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Forty Four Years of Celebrating Virginia’s Rich Heritage

Newport News’s historical significance and seemingly endless choices for outdoor activities make it the ideal spot for a Virginia getaway. From the Revolutionary War to the Civil War, the city played a significant role in American History, and visitors can learn first-hand at the Virginia War Museum and The Mariners' Museum/USS Monitor Center. The city is a haven for artists, and Ferguson Center for the Arts, Peninsula Fine Arts Center, and Anderson Johnson Gallery at Downing-Gross Cultural Arts Center provide ample examples of local artistic talent.


The Newport News Fall Festival of Folklife has been the leading fall event in Newport News since it began more than four decades ago, and it will take place October 7-8 at Newport News Park. Attendees will encounter a celebration of everything Virginia including more than 150 Virginia vendors selling farm-made treats and hand-made eats. The Juried Craft Area will feature a variety of artists showcasing their works and an art competition for more than $3,000 in prize money. Patrons will also encounter crafters selling everything from handmade clothing to artisan foods, in the Marketplace Craft Area. A spectrum of craft beer and cider samples will be available to those of age in the Virginia Craft Beer & Cheer Area. Patrons will love the Virginia Roots Area and its demonstrations of old world crafts and trades. The Arboretum Folklife Stage will feature live music and entertainment by regional acts throughout the event. Hungry attendees will encounter more than 25 food vendors serving up everything from seafood to funnel cakes. received the chance to interview Rebecca Cutchins, Media Relations Manager for the Newport News Tourism Development Office, to learn about this great celebration.


RAL: How long has the event been running?  

RC: 2017 will be our 44th festival!


RAL: How many annual participants do you draw?

RC: We expect around 35,000 attendees.


RAL: What demographic does your event attract?

RC: The majority of our attendees are families, but we encourage everyone to attend.


RAL: What makes this event unique?

RC: Its focus is on heritage crafts and trades, folk music and folk dance, and it takes place in a beautiful wooded area of Newport News Park.


RAL: Take me through the activities of a day at the event.

RC: Patrons can experience demonstrations and displays of heritage crafts and trades, shop at more than 150 exhibitors selling handmade crafts and food, enjoy free children’s activities, and three stages of music and dance performances.


RAL: What dining options will attendees encounter?

RC: Twenty-five food vendors selling local seafood, barbeque and specialty food items including fried pork rinds, crab cakes, and international food items.


RAL: Tell me about the overall atmosphere?

RC: A celebration of fall for the entire family, set in a beautiful natural setting on a lakefront wooded area of Newport News Park.


RAL: Are there any lodging specials that are set up for the event?

RC: The Hampton Inn & Suites offers a “Fall Festival of Folklife Package.” Enjoy a celebration of crafts, folk entertainment and trades that have been passed down from generation to generation. The package includes deluxe accommodations, complimentary breakfast, complimentary use of Crunch Fitness and complimentary high-speed internet. One-night packages begin from $89 per night plus tax. To book a reservation, please call 757.249.0001 and mention this package.


RAL: What does this event mean to the community?  

RC: This is the biggest fall event on the Virginia Peninsula and is a fall “family tradition” for our region.


RAL: Does this drive business to your local economy?

RC: Absolutely! The Fall Festival of Folklife brings visitors to Newport News to spend money in all parts of the city. Visitors to Newport News stay in our hotels, eat in our restaurants, buy gas for their cars and campers, visit our attractions, and purchase souvenirs.


RAL: Does the event support a particular cause in the community?

RC: Local community service groups work as some of our food vendors, and the profits from their food sales support a variety of community projects.


RAL: Why should people come to your event?

RC: Artists and crafters come from as far away as Oregon and California to participate in the Fall Festival of Folklife. The event has become the city’s signature and largest celebration!

For more information about the Newport News Fall Festival of Folklife, please visit the event website.