Celebrate Fairfax carnival 2015

70 Favorite Festivals in Northern Virginia: A Year of Fun Events Near Washington DC

These 70 festivals in Northern Virginia bring parades, fairs, and extra fun to the Washington DC region throughout the year. Whether your goal is a family-friendly festival in Northern Virginia or an adults only escape from DC, there is an event for you on our list. Bookmark our list so you don’t miss any of the fun.

Our 70 favorite festivals in Northern Virginia are listed in the order they generally take place. Since calendars vary year-to-year, always follow the link for the latest event details. If you don’t see this year’s events dates, don’t worry. These are long-running annual festivals, so check back until dates are updated.

Winter Festivals in Northern Virginia

George Washington Birthday Parade, Photo credit: Tisara Photography

George Washington Birthday Parade, Photo credit: Tisara Photography

Winter Ice Fest and Mega Block Ice Carving Competition, Village at Leesburg

Artists create sculptures from huge blocks of ice. Music and treats add to the fun, and the sculptures are illuminated at dark.

McLean Chocolate Festival, McLean

The Annual McLean Chocolate Festival is a community and family-friendly event. Vendors sell all things chocolate and there are chocolate-related games for children.

Chocolate Lovers Festival, Fairfax

A weekend festival for chocolate lovers, with tastings, activities, entertainment, and open houses at historic buildings throughout downtown Fairfax.

George Washington Birthday Parade, Alexandria

The nation’s largest George Washington Birthday parade follows a one-mile route through the streets of Old Town Alexandria. At nearby Mount Vernon, special activities honor and celebrate George Washington all weekend long, with free admission on President’s Day.

African American Pioneers in Aviation and Space, Centreville

Celebrate the significant contributions African Americans have made to flight and space exploration despite the overwhelming obstacles they had to overcome, with presentations, activities, and stories.

Alexandria St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Alexandria

The Ballyshaners Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade is a family fun celebration that includes a classic car show, a dog show and a Saint Patrick’s Day Parade with over a dozen marching bands, and other groups celebrating Irish heritage.

Women in Aviation and Space, Centreville

The Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum celebrates the accomplishments of women in aviation and space exploration with presentations, activities, and stories.

Maker Faire: NoVa, Reston

The NoVa Maker Faire showcases invention, creativity and resourcefulness, and celebrates the Maker Movement. Attendees of every age will enjoy lots of opportunities to learn and make things.

Founder’s Day Festival, Lake Anne Plaza, Reston

Celebrate Reston’s founding with a fun day honoring the town and it’s founder, Robert E. Simon. Enjoy children’s activities, music, book signings, film screening, and more.

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.

Spring Festivals in Northern Virginia

Bluebells at Riverbend Park, Great Falls Virginia

Bluebells at Riverbend Park, Great Falls Virginia

Bluebells at the Bend, Riverbend Park, Great Falls

This Riverbend Park festival celebrates the blooming of native Virginia bluebells, which blanket the forest floor, with wagon rides, wildflower walks, musical entertainment, and more.

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.

Alexandria Historic Homes & Garden Tour, Alexandria

Tour privately owned Old Town homes and gardens, and enjoy refreshments at a private home. Admission to historic properties are included and many feature special sales

Kite Fest, Gunston Hall

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.

Revolutionary War Weekend, Mount Vernon

George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate hosts one of the largest Revolutionary War encampments of the year. See Continentals, Redcoats, and cannons in action on the estate, plus other Revolutionary War themed activities throughout the weekend.

Pirate Fest, Lake Fairfax Park

Arr, you’ll be talkin’ like a pirate at the annual Lake Fairfax Pirate Fest, celebrating Virginia’s seafaring past. Sing traditional sea chanteys and experience the life of a sailor at fun activity stations.

Virginia Gold Cup, The Plains

Watch the running of the world famous Virginia Gold Cup steeplechase race at Great Meadow in The Plains. Race day activities include terrier races, shopping, hat contests, tailgate contests, and some of the best steeplechase racing you’ll find anywhere.

Manassas Air Show, Manassas Airport

A day of family fun for aviation lovers. Skydivers, helicopters, jets, and aerobatic aircraft perform in the air while aircraft displays provide fun on the ground.

Spring Wine Festival and Sunset Tour, Mount Vernon

This sell-out event celebrates the history of wine in Virginia with exclusive evening tours of the Mansion and cellar, appearances by “George and Martha Washington”, and live jazz on the east lawn overlooking the Potomac.

Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival, Reston

The Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival returns to Reston Town Center every year for a weekend of quirky, unique, and beautiful art. There is also live entertainment and food, so it makes a fun day trip.

18th Century Colonial Market Fair, Claude Moore Regional Park

Shop for 18th century fashions, play games, watch a children’s puppet theatre, and enjoy a hearty lunch with wine or ale from the Tavern. The Colonial Market Fair returns each season.

Taste of Arlington, Arlington

Over 50 restaurants showcase Arlington’s food scene. Enjoy free live music and dance or relax in the Beer & Wine Garden.

Oatlands Strawberry Festival, Leesburg

The Oatlands Strawberry Festival features children’s games, music, dancing, and a hay ride that takes riders on a tour through the historic grounds. Food vendors, beer, and wine are available for purchase along with special strawberry-related items.

Viva! Vienna! Festival, Vienna

Celebrate the long Memorial Day weekend with rides, food, crafts, vendors, and entertainment. 100% of the  proceeds go to charitable, community and humanitarian organizations.

Delaplane Strawberry Festival, Sky Meadows State Park

Head to Sky Meadows for hayrides, old fashioned field games, dancing, music, magic, storytelling, crafts, a petting farm, an antique car show, a bake sale, hiking, and children’s activities. Pack your own picnic or purchase lunch and, of course, strawberry shortcake and sundaes.

Summer Festivals in Northern Virginia

Herndon Festival carousel

Wolf Trap Summer Blast-off!

“The President’s Own” United States Marine Band launches Wolf Trap’s summer season with a program of concert band favorites, followed by a fireworks display. The event is free but arrive early to guarantee a spot; the park will close at capacity.

Memorial Day Festival and Parade, Falls Church

In addition to the annual parade, the Falls Church festival includes a 3K Fun Run, plus amusement rides, arts and crafts, food, pony rides, and live entertainment.

Herndon Festival, Herndon

Four days of fun combine an outdoor concert series with a summertime carnival. The event includes two fireworks displays, an arts and craft show, business expo, 10K/5K races, fitness expo, and a Kids’ Alley where children can have a hands-on art experience.

Occoquan Arts and Crafts Spring Show, Occoquan

Occoquan hosts two arts and crafts festivals in Northern Virginia. The historic town closes its streets as over 300 contemporary and country crafters and artisans from around the country offer their wares.

Vintage Virginia Wine and Food Festival, Bull Run Regional Park

One of the popular wine and food festivals in Northern Virginia takes place at Bull Run Regional Park. Enjoy Virginia’s best wine, delicious food truck fare, and top-tier musical entertainment, and shop for local artisan products.

Manassas Heritage Railway Festival, Manassas

Celebrate Virginia’s rich railroad history at a day-long event featuring train memorabilia, specialty vendors, and live performances, then board a train excursion for a fun-filled ride to Clifton and back.

28th Annual 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.

Taste of Del Ray Food Festival, Alexandria

Sample Del Ray neighborhood restaurants and vote for your favorites at one of the popular foodie festivals in Northern Virginia.

Celebrate Fairfax!, Fairfax County Government Center

The weekend-long Celebrate Fairfax! Festival features 25 acres of concerts, carnival rides, nightly fireworks, family programs, green living info, giant lawn games, and more family fun. More than 130 performances on eight stages present national, regional and local artists.

Chalk on the Water, Lake Anne, Reston

Join professional and amateur artists and families at Lake Anne Plaza to create and view beautiful chalk artworks.

Family Day and Outdoor Aviation Display, Centreville

Indulge Dad’s love of aviation at the Smithsonian Udvar-Hazy Center. Check out more than 50 vintage, recreational, military, and home-built aircraft paired with vintage cars, and talk to their pilots.

Photo: National Air and Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center

Photo: National Air and Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center

Northern Virginia Summer Brewfest, Manassas

Indulge in beer tasting fun at a craft beer festival featuring summer seasonal brews from regional craft breweries, plus food, entertainment, crafts, and exhibits.

Purcellville Wine & Food Festival, Purcellville

Enjoy live music from a variety of local musicians, wineries, craft breweries, gourmet foods, and wine related art and accessories.

Loudoun County Fair, Leesburg

Experience a true country fair featuring 4-H animals, crafts, carnival rides, entertainment, food, livestock auctions, professional bull riding, and a mini demolition derby. Take a ride at the carnival, enjoy children’s activities and a pet show, enter the kiss-a-pig contest, and indulge in county fair favorites.

Fairfax County 4-H Fair and Carnival, Frying Pan Park

Join in old-fashioned country fun with carnival games, rides, 4-H exhibits, animal shows, and entertainment. Enjoy traditional Fair food and watch stage entertainment, dog and horse shows, and more.

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 bees wax to photography, a Kids Court with  special activities, carnival rides, live entertainment; and more.

Fall Festivals in Northern Virginia

Beanstalk slide Cox Farms

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, plenty of Scottish food and drink, and more.

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.

Bluemont Fair, Bluemont

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 at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

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.

23rd Annual Lovettsville Oktoberfest, Lovettsville

The annual 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.

Clarendon Day, Clarendon

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.

Waterford Fair, Waterford

Visit 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.

Clifton Day, Clifton

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.

Northern Virginia Fall Brewfest, Manassas

Craft beer festivals in Northern Virginia features the best in local brews. The NoVa BrewFest is a favorite event to sample beers from local and regional breweries, listen to live music, compete in a corn-hole tournament, and more.

Northern Virginia Brewfest line-up

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.

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.

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.

Winter and Holiday Season Festivals in Northern Virginia

Christmas in Middleburg, photo Middleburg Eccentric

Christmas in Middleburg, photo credit: Middleburg Eccentric

Meadowlark Winter Walk of Lights, Vienna

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens lights up for the holidays with over 500,000 lights and displays on a .6 mile outdoor walking trail. After your walk, enjoy hot cocoa and s’mores at the fire pit.

Christmas on the Potomac with ICE!, National Harbor

Marvel at more than 2 million twinkling lights, amazing nightly snowfall, and beautiful dancing fountains at Gaylord National’s Christmas on the Potomac. ICE! returns with a walk-through tent filled with 2 million pounds of ice sculptures and 4 ice slides.

25th Annual Gem, Mineral, & Fossil Show, Fairfax

With over 20 dealers selling minerals, fossils, crystals, gems, jewelry, carvings, meteorites and more, you’re sure to find unique holiday gifts for the geology lover on your list. The event includes demonstrations, hands-on exhibits, door prizes, a Scouts area, and kid’s activities.

Bull Run Festival of Lights, Centreville

A perennial favorite of the holiday festivals in Northern Virginiais a 2.5 mile drive-through display of holiday lights. This is an ideal family activity even for the youngest kids, who stay warm and cozy as you slowly drive through the fun, animated displays.

Holidays Are Here, Reston

Reston Town Center hosts the annual Thanksgiving parade, featuring Macy’s-style balloons. Photos with Santa, mini-train rides, live entertainment, Christmas tree lighting and sing-along, and carriage rides add to the fun.

Christmas in Middleburg, Middleburg

Held during the first weekend in December for over 100 years, the highlight is the “Hunt and Hounds Review” featuring hounds trotting down the main street alongside mounted fox hunt riders. Other activities include a greens sale, craft fair, caroling, a holiday concert, a traditional parade with floats and a progressive food/wine/cider/spirits tasting throughout town.

Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend, Alexandria

The annual Scottish Walk weekend features a parade filled with hundreds of Scottish clansmen complete with bagpipes, the Torpedo Factory Holiday Festival, the Holiday Parade of Boats, and more seaonal fun.

>> Find more holiday season fun in this round-up of 12 Holiday Favorites!

Wolf Trap Holiday Sing-A-Long, Vienna

A favorite family event of the holiday season features the U. S. Marine Band and other vocal groups in a free concert at Wolf Trap. Bring an unwrapped toy to donate, a bell for the jingle bell sing-a-long, and a candle for the closing candlelight procession during the last verse of Silent Night.

Christmas at the National Museum of the Marine Corps, Triangle

On Christmas Family Days, a very magical Santa and Mrs. Claus visits with little ones, and there are activities to keep the young ones busy while they wait in line.

New Year’s Eve at First Night Alexandria, Alexandria

First Night Alexandria transforms Old Town into a big New Year’s Eve celebration with more than 100 live performances at 22 indoor venues and a fireworks display over the river at midnight.

Watch Night, Falls Church

Another of the New Year’s Eve festivals in Northern Virginia, Watch Night spans four blocks with live bands and musicians, amusements, activities, inflatables for all ages, puppet shows, and more.

The list is long, but this is still just a sample of the fantastic events you can enjoy in Northern Virginia and the greater Washington DC area. Visit Fun in Fairfax VA often for our monthly round-up and special highlights of Northern Virginia area events.

What are your “can’t miss” festivals in Northern Virginia? Share your tips in the comments below.

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Things to Do Virginia, Washington DC | US Travel | 70 favorite festivals in Northern Virginia for annual parades, fairs, fests, and fun throughout the DC region.

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