September 2018 events in Northern Virginia pack every weekend with fun and festivals so it’s going to be tough deciding what to add to your calendar. Labor Day brings a close to summer break, then many annual festivals return with great gatherings and the start of fall fun.
This article has been updated to include cancellations and schedule changes due to Hurricane Florence. Be sure to check ahead for weather-related event changes.
Labor Day Weekend Fun in Northern Virginia, Sep 1 – 3
Celebrate the last long weekend of summer with annual festivals and the end of waterpark fun. We’ve rounded up all the Labor Day events in a separate article. Follow the link for the full line-up and Labor Day weekend details for these and other events:
- Virginia Scottish Games and Festival, Sep 1 – 2
- Apples Gala and Cider Fest, Sep 1 – 2
- Lake Anne Jazz & Blues Fest, Sep 1
- Labor Day Car Show, Sep 3
- Herndon Labor Day Festival, Sep 3
Great Grapes Wine, Art & Music Festival, Leesburg, Sep 8
Sample over 100 wines from 10 local wineries while you enjoy live music, festival food, arts and crafts items for sale, and a fun kids area. Great Grapes! is a popular and casual wine festival for sampling the rich heritage of Virginia vines. $30 in advance, $35 on site, kids 12 and under free. 11:00 – 6:00.
Dog Day at Waterparks and Pools, Sep 8 – 9
When the summer season ends and the parks close to humans, it’s time for annual Dog Day celebrations at Northern Virginia waterparks and pools. All five NOVA Parks-managed waterparks and Signal Bay will welcome furry friends to the pool on September 8th. The Lovettsville Community Pool will also hold a season ending Dog Day swim on the 8th. The Watermine Family Swimmin’ Hole in Reston will host Dog Daze fun on the 9th. Follow the links for rules, registration, and waiver details.
Virginia Indian Festival, Riverbend Park, Great Falls, Sep 8
The annual Virginia Indian Festival celebrates the culture and history of the First Families of Virginia. The festival features eight American Indian tribes from Virginia, including the Rappahannock dancers and drummers. Enjoy performances, hands-on activities and live demonstrations. Hear American Indian storytelling, try a bow and arrow, throw a spear and make stone tools. You can even help build a dugout canoe. Visit the marketplace for American Indian crafts, pottery and jewelry. $8.00 in advance/$12 at gate; 10:00 – 4:00.
Food Wine & Arts Festival, Halstead Square, Dunn Loring Sep 8
Enjoy an afternoon of wine tastings, culinary treats, and pop up art exhibits while supporting a worthy cause at the 3rd annual Food Wine & Arts Festival. Highlights of the festival include food offerings from local restaurants, wine sampling from regional wineries, an outdoor art gallery, paint and sip, and free activities for the kids. Wine sampling is $10 per person and includes a souvenir glass with 100% of the proceeds benefiting Shelter House. Noon – 4:00.
Bands, Brews, and Barbecue Festival, Manassas, Sep 8
The 8th Annual Bands, Brews, and Barbecue Festival returns to Historic Downtown Manassas in September. This ticketed event features award winning craft beers for sampling from breweries like Tin Cannon and BadWolf along with some of Northern Virginia’s best barbecue and live music. Bring your own partner for the free cornhole tournament. $35 for taster ($40 at gate), $10 designated driver. Noon – 6:00.
Rosslyn Jazz Festival, Rosslyn, Sep 8
Save the date for the Rosslyn Jazz Festival, which celebrates its 28th anniversary this year. Enjoy free, high-energy performances by some of the best, most innovative jazz musicians today. Plus, sample a variety of delicious cuisine served by your favorite local food trucks. Free; 1:00 – 7:00.
Truck & Toss, Falls Church, Sep 8
Truck & Toss is a fun-filled Northern Virginia premier food truck, cornhole, and craft brew tasting festival. Enjoy unlimited and sample dishes from the best food trucks in the DMV. Join the Cornhole for a Cause tournament or just play for fun while enjoying unlimited craft beer tastings, tasty food, and hotrods. The Old Dominion Corvette Club will be on site showing off their classic ‘Vettes. New in 2018 – Truck & Toss will feature local artisans at a craft market. There will be free activities for children, too. Tasting tickets are $35; 5:00 – 9:00.
September is Virginia Spirits Month
Honor the spirited traditions and history of Virginia with a visit to one of our many excellent distilleries during Virginia Spirits Month. See the 18th century process and learn about Washington’s business acumen at George Washington’s Gristmill and Distillery. Or take a day trip to Fredericksburg to tour and taste at A. Smith Bowman Distillery. A Catoctin Distillery tasting is one of our favorite things to do in Purcellville.
ChalkFest at Reston Town Center, Reston, Sep 14 – 15
The two-day ChalkFest at Reston Town Center gives professional artists and creative individuals and families a chance to create a work of art in chalk along Market Street. The event begins Friday at noon, when professional artists begin their creations. On Saturday, the competition opens to amateurs and families. There will be a variety of prizes in each category in addition to “Audience Choice Awards”. Even if you don’t want to create your own chalk art, stop by to see the artists in action and enjoy the finished works. Previous year’s artworks were really impressive. Free to attend; spaces are $15 families/amateurs; $20 professionals. Friday noon – 11:00 (businesses and professional artists only), Saturday 8:00 – 4:30.
Bluemont Fair, Bluemont, Sep 15 – 16
Join the family fun at the 48th annual Bluemont Country Fair featuring blues & country music, traditional crafts, a free Children’s Fair, farm animals, homemade food, antiques & collectables, local wine-tasting, breweries & gourmet treats, model railroad display & antique caboose, Country Store, and more. Set in a beautiful and historic village in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, special events include craft & farming demonstrations, 10k race, Farmer’s Market, and a pie-baking/pickle-making contest. While you’re in Bluemont, take a short hike to a spectacular view and visit the most scenic brewery in Northern Virginia. No pets. $7 admission, 9 and under free; 10:00 – 5:00 daily.
Cox Farms Fall Festival, Cox Farms, Centreville, Sep 15 – 16, 22 – Nov 6
If you’re a parent in Northern Virginia you have probably been to Cox Farms Fall Festival. This 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. Yes, it’s mayhem, but it’s happy mayhem. Cox Farms Preview Weekend is your chance to revisit old favorites and try new attractions on its sprawling festival grounds. Tickets are available in advance online, and you can also plan your visit with the online map at the festival website. Get there early! Tickets are $6 to $20 depending on day. 10:00 – 6:00 daily.
Colonial Market & Fair, Mount Vernon, Sep 15 – 16
Join colonial-attired artisans as they demonstrate 18th-century crafts and sell wares such as baskets, woodcarvings, tin and ironwork, leather-workings, weavings, furniture, and more in a traditional market setting. “General Washington” will oversee the Revolutionary War military drills and 18th-century entertainment including music, fire-eating, sword-swallowing, puppet and magic shows. Specialty food we be available for purchase; including chocolate made using an authentic 18th-century colonial recipe. Free Potomac River sightseeing cruises while supplies last. Fair is included with regular admission; 9:00 – 5:00 daily.
Prince William Forest Park Heritage Festival, Triangle, Sep 15
The Prince William Forest Park Heritage Festival celebrates the park’s history as colonial-era farmland, a Civilian Conservation Corps work camp, and a World War II era spy training camp. Take a ride on a hay wagon and enjoy the day in an historic cabin camp exploring food, fun, entertainment and activities. Take home a craft made at the sawmill; listen to music under the canopy of trees; hike with a ranger; shop for gifts at the Eastern National Bookstore; take a shot at the archery range. Food trucks and an ice cream truck sell meals and snacks. Bring a picnic basket from home and enjoy lunch at a table in front of the stage. A variety of exhibitors display everything from ancient technologies to vintage vehicles. 11:00 – 5:00.
Dulles Day Plane Pull, Dulles Airport, Sep 15
Whether you’re pulling the plane or cheering from the sidelines, the Dulles Day Festival & Plane Pull offers lots of family fun. Enjoy the annual car show, live music, concessions, exhibits, and military and civilian aircraft displays. Cheer on teams of 25 who compete to see who can pull a 164,000+ pound Airbus 12 feet the fastest. The Kids Truck Pull pits teams of children against a big red dump truck. Runners can register for the morning 10K/5K. All proceeds help Special Olympics Virginia provide year-round training and athletic competition to more than 11,000 athletes of all ages. 11:00 – 4:00; gates open at 10:30.
