MLK Day events, Restaurant Week, Cabaret & Cocktails and more to do this week, Jan. 16-21

Historic Jamestowne and Colonial National Historic Park – including Yorktown Battlefield – will offer free single-day admission to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, Jan. 16. 

Special programming will also be held that day at Historic Jamestowne. Mark Summers, a public historian, will host two Black history tours, including the popular First Africans Tour, which explores the arrival of Africans brought forcibly to Virginia in 1619, and the American Heartbreak Tour, which delves into the history of segregation and desegregation at Jamestown in the midst of the Civil Rights Era. The full schedule of events is available here.

There will also be a number of other special events happening for MLK Day, including a free musical tribute to conclude the Winter Blues Jazz Fest, a food drive at the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank and the Three Rivers & Three Peoples hike at York River State Park. 

Some other highlights this week include the kickoff of Williamsburg Restaurant Week and Newport News Restaurant Week, a discussion at Jamestown Settlement featuring renowned historical actor-interpreter Bill Barker, a free Bayport Group Fun Run in Newport News and WSO’s Cabaret & Cocktails concert at the Williamsburg Lodge Ballroom.


🗓️ Monday, Jan. 16 

Martin Luther King Jr. Day Events

Musical Tribute to Martin Luther King with Victor Haskins – William & Mary Alumni House (Williamsburg). This free performance, “The Other America…Is Here, Now,” features a multimedia and musical tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Presented by Victor Haskins. 10:00 am. 

MLK Day of Service Food Drive – Virginia Peninsula Foodbank (Hampton). In honor of MLK Day of Service, Sheriff Gabe Morgan will host the annual food/fund drive at the Foodbank (2401 Aluminum Ave., Hampton). The community is invited to drop off monetary and/or non-perishable food donations. Drive through and drop off donations without having to get out of your car. 9:00 am – 1:00 pm. 

National Parks Fee-Free Day – Historic Jamestowne and Colonial National Historic park, including Yorktown Battlefield, are offering free admission in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, Jan. 16. Guests should check in at the ticketing desk upon arrival as tickets will not be available online that day. Public historian Mark Summers will also host two walking tours that day to discuss Black history. No pre-registration is required and the tours are offered at no additional cost. Click here for Jamestown Rediscovery’s full MLK Day program schedule.

Three Rivers & Three Peoples Hike – York River State Park (Williamsburg). This hike focuses on the shared history of African, European and Native Americans who lived along the Mattaponi, Pamunkey and York Rivers. There will be various stops along the trails, including those that highlight the history of the Taskinas Plantation and other historically significant areas. This event is included with park admission. 10:00 am – 12:00 pm. 

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Historic Jamestowne and Colonial National Historic Park will offer free admission on Monday, Jan. 16, 2023. Special programming will also be offered that day, including two popular Black history tours hosted by Public Historian Mark Summers. (Photo courtesy of the Jamestown Rediscovery Foundation)

🗓️ Tuesday, Jan. 17


  • Art House Café Film Series: “Three Thousand Years of Longing” – Williamsburg Library Theatre (Williamsburg). This film series aims to bring an art house film flavor to your Tuesdays. You’ll also meet new friends, enjoy light refreshments, hear from special guests and have a discussion after the film. This week’s feature is Three Thousand Years of Longing (R; 2022). See the website for a trailer. 2:00 – 3:55 pm. 


  • Teen Game Night – James City County Library (Williamsburg). Teens ages 13+ are invited to attend this drop-in event for tabletop and video gaming. No registration is required. 6:00 – 7:30 pm. 


  • What Comes Next? Editing Your Work – Tabb Library (Yorktown). Learn best practices for self-editing and hear about free resources for writers looking to edit their work. 6:30 – 8:00 pm. 

🗓️ Wednesday, Jan. 18

Live Music

  • Musick in the Geddy House – James Geddy House (Williamsburg). Enjoy plays and songs from one or more members of the Governor’s Musick ensemble. Guests will also be able to ask questions about the music and instruments. Requires CW admission or a Good Neighbor pass. 11:00 am – 2:00 pm. 


  • Crafts Makerspace: Cricut Potholder – Williamsburg Library (Williamsburg). Use heat transfer vinyl and the heat press to create a potholder. For ages 13+. Spaces are limited; call to register. 11:00 am. 
  • Museum Discoveries: Textile Collection – Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg (Williamsburg). Stop in to view antique clothing, accessories and household textiles from CW’s collections. Requires art museum admission or a Good Neighbor Pass. 2:00 – 3:00 pm.

Health & Wellness

  • Bayport Group Fun Run – Tradition Brewing Co. Celebrate the 2023 One City Marathon by running, walking, stretching and eating healthy to gear up for the big race weekend! FUN & FREE wellness activities for the whole family every week Jan. 9 – Feb. 27! This week’s featured event is the Bayport Group Fun Run. This program is part of the Marathon Mondays event series. Register here. 6:00 pm.


  • Homeschool Enrichment: Sphero Chariots – James City County Library (Williamsburg). Kids will practice the engineering process by constructing a Lego chariot during this special homeschool enrichment program. 2:00 – 3:00 pm. 


  • Director’s Series: Bill Barker – Jamestown Settlement (Williamsburg). Veteran historical actor-interpreter Bill Barker, widely recognized as the U.S.’s foremost interpreter of Thomas Jefferson, will discuss his exploration of Jefferson’s life. He’ll also address changes seen in the scholarship and how the public responds to this iconic figure. In-person admission for this event has reached capacity; tickets for the virtual event ($10) are still available and must be purchased in advance. 7:00 pm.

🗓️ Thursday, Jan. 19


  • Throwback Thursday Film Series: “Night and Day” – Williamsburg Library Theatre (Williamsburg). This film series features a variety of contemporary and classic movies for an adult audience. This week’s featured film is Night and Day (1946; NR). 2:00 – 4:10 pm. 


  • VLM Naturally Speaking Series: Adaptive Feeding Behavior in Bottlenose Dolphins – Virginia Living Museum (Newport News). Attend a discussion led by Meghan Weinpress-Galipeau, an educator and research scientist at the South Carolina Aquarium. This program is part of the museum’s adult education series. Galipeau will discuss the topic of adaptive feeding behavior in bottlenose dolphins. This event is free, but attendees are asked to RSVP here. 6:30 – 7:30 pm (doors open at 6:00 pm). 


  • Evening Yoga – Tabb Library (Yorktown). Participate in yoga and breathing exercises led by a certified yoga instructor. Classes are for all ages and skill levels and are held the first and third Thursdays of each month. For ages 18+. 6:30 – 7:30 pm. 
  • Eating for your Best Life – James City County Recreation Center (Williamsburg). Registered Dietitian Stephanie Militano will discuss the specific foods that can support you in living a healthy, long life. For ages 12+. Free. 6:30 – 8:30 pm. 


  • Hairspray – Ferguson Center for the Arts (Newport News). Broadway’s Tony Award-winning musical comedy phenomenon is back on tour and will be at the Ferguson Center on Jan 19. Tickets are $55 and up and can be purchased here. 8:00 pm. 

🗓️ Friday, Jan. 20

Live Music

  • Electric Bass Superstar – Ferguson Center for the Arts (Newport News). Five-time Grammy winner and Newport News, VA native Victor Wooten will return to the Virginia Symphony Orchestra for this concert. Tickets are $25 and up and are available here. 7:30 pm. 


  • Twenty-year Evolution of Royal Navy Ironclads – The Mariners’ Museum and Park (Newport News). John V. Quarstein, director emeritus of the USS Monitor Center, will discuss the technological advancements that set the stage for the development of dreadnoughts in the 20th century. Advanced registration is required whether attending in-person ($1) or virtually (free). 12:00 – 1:00 pm.

🗓️ Saturday, Jan. 21


  • Bookmobile Funfest: Fossils – Abram Frink Jr. Community Center (Williamsburg). Kids are invited to learn about fossils and excavate their own. Space is limited and registration is required. 11:00 am (additional crafts and science activities will also be available from 10:00 am – 1:00 pm.


  • Let Food Be Thy Medicine – Stryker Center (Williamsburg). Join Dr. Vera, a Board-Certified Lifestyle Medicine physician, for a three-part nutritional health series focused on preventing chronic disease. You don’t have to attend all talks to benefit from the information. The topic for Jan. 21 will be “Focus on Protein.” 12:00 pm. 
  • Intro to Yoga – James City County Recreation Center (Williamsburg). If you’re interested in getting involved in group yoga, this three-week workshop is for you. You’ll learn about the poses and have the opportunity to ask as many questions as you need. The fee for all three sessions is $30. Saturdays, Jan. 21, 28 & Feb. 4, 1:00 – 3:00 pm.


  • Cutting the Cord – James City County Library (Williamsburg). Learn how to save money each month by not paying the cable company for channels you don’t watch. You’ll hear about options for streaming the same live TV channels you get from Cox over your home wi-fi for $25-$70 per month with no annual contracts. 2:00 pm. 


  • The Euphorigen Investigation – Virtual. You’ll have one hour to navigate a maze of problems and puzzles in this online escape room. The goal will be to discover the truth about a hypothetical substance the government adds to the water supply. There will be a discussion afterward about what you saw. For ages 15+. See the website for the Zoom link. 11:30 am – 1:00 pm. 


  • Owl Prowl– New Quarter Park (Williamsburg). Look for the owls living in New Quarter Park at this fun event. Free; registration is required. For ages 10 and up. 6:00 – 8:00 pm.


  • Contra Dance – First Lutheran Church of Norfolk (Norfolk). A contra dance will be held at the First Lutheran Church of Norfolk on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023. Music will be provided by Woody and Marcia McKenzie, visiting from the western part of Virginia. They play a variety of instruments from guitars to whistles, banjos to bodhrans, concertinas to fiddle. Come dance to their lively tunes. The calling will be by Gwyn Williams. Dancers can come at 7:30 pm for an introductory teach by the night’s caller; the dance begins at 8:00 pm. Attendees should bring a favorite treat to share at the break. The cost is $8 for Tidewater Traditional Dance Council Members; $10 for nonmembers. You can support the TCDC community by joining at the door and save $2 on every dance for the rest of the season. Membership is just $10 per individual; $15 per family. See a video of contra dancing here.

Live Music

  • Organ Recital: Dr. JanEl Will – Bruton Parish Church (Williamsburg). Enjoy sacred music by candlelight in this historic church, Dr. JanEl Will, organist at Bruton Parish Church, will perform 18th-century music for this recital. 8:00 – 9:00 pm. 

🗓️ Sunday, Jan. 22


  • The Mitten: Storytime with iDance – James City County Library (Williamsburg). Performers from the Institute for Dance will bring Jan Brett’s winter classic to life in this interactive storytime and craft event. Recommended for ages 3-7. 2:00 pm. 
  • Paws to Read – Tabb Library (Yorktown). Kids in grades 1-5 are invited to relax, have fun and practice their reading skills by reading a book to a trained therapy dog. 3:30 – 4:30 pm. 

Live Music

  • WSO’s Cabaret & Cocktails – Williamsburg Lodge Ballroom (Williamsburg). Enjoy this special WSO concert featuring Carmen Bradford, one of jazz music’s most diverse and exciting vocalists. This program will feature hits like Love Is Here to Stay, Fascinating Rhythm, I Won’t Dance, Love Me or Leave Me and many more. Tickets are $60+. 8:00 pm.

🗓️ Multi-Day


  • Newport News Restaurant Week – Newport News. Newport News Restaurant Week returns Jan. 15-29, 2023. This annual event allows diners to enjoy two or three-course meals at participating restaurants from a set menu for a fixed, affordable price. See the list of participating restaurants and their menus here
  • Williamsburg Restaurant Week – Williamsburg. Williamsburg Restaurant Week is a favorite annual event featuring curated menu offerings at special, discounted prices. Try a variety of food while supporting local establishments during this event, which will run Jan. 19-29, 2023. See a list of participating restaurants and menus here


  • 84, Charing Cross Road – The Williamsburg Players will kick off the new year with “84, Charing Cross Road.” See the website for a description. The play runs from Jan. 20 – Feb. 5, 2023. Tickets are available here. Tickets are $20 for adults, $12 for students and children. 


  • Pop-Up Archaeology! – Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg (Williamsburg). Archaeologists will be present to talk to guests about ongoing excavations at Custis Square, First Baptist Church, and Powder Magazine archaeology sites. This event will be open for free-flow visitation. Requires art museum admission or a Good Neighbor Pass. Tuesday, Jan. 17 and Thursday, Jan. 19. 2:00 – 4:00 pm.

Future Events to Note🗒️

  • Open Door Series: Alcee Chriss – Williamsburg Presbyterian Church (Williamsburg). Enjoy a free concert featuring Alcee Chriss III, an organist and keyboardist who is featured in the PBS documentary, Pipe Dreams (2019). Sunday, Jan. 29. 4:00 pm.
  • Williamsburg Book Festival – Stryker Center (Williamsburg). The Williamsburg Book Festival seeks to promote and support the art of literary composition in the Williamsburg area and expose writers to the reading public. This free, family-friendly event features authors from a variety of genres, speakers, illustrators and publishers from Virginia and beyond. Saturday, Feb. 4 from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm. 
  • Yorktown Winter Market – Riverwalk Landing (Yorktown). Attend a special, Valentine’s Day-themed market at Riverwalk Landing! Saturday, Feb. 11 from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm. 

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