NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Hundreds of country music fans filled the streets in downtown Norfolk as the Patriotic Festival continued on Waterside Drive and in Town Point Park on Saturday.
“We could not be more pleased with the way the return of Patriotic Fest has been embraced by so many as we celebrate the men and women of our armed services,” said Andy Stephenson, a Patriotic Festival board member.
Despite a rainy start and some cancellations on Friday afternoon, country music fans appeared ready to celebrate.
“We’re coming from out of state from North Carolina, so we got a hotel for girl’s weekend,” said Kim Fraley, who was visiting with her friend Brandi Roberson.
While the Patriotic Festival has traditionally been held in Virginia Beach, board members decided to move it to Norfolk for a few different reasons, including the opportunity to host the event on Memorial Day Weekend.
“That’s extra special for this festival, which is all about our men and women in uniform, and their families. You can’t do enough to recognize that,” said board member Glen Robertson.
“The idea of a street festival [is something] that hasn’t been done and it was exciting,” said Robertson.
*Only WAVY-TV 10 can take you over the festival thanks to Chopper 10. It flew over Waterside Drive on Saturday afternoon.
The three-day country music festival started on Friday, May 27 and is running through Sunday, May 29. It is taking place on Waterside Drive, as well as in Scope Arena.
On Friday, rain forced event organizers to pivot at the last minute. The opening ceremony and outside performances were canceled, however, Jon Pardi still performed in Scope Arena.
The changes due to rain on Friday are in line with why event organizers say the festival was moved from Virginia Beach to Norfolk. They wanted a large indoor venue in case it rains.
The festival is expected to draw more than 40,000 visitors for concerts, military demonstrations and displays.
The Patriotic Festival was last held in 2019. Its events in 2020 and 2021 were both canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.