Virginia Beach lining up entertainment for upcoming tourist season

Neptune Fall Wine Festival
Posted at 12:57 PM, Feb 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-25 18:09:28-05

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Entertainment and tourism could be taking an upswing soon in Virginia Beach, especially at the Oceanfront.

First, the weekend of March 19, the Shamrock Marathon fully returns, according to Kate Napolitano with J & A Racing. It's celebrating its 50th anniversary.

Organizers of the annual Neptune Festival tell News 3 that the boardwalk event will fully return in 2022. It was canceled in 2020 and was able to return in 2021, though organizers say it was sort of last-minute.

The popular Neptune’s Annual Boardwalk Weekend is scheduled for September 30 – October 2. According to organizers, visitors can expect the International Sandsculpting Championship and the art & craft show featuring more than 250 artists, as well as Neptune’s 8k Race, free concerts, a parade and many vendors.

“We are full go-ahead for everything we planned to do this year," said Melanie Gazzalo, director of special events for Neptune Festival. "We haven’t been able to do a full-fledged season of events from May until the end of September since 2019, so we’re really excited."

According to a report from the Planning and Community Development Department of Virginia Beach, in 2018, the Neptune Festival generated nearly $19.2 million dollars in spending in Virginia Beach.

There will also be a Neptune Spring Wine Festival Saturday, May 14 at the 31st Street Park. The Symphony by the Sea Concert Series, also sponsored by the Neptune Festival, features free concerts throughout the summer months. For more information, click here.

Beach Events recently released its entertainment lineup. It kicks off April 23 with the East Coast She-Crab Classic, followed by the Atlantic Coast Kite Fest on April 30 – May 1. Tickets recently went on sale for the Pungo Offroad Monsters on the Beach, scheduled for May 13- 15.

The East Coast Surfing Championship generates the most money of the events through the City. In 2018, it was responsible for about $25.9 million of spending in Virginia Beach.

Erin Goldmeier, Director of Public Relations for Virginia Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau said though last year’s ECSC was a scaled-down version, this year’s is expected to be huge, as the longest continuously-running surf contest in the world celebrates its 60th anniversary.

The ECSC is scheduled for August 21 – August 28.

These events are moving forward or returning, despite the loss of "Something in the Water." Tim Ritter opened his Oceanfront business, Family Fun Xperience, right about the time the festival was canceled.

"When something like that cancels, it does have a large impact on businesses and that was our very first month that it had an impact on our business," Ritter commented.

This year's Pungo Strawberry Festival was canceled due to "unforeseen circumstances." It hasn't been held in three years, after being canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Its organizers say they hope the festival will return in 2023.