Hampton, Virginia Festivals
Hampton Jazz Festival
The Hampton Jazz Festival, an annual summer event, continues to attract America's most successful jazz and contemporary musicians. Over the festival's history, Roberta Flack, "Dizzy" Gillespie, Patti LaBelle, The Four Tops, Dionne Warwick, Aretha Franklin, Little Richard and David Sanborn have all performed. The event is traditionally held the last full weekend in June. Artists, performance schedule and ticket prices are usually announced in late March.
Hampton Blackbeard Festival
Held in late May/early June annually, the Hampton Blackbeard Festival celebrates the demise of Edward Teach, a.k.a. Blackbeard the Pirate.
Pirate skirmishes, battle reenactments, Mardi Gras-style funeral procession, pirate ball, costumes and food are staged in Mill Point Park, Queen’s Way, Carousel Park and along the Hampton River.
Afrikan American Festival
Held in conjunction with the Hampton Jazz Festival, this family-oriented event offers reggae, gospel and jazz music, ethnic food, and African and African-American arts and crafts. The summer celebration to benefit Peninsula Association for Sickle Cell Anemia is held at Mill Point Park, located just two blocks from the Virginia Air & Space Center and Hampton Carousel. There is usually a small donation charged at the entrance to benefit PASCA.
Reggae Fest at Buckroe Beach
During the summer months, music and dance enthusiasts swing to the sounds of the big bands at Buckroe Beach. These Sunday evening concerts feature such headline bands as Buddy Clark and the Champagne Orchestra, Society of Seven and Katz 'n' Jammers. Picnic dinners and lawn chairs are welcome. Concerts run June through August at Buckroe Beach Park.
Hampton Cup Regatta
The oldest and largest powerboat race in the United States, the Hampton Cup Regatta turns 80 in 2006. This August sports-event draws some of the fastest inboards and hydroplanes to the East Coast for the three-day race series. Boaters race at Mill Creek near Fort Monroe.
Hampton Bay Days
Hampton pays tribute to the Chesapeake Bay during this weekend waterfront celebration, traditionally held the second weekend in September. Spanning from one end of Downtown Hampton to the other, Hampton’s largest annual special event features educational exhibits, art displays and entertainment, such as headline performers, sports tournaments, a fireworks display, a carnival area and food, food, food.
Hampton Holly Days
Hampton's historic downtown and waterfront provide the staging area for the city's annual holiday celebration. Holly Days includes the lighting of the official city Christmas tree, a lighted boat parade, a downtown street parade, romantic horse-and-carriage rides, and a children's "Breakfast with Santa Claus."
The popular Illuminated Parade of Sail culminates with the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus by boat. Other holiday events include the Kwanzaa Art Marketplace at Hampton University Museum the Peninsula Glass Guild glass art display at Charles H. Taylor Arts Center and numerous special events at The American Theatre, Hampton University, Hampton Coliseum and more.