16th Annual Alexandria King Street Art Festival, Alexandria, Sep
15 – 16, 22 – 23
The annual King Street Art Festival transforms the city’s historic main street into an outdoor art gallery. Festival booths will line over six blocks of King Street, presenting artwork by more than 200 artists from across the country. All artwork is juried, ensuring a high level of quality, diversity and creativity on display, exemplifying the gifted artists in regions from all over the country. Admission is free; booths open Saturday 10:00 – 7:00, Sunday 10:00 – 5:00.
Lord Fairfax Charity Ride, Sep 22 – 25
Join a charity motorcycle ride led by Lord Nicholas Fairfax, a descendant of the namesake of Fairfax County and a current member of England’s House of Lords. The ride will benefit four Northern Virginia charities. The LFCR will offer multiple ride routes spanning one to four days, with the latter circumnavigating the approximate 5.2 million acres of the original Northern Neck Proprietary/Fairfax Land Grant deeded to the Fairfax family many years ago. Nicholas Fairfax will lead the ride, along with VIP guests including Lady Rose Cecil and former Olympian gold medalist Vic Emery. Choose to ride either 1, 2, or 4 days beginning at the Patriot Harley-Davidson at 8:00 AM on September 22. Follow the link for registration details.
National Public Lands Day, Sep 22
The 25th annual National Public Lands Day (NPLD) is the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer effort for public lands. NPLD works to connect people to public lands in their community, inspire environmental stewardship, and encourage use of public lands for education, recreation, and general health. Families, friends, students, and coworkers will spend the day outdoors giving back to their community by pulling invasive species, maintaining trails, picking up trash, and more. Follow the link to find a volunteer opportunity near you.
Free Entrance to National Parks, Sep 22
In honor of National Public Lands Day, all US National Parks offer fee-free entry on September 22nd. Head to Great Falls Park, Prince William National Forest, Shenandoah National Park, and parks throughout the country for a free day exploring “America’s best idea.”
SlugFest, Hidden Pond Nature Center, Springfield, Sep 22
Join the annual fun with slime-tastic activities like slug races, slug-on-a-spoon, slime toss, slime art, and even slug fortune telling! This event will feature face painting, refreshments, slug-loving critters, and the Slug King and his Queen in the Slug Royalty court! Must register in advance as spots fill quickly. $10; 2:00 – 3:30.
Cox Farms Fields of Fear, Centreville, Opening Sep 22
The older set get their turn for fun when Cox Farms opens their nighttime Fields of Fear. The haunted cornfield and Dark Side Hayride deliver the fear, while the “Firegrounds” offer music, dancing, food and a place to hang out. Tickets start at $15, follow the link for details.
Clarendon Day, Clarendon, Sep 22
The 20th annual Clarendon Day Street Festival is a day of music, food, drink, and 8 city blocks of fun. Enjoy several stages of musical performances, food from a wide range of Clarendon restaurants, Virginia wine and beer, an Arts and Crafts promenade, and a Kid’s Zone with rides, music, story-telling, face-painting, and more. Free admission, 11:00 – 6:00
Reston Multicultural Festival, Lake Anne Plaza, Reston, Sep 22
Lake Anne Plaza will be full of color, music, and culture when the annual Reston Multicultural Festival returns. The festival celebrates the diversity and vibrancy of Reston’s community with performances, arts and crafts, food, and activities. Festival goers are encouraged to dress in attire that represents their culture. Free; 11:00 – 6:00.
Irish Folk Festival, Fairfax, Sep 22
The 223rd annual Irish Folk Festival features a day of music on four stages, plus dancing, vendors, workshops, and Gaelic sports. Admission is $10 ($20 max per family). Noon – 6:30.
Arts in the Alley, Leesburg, Sep 22
Celebrate the arts with local art vendors. The day-long event features art demonstrations, a live art auction, children’s activities, and two stages of live music in downtown Leesburg. Free admission, 10:00 – 6:00.
NAMI Northern Virginia Walk for Mental Health, Tysons Corner Plaza, Sep 22
NAMI Northern Virginia, the local branch of the nation’s largest grassroots mental health nonprofit, hosts their annual walk and community event at Tysons Corner Plaza. Activities include Zumba, face painting, live music, creative art stations, opportunities to learn about local behavioral and emotional health resources, and more, followed by a 1.5-mile walk. 9:00 am.
Reston Farm Market Anniversary Party, Reston, Sep 22
Celebrate the 1st anniversary of the new Reston Farm Market with fun activities including moon bounces, petting zoo, balloon artist, face painting, magician, mini train rides, and more. Food trucks will be on hand and you can pick up your fall pumpkin and mums. $10.00; 11:00 – 5:30.
NatureFest, Runnymeade Park, Herndon, Sep 23
Explore various nature stations throughout the park including butterflies, bees, life in the meadow, web of life, and more. Live animal shows and arts and crafts will be included throughout the day. Free; 1:00 – 5:00.
Fort Belvoir Oktoberfest, Fremont Field at Fort Belvoir, Sep 27 – 30
Fort Belvoir opens it’s gates to the public for a long weekend of German music, food, and fun at the base’s Fremont Field. Many of the festival activities, including the Kinder Korner, 10K Volksmarch, and live music, are free. Purchase an armband for all-day, unlimited rides at the carnival (discounted tickets for military personnel on Sunday). Entrance is open to all, but adults must have a valid State Driver’s License or Military ID to enter. Thurs 6:00 – 10:00, Fri 4:00 – 11:00, Sat noon – 11:00, Sun noon – 8:00.
Fall for Fairfax Kidsfest, Fairfax, Sep 29 -30
Celebrate Fairfax is hosting the 26th annual Fall For Fairfax KidsFest. Enjoy exciting, interactive, and educational programs, entertainment, and activities. Fall For Fairfax KidsFest is specially designed for families with elementary and pre-K aged children. The festival includes two stages of free, live entertainment and a Kidway Midway (ride tickets available for purchase). Admission, most activities and entertainment are free of charge. Sat 10:00 – 7:00, Sun 10:00 – 5:00.
Occoquan Fall Arts and Crafts Show— Sep 29 – 30
The Occoquan Arts and Crafts Show, hosted semi-annually by The Town of Occoquan, is the premiere festival on the east coast for craft enthusiasts of all ages. Stroll along the riverfront walkway, take in the fall foliage, and peruse the numerous craft vendors and artisans that line the main streets of Historic Occoquan. Free admission; Saturday 10:00 – 6:00, Sunday 10:00 – 5:00.
25th Annual Lovettsville Oktoberfest, Lovettsville, Sep 29
Lovettsville hosts its annual Oktoberfest with street vendors, Kinderfest, Wiener Dog Races, strolling musicians, three stages of live music, dancing, an expanded Stein Hoisting competition, and and plenty of food and beer. Admission, parking, Kinderfest, dancing, music, and beer-related contests are all free. Saturday 10:00 – 11:30; check website for schedule info.
Manassas Steins, Wines & Spirits Festival, Manassas, Sep 29
Sample your choice of beverage while listening to live music at the Harris Pavilion in Historic Downtown Manassas. Taste beer from local craft breweries; wine from local wineries; and local distilled spirits. Great food from some of the best food vendors in northern VA will be available. Tickets are $10 to $35. Noon – 6:00.
Merrifield Fall Festival, Mosaic District,
Sep 15 Oct 13
Enjoy live music, food vendors, a beer garden, kids activities, a pet costume contest, crafters, and more in a day of fun at Mosaic District. Free admission, 11:00 – 6:00.
Haymarket Day, Haymarket,
Sep 15, Oct 20
Enjoy a hometown street festival including: a parade featuring local schools, performers, and law enforcement, led by the year’s Town Marshal, as well as dozens of vendors, entertainers, and culinary options. 9:00 – 4:00
No matter which September 2018 events your choose to attend, we wish you great weather and a fun-filled kick-off to fall in Northern Virginia!
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