Memorial Day celebrations, outdoor concerts, festivals, nature activities and more: There’s plenty to do as we celebrate the unofficial kickoff to summer this week.
Some highlights include the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebration at Colonial Williamsburg, a 75th Anniversary of the U.S Air Force concert in Fort Monroe, the Blackbeard Pirate Festival in Hampton and the 1772 Yorktown Militia Muster at Watermen’s Museum – all of which are free.
If you’d like to share an upcoming event, please hit “reply” to this email and tell me about it.
Enjoy the rest of the long weekend!
Monday, May 30
- Memorial Day Free Admission ⭐- Virginia War Museum (Newport News). The museum is offering free admission in honor of the men and women who gave their lives serving our country. 9:00 am – 4:00 pm.
- 51st Annual Memorial Day Celebration ⭐- Williamsburg Memorial Park (Williamsburg). This event is dedicated to the men and women who gave their lives serving our country and/or community as members of the armed forces, police officers, firefighters, first responders or paramedics. Features patriotic performances, an honor guard, a ceremonial wreath-laying, special guest speakers and more. Free and open to the public. Prelude begins at 9:40 am; ceremony begins at 10:00 am.
- Grace Church Memorial Day Ceremony ⭐- Grace Episcopal Church (Yorktown). Monday, May 30. A prayer service will be held in Historic Grace Episcopal Church (ca 1697). The historic Church Bell (ca 1725) will be tolled 21 times, and a brief ceremony with playing of the “Taps” will be held following the service. 10:00 – 11:30 am.
- Memorial Day Commemorative Program ⭐- Palace Green (Colonial Williamsburg). Monday, May 30. A Memorial Day Commemoration will be held on Palace Green. The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation will honor those who sacrificed their lives to defend our nation during a traditional wreath-laying ceremony. Free and open to the public. 10:00 am.
- Memorial Day Ceremony ⭐- Victory Arch at 25th Street & West Avenue (Newport News). Honor those who gave their lives in service to our country at Newport News’ annual Memorial Day Ceremony. A keynote address will be delivered by Ken Wiseman, former State Commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Department of Virginia. There will also be musical performances by the Braxton-Perkins Post 25 Brass Ensemble and the Southeastern VA Firefighters Pipe and Drum Corps, and several local dignitaries will be in attendance. Refreshments and light hors d’oeuvres will be available. Free and open to the public. 11:00 am.
- York County Memorial Day Ceremony ⭐- York Hall (Yorktown). Monday, May 30. The annual York County Memorial Day Ceremony will kick off at noon at the War Memorial on the grounds of York Hall (301 Main Street). The public is invited to honor those who died to preserve our nation’s freedom. Members of Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 824, will serve as the Color Guard and a laying of the wreaths ceremony will be conducted. Prior to the start of the ceremony, the Fifes and Drums of York Town will perform while marching to the site at 11:45 am. Free. 12:00 – 1:00 pm.
- Memorial Mile ⭐- Waller Mill Park (Williamsburg). Williamsburg Parks and Recreation will honor the sacrifices of fallen military, fire, emergency medical services and law enforcement members by sharing their fallen hero stories at Waller Mill Park. The public is invited to participate by sharing their own story about a fallen hero. To submit a fallen hero story, click here. May 27 – May 30.
- Free Admission Honoring Service to America ⭐- Colonial Williamsburg. Colonial Williamsburg is offering free admission during Memorial Day weekend to all active duty military, reservists, retirees, veterans, national guardsmen and their immediate dependents, May 27-30, 2022. Free admission includes admission to historic trades and sites, admission to our two world-class art museums and complimentary shuttle service.
Tuesday, May 31
- Story Trail – James City County Library (Williamsburg). Families are invited to take a walk outdoors and read a story at the James City County Library Story Trail. Walk from page to page in the green space behind the library any time during the library’s open hours. 9:00 am – 8:00 pm.
- Full STEAM Ahead: Preschool Adventures – Grissom Library (Newport News). Kids ages 2-5 are invited to explore and discover Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math in this interactive five-week series designed to build early literacy. This event is held outside, weather permitting. Separate registration is required for each date. 11:00 am.
- Art House Café Film Series: “Chasing Coral” – Williamsburg Library Theatre (Williamsburg). This film series offers an art house flavor. In addition to watching the featured film, guests can hear from film experts, enjoy light refreshments and participate in a discussion after the film. This week’s film is Chasing Coral (2017). NR. 2:00 pm.
- Teen Game Night – James City County Library (Williamsburg). Teens 13+ are invited to attend monthly for Nintendo Switch gaming, card games, popular board games and more. 5:30 – 7:30 pm.
- Builder Lab – Grissom Library (Newport News). Kids grades K-5 will tinker, engineer and build a creation of their own using LEGOs, Brain Flakes and Zoob at this free event. Registration is required. 6:00 pm.
- In BeTWEEN the Pages Tween Book Club – Williamsburg Library (Williamsburg). Tweens ages 9-12 are invited to meet fellow readers and join the conversation about this month’s book. New members are always welcome and there is no commitment to attend every meeting. Registration is required; registrants will receive a free copy of this month’s book. 6:00 – 7:00 pm.
- Palace Concert – Governor’s Palace (Colonial Williamsburg). This elegant performance features the Governor’s Musick, Colonial Williamsburg’s early music ensemble. Enjoy the sounds of 17th- and 18th-century music for flute, harpsichord, voice and strings. Not appropriate for children six and under. Tickets are $19 for adults, $12 for children ages 6-12. 7:00 – 8:00 pm
- Revolutionary Points of View – Capitol Hall of Burgesses (Colonial Williamsburg). Step back in time to the eve of the American Revolution and hear a wide range of points of view about the war and independence. Then, join in on the debate to decide whether we remain British or become Americans. Two time slot options are available: 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm and 8:30 pm – 9:30 pm. Tickets are $16 for adults; $9 for children under 12.
Wednesday, June 1
- Teddy Bear Picnic – Grissom Library (Newport News). Children ages 3-11 are invited to attend this event featuring teddy bear-inspired crafts, activities and snacks. This event will be held outside, weather permitting. Registration is required. 11:00 am.
- Colonial Williamsburg Hiring Fair ✔️– 427 Franklin St. (Williamsburg). On-the-spot hiring for hospitality positions. A signing bonus of $500 is offered for hourly positions; exempt positions will receive a bonus of $1,500. 1:00 – 5:00 pm.
- Port Warwick Summer Concert Series: Tiki Bar Band – William Styron Square (Newport News). Port Warwick’s Summer Concert Series returns with music by Tiki Bar Band. Bring your own lawn chair or blanket, food and drink. Weather permitting. Free. 6:00 – 9:00 pm.
- Fellowship in a Ring – James City County Library (Williamsburg). This group is dedicated to sci-fi and fantasy books, films, television and pop culture. A suggested reading list is provided before each meeting, but readers are also welcome to share other sci-fi or simply join in the group conversation. Contact [email protected] or [email protected] for a suggested book list. 6:30 pm.
- Yoga @ Grissom – Grissom Library (Newport News) and Virtual. Instructor Emily Coyner teaches introductory yoga classes every Wednesday evening; no experience required. Spots are limited; all participants must register for either the in-person or virtual classes. 6:00 – 7:30 pm.
Thursday, June 2
- City Center Farmers Market – City Center at Oyster Point (Newport News). Find fresh, healthy, farm-to-table foods like produce, beef, jams and local treats at this Farmers Market, every Thursday through September 1. 10:00 am – 2:00 pm.
- Throwback Thursday Film Series: “The Sea-Wolf” – Williamsburg Library (Williamsburg).The Throwback Thursday Film Series, now in its 19th year, features a variety of classic movies for an adult audience. This week’s featured film is The Sea-Wolf (1941). NR. 2:00 – 3:45 pm.
- Drones! – Grissom Library (Newport News). Teens can put their skills to the test in this drone obstacle course. For ages 12-17. Registration is required. 4:30 pm.
- Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Ceremony – Governor’s Palace (Colonial Williamsburg). Celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s historic Platinum Jubilee – an event that commemorates her 70 years of service – at Colonial Williamsburg. Festivities begin with a parade and Williamsburg Pipes & Drums concert outside of the Governor’s Palace at 6:00 pm. A ceremony will also be held at 9:00 pm at the Wren Building and will include trumpet fanfare, A Song for the Commonwealth (performed by a professional opera singer), lighting of the beacons and tunes on bagpipes and drums.
- Beyond Shackles: The Fight for Freedom – Grissom Library (Newport News). Join Wisteria Perry of the Mariner’s Museum as she discusses the ways in which African Americans in Virginia survived on the eve of the Civil War. For ages 18+. Registration is encouraged. 6:30 – 7:30 pm.
- Sounds of Summer Concert Series: The Uptown Band – Riverwalk Landing (Yorktown). Yorktown’s Sounds of Summer concert series is back, and it runs Thursday nights from 7 to 9:30 p.m through August 11. This week’s featured band is The Uptown Band. Blankets, chairs and small coolers are permitted. Free. 7:00 – 9:30 pm.
Friday, June 3
- Civil War Lecture: It’s All in a Name – Mariners’ Museum (Newport News) and Virtual. The Confederate warship that was part of the ironclad revolution in Hampton Roads is known by many names and spellings, but its proper name is CSS Virginia. Learn about the ironclad and its fight against the USS Monitor on March 9. 1862. Presented by John V. Quarstein, director emeritus of the USS Monitor Center. $1 for in-person attendance, free to stream online. Registration is required. 12:00 – 1:00 pm.
- P.U.S.H: People Using Sound/Song to Heal – Grissom Library Newport News). Singer/songwriter and author Myra Smith-Jones will lead this workshop of music and healing. P.U.S.H or “People using song/sound to heal” is especially helpful for individuals living with PTSD, chronic illness, trauma and much more. It features a mix of breathing exercises, songwriting, sound therapy, vocal pedagogy, ear training and vibrations. For adults 18+. Registration is required. 2:00 – 4:00 pm.
- Pride Film Festival: “The Birdcage” – Williamsburg Library (Williamsburg). This series celebrates Pride Month with films every Friday in June. This week’s featured film is The Birdcage (1996). Rated R. 2:00 pm.
- Teen After Hours – Tabb Library (Yorktown). Tweens and teens in grades 6-12 are invited to attend this special after hours event, where they’ll try to escape the Zombies that have overtaken the library. 5:30 – 7:30 pm.
- Yorktown, Ghosts, The Thin Veil: Tour and Talk – Mobjack Bay Coffee Roasters (Yorktown). Hear historical accounts of ghosts and otherworldly experiences passed down through the centuries in Yorktown. $10 per person; no children under 12 allowed. 6:00 – 7:00 pm.
- Live Concert: 75th Anniversary of the U.S Air Force – Continental Park (Fort Monroe) – This outdoor concert celebrates the 75th Anniversary of the U.S Air Force and features the Air Combat Command’s United States Air Force Heritage of America Band. There will also be a flyover by the 1st Fighter Wing, weather permitting. Free and open to the public. 7:30 pm.
Saturday, June 4
- Yorktown Market Days – Riverwalk Landing (Yorktown). Shop for seasonal produce, freshly baked goods, honey, handmade soaps and candles, artwork and more from local creators and artisans. 8:00 am – 12:00 pm.
- Williamsburg Farmers Market – Duke of Gloucester Street and P4 parking lot (Williamsburg). The Williamsburg Farmers Market is back for the 2022 season! Shop from producers of locally grown produce, baked goods, cut flowers, organic vegetables, herbs, pasture-raised meats, cheeses, fresh bread, honey and more. Visa, Mastercard, SNAP and W&M express are now accepted. 8:00 am – noon.
- Toano Open Air Market – 7891 Richmond Road (Toano). Shop safely every Saturday while supporting local farmers, artisans, pollinators and a variety of other vendors. Pre-ordering is recommended in order to ensure product availability. 9:00 am – 1:00 pm.
- Save the Bay Day – Messick Point (Poquoson). Join community volunteers at Messick Point and help clean our coastal areas. Participants should plant to bring gloves, boots, sunscreen and bug spray. 9:00 am.
- Tails on the Trails – Greensprings Interpretive Trail (Williamsburg). If you’re up for a trail adventure with your dog, head over to Greensprings Interpretive Trail for a self-guided adventure in honor of National Trails Day. This event is hosted by James City County Parks and Recreation in partnership with Heritage Humane Society and will feature music, a trail scavenger hunt, adoptable dogs and more. Weather permitting. 9:00 – 11:00 am.
- Clean the Bay Day – York River State Park (Williamsburg). Join an effort to help protect the world’s largest estuary with a cleanup project along the York River shoreline. Participants should meet in front of the Visitor’s Center. Gloves and trash bags will be provