Summer only officially ends on September 22nd, and there’s lots of fun to be had in Northern Virginia before then! If you’ve just moved to the area make sure to check out some of these 19 festivals and fairs that are guaranteed to be a good time…
For the Adults
The Purcellville Wine and Food Festival is taking place this Saturday, July 15th, from 2-8pm at Fireman’s Field. This popular event has been going strong for 6 years now, and has drawn thousands to the cute, small town of Purcellville. Award-winning vineyards and wineries will be offering tastings for a nominal fee, and there will be many beer, food, and artisan vendors. The event features two music stages, a cornhole tournament, and a kid’s area with moonbounce, face painting, art demos, and giveaways. Plenty of free parking is available, as well as shuttles for those who have to park further away from the event. Participants are encouraged to bring chairs and blankets to sit on, and there are many shaded areas to get comfy in. No outside food or alcohol is permitted in, but friendly dogs on leashes are! There will be an on-site ATM, but you’ll be more prepared if you bring cash. Adult tickets are $30 and include a sampling glass and two sampling tickets. Tickets for designated drivers and those aged 16-20 (kids under 15 get in for free!) are $5 and include unlimited bottled water and soda.
Workhouse Brewfest, hosted by the Workhouse Arts Center, will take place from 1-8pm on August 12th—rain or shine! The Workhouse Arts Center is located in Lorton, Virginia on a 55-acre plot that previously housed the historic Lorton Workhouse prison. It’s now home to a community of visual and performing artists, as well as arts educators. Over 100 samples from over 30 Virginia breweries will be given out, and there will be bands, lawn games, food trucks and vendors, workshops, and open art exhibitions throughout the space. General admission tickets are $40 but come with unlimited beer and wine samples and a souvenir glass. Designated driver tickets are $20 and include bottomless craft sodas and ability to hang out in the Root Beer Garden. Parking tickets are $10 if purchased ahead of time online, and $15 at the gate.
The Great Grapes! Wine and Food Festival will be held at The Village at Leesburg from 11am-7pm on September 9th. You receive your souvenir wine glass upon entering and are then able to stroll around the festival with access to unlimited tastings of 150+ wines, live music, festival foods, arts and crafts, gourmet items, and a children’s area. Guests are encouraged to set up blankets or lawn chairs if they want to spend the day, as there are plenty of shopping, food, and entertainment options in The Village at Leesburg itself to continue the fun once the festival is over. Adult admission is $30 online and $35 at the door, while kids are free. This event gives back too, a portion of event proceeds are donated to the Spirit of Hope Children’s Foundation!
The 7th annual Manassas Bands, Brews, and BBQ event will take place on the Manassas Museum Lawn from 12-6pm on September 9th. The Manassas Museum houses permanent and temporary historic exhibitions that showcase Northern Virginia Piedmont history, and is located on 8 grassy acres right near historic downtown Manassas. This event features live music, award-winning craft beer sampling of 60+ brews, and “Northern Virginia’s best barbecue”. Ticket prices will only go up on the day of the event, but in past years it was typically around $35 for tasting tickets and $10 for designated driver tickets.
This year’s Herndon Labor Day Festival will be on September 4th from 11am-5pm, on the Herndon Town Green. Like the previous events, this one also features a wide range of Virginia craft beer and wine tastings! There will also be music, a craft show, vendors, food options, and lawn games. A ticket for tastings is $20, non-tasting tickets are $5, and children 12 and under are free.
For History and Culture Lovers
The Claude Moore Colonial Farm hosts their Claude Moore Colonial Market Fair on the third full weekends of May, July, and October. Your next chance to experience the “Best Family-Friendly Festival”, as voted by readers of Northern Virginia Magazine, is July 15-16 from 11am-4:30pm. Families have a chance to experience this National Park and living history working farm in action with games, music, and historical interpreters. Join up with the militia, shop hand-made furniture at the Cabinet Maker, test your watercolor skills at the Stationer, or grab a local ale at the Tavern. Hands-on crafts will be yours to try your hand at, and you can shop “the finest merchants in the colonies”. Children under 3 are free, kids up to age 12 are $4, and adult tickets are $8.
For the past 26 years the African American Foundation of Prince William County has been hosting the Manassas African American Heritage Festival on the first Saturday in August. This year it will take place on August 5th from 11am-6pm at Metz Middle School. The festival includes over 125 exhibitors of African Wares, arts and crafts dealers, youth groups, college and school exhibits, a Health Fair, business and job expos, food vendors, live entertainment, children’s games, and a classic car show. Best part? Admission to the festival is free!
The Ballyshaners Irish Festival, on August 26th from 11am-7pm, is the annual fundraiser for the Alexandria Saint Patrick’s Day Parade. The festival takes place at Waterfront Park, and admission is free (most of their funds are raised through beer sales). Musicians and Irish dancers perform throughout the day while crowds peruse local vendors selling Irish wares, crafts, jewelry, food, and services.
Get a taste of the 18th century at Mount Vernon’s Colonial Market & Fair on September 16-17th from 9am-5pm. Artisans in colonial attire will demonstrate their craftsmanship with demonstrations in basket weaving, woodcarving, tin and iron work, leather-workings, weaving, furniture-making and more. Historical entertainment will be featured: traditional music, fire-eating, a balloon launch, puppet and magician shows, plus early-American cuisine for dining. Free Potomac River sightseeing cruises will be available, as well as demonstrations of the 18th-century chocolate-making process using an authentic, colonial recipe. Admission to the fair is free with purchase of tickets to Mount Vernon, and you can get a $2 discount when you order online. At the door tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for children aged 6-11, and children under 5 are free.
Kids Will Love
The 69th annual Fairfax County 4H Fair is coming to Frying Pan Farm Park, August 3rd-6th from 10am-9pm. There will be a carnival with rides (can purchase individual tickets or unlimited ride wristbands for $18), food vendors, live music, a nature trail and farm to explore, a carousel, wagon rides, agricultural and equestrian demonstrations, a “Big Truck Night”, animal shows, and a tractor pull. Admission is free, and you’ll want to check their website because if you order in advance you can get a discounted price on ride wristbands, and parking is $8 payable only by cash or check.
On August 5th from 9am-2pm take your kids to the Friendship Firehouse Festival in downtown Alexandria. Admission is free and includes a chance to see the historic Friendship Firehouse museum, originally built in 1855 and now housing the stories of Alexandria’s 19th-century firefighters and their antique firefighting equipment. Children will get a free firefighter hat and supervised visit into some of the city’s fire trucks. There will be music, food, and vendors as well!
The Jolly Shows Carnival is coming back to One Loudoun by popular demand from August 12th-27th. Monday through Friday it’ll be open from 6-11pm, Saturday from 1-11pm, and Sunday from 3-11pm. The carnival features over 40 different attractions, including lots of carnival rides, games, prizes, food, and fun! Unlimited ride wristbands are $25 Monday through Friday and $30 on the weekends.
The Burke Center Conservancy will host the Burke Center Festival from 9:30am-5pm on September 9th and 11am-5pm on September 10th. Featuring a huge arts and crafts festival, karaoke, live dance and musical entertainment, tons of community booths, and an after-hours wine garden. There will also be displays from the Fairfax County Police, Fire & Rescue, and giveaways and drawings. Kids can get their faces painted, ride ponies or amusement park rides, play basketball toss or skee ball, or watch interactive puppet and wildlife shows. Admission is free!
The ChalkFest at Reston Town Center is a unique festival presented by Public Art Reston. On September 15th from 12pm-11pm professional artists and event sponsors will chalk their designs, and on the 16th from 8am-4:30pm the general public can add their own artwork. There will be prizes for professional artists, amateur artists, families and kids, and the “Audience Choice Awards”. Online registration for an art square (4’x4’) is open until 5pm on September 15th and on-site registration begins at 8am on the 16th. For amateurs and families the fee is $15 and for professionals it’s $20.
Northern Virginia County Fairs
All of the county fairs in Northern Virginia include live music, animal shows and demonstrations, contests and games, lots of food vendors, and carnival rides. The Loudoun County Fair (from July 24th-29th) also includes a circus, petting zoo, arts and crafts demonstrations, a magic and hypnosis show, rodeo, monster truck show and demolition derby, and pageants. The Frederick County Fair (July 31st-August 5th) has a petting zoo as well, along with a monster truck and demolition derby, pageants, go-kart racing, and a tractor pull. The Prince William County Fair (August 11th-19th) claims to be Virginia’s largest and most popular fair. It includes a circus, petting zoo, arts and crafts demonstrations, a rodeo, demolition derby, tractor pull, knockerballs, “Jurassic Kingdom” in the kid’s area, motocross, cute baby contests, square dancing, a power wheels derby for kids, wine tastings, and chainsaw art. The Clarke County Fair (August 13th-19th) also features a rodeo, as well as a demolition derby, pageants, and a tractor pull. And, last but not least, the Arlington County Fair (August 16th-20th) is kicked off with a parade, and includes pony rides, and shows performed by the Harlem Wizards.