and kids of all ages. Prizes will be awarded in all categories in addition to the Audience Choice Awards.
The Loudoun County Fair has been part of the history and tradition of Northern Virginia for many years. In its 84th year, the fair is one of the longest running annual events in Loudoun County. Over the years it has grown to a large-scale community event aimed at educating the public about local agriculture and livestock while providing families with a week of affordable entertainment. The fair runs from July 23 – July 28.
Fairfax County 4-H Fair and Carnival, Frying Pan Park
The 72nd Annual 4-H Fair and Carnival will take place at Frying Pan Farm Park July 30 - August 2, 2020. Plan now to come to Herndon, VA for four days of fresh air, farm fun and good times for you, your friends, family and neighbors. You'll see livestock and 4-H exhibits, enjoy delicious fair food, and you can enter your creation in the fair and try your hand at milking a cow or goat. Don’t miss the carnival rides, games and live entertainment.
Prince William County Fair, County Fairgrounds, Manassas
The largest County Fair in the state of Virginia features 9 days of livestock and home arts exhibits, tractor pulls, a rodeo, demolition derbies, baby contests, live music, and much more. You’ll find a great midway, carnival rides, traditional fair food, and 4-H Club demonstrations at the fair.
Arlington County Fair, Arlington
Five days of celebration include a Saturday parade, racing piglets, pony rides, and lots of family fun. The free fair includes competitive exhibits from beeswax to photography, a Kids Court with special activities, carnival rides, live entertainment; and more.
Virginia Scottish Games and Festival, The Plains
Celebrate the Scottish heritage of the Commonwealth as top athletes from around the country compete in traditional competitions of strength and skill. The event includes music, dance, crafts, a car show, sheep-herding demonstrations, children’s activities, and plenty of Scottish food and drink.
Virginia Indian Festival, Riverbend Park, Great Falls
Celebrate the culture and history of the First Families of Virginia. Meet members of eight tribes, who will educate visitors with dance, music, crafts, food, demonstrations, and hands-on activities.
Alexandria King Street Art Festival, Alexandria
Over six blocks of King Street are transformed into an outdoor art gallery with more than 200 artists from across the country.
Another of the family-friendly festivals in Northern Virginia features blues & country music, traditional crafts, a free Children’s Fair, farm animals, homemade food, local wine-tasting, breweries, gourmet treats, and more in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Visit nearby Dirt Farm Brewing for Brews with Views, or hike to a spectacular view at Bears Den Overlook.
Cox Farms Fall Festival, Centreville
An extravaganza of slides, rope swings, pumpkins, animals, music, food, and one of the best and longest hayrides east of the Mississippi is a must-do on every family’s fall list. Teens enjoy nighttime fun and scares at the Fields of Fear.
Lovettsville Oktoberfest, Lovettsville
The annual Lovettsville Oktoberfest features street vendors, a Kinderfest, Wiener Dog Races, strolling musicians, three stages of live music, dancing, a Stein Hoisting competition, and plenty of food and beer.
Dulles Day Plane Pull, Dulles Airport
Cheer on teams of adults who compete to pull a 164,000+ pound Airbus, or the Kids Truck Pull which pits teams of children against a big red dump truck. Enjoy the annual car show, live music, concessions, exhibits, and military and civilian aircraft displays, and a 10K/5K.
Eight city blocks are open for a day of music, food, drink, and fun. Enjoy musical performances, Clarendon restaurants, Virginia wine and beer, an Arts and Crafts promenade, and a Kid’s Zone.
Reston Multicultural Festival, Reston
Lake Anne Plaza fills with color, music, and culture at this annual festival celebrating the diversity and vibrancy of Reston’s community with performances, arts and crafts, food, and activities.
Fall for Fairfax KidsFest, Fairfax
The Fairfax Government Center lawn fills with fun activities for the Elementary and Pre-K crowd. Pumpkin painting, scarecrow making, pony rides, petting zoo, three stages of live entertainment, plus rides, games, and more.
Attend Virginia’s oldest juried crafts fair to tour historic homes, watch demonstrations by juried heritage craftspeople, and enjoy activities for children, traditional music and dance, Colonial encampments, and more.
Head to charming Clifton for a day of family-friendly activities. Attractions include crafts, live entertainment, pony rides, children’s activities, a Civil War reenactment and plenty of food and beverage choices.
Virginia Wine Festival, Centreville
The longest-running wine festival on the East Coast returns to Bull Run Regional Park each year featuring local wines, live music, food trucks, and vendors selling local food and wares.
Fall Harvest Family Days, Mount Vernon
Enjoy a hay maze and wagon ride, watch 18th-century dancing and blacksmithing demonstrations and experience early American games and music at the annual Harvest Family Days at George Washington’s Mount Vernon. Your admission includes a visit to George Washington’s Distillery and Gristmill, where you’ll learn about Washington’s successful businesses.
Air and Scare Family Day, Centreville
See the spooky side of air and space at this popular Halloween event. Arrive in costume for safe indoor trick-or-treating, creepy crafts, spooky science experiments, and other Halloween-themed activities. Find spookier and kid-friendly fun in our guide Halloween in Northern Virginia Haunted Trails and Trick-or-treating
Aldie Harvest Festival, Aldie
Learn about notable events and people in local history, watch milling at the Aldie Mill, cheer on your favorite at the Aldie Duck Race, and shop for antiques and collectibles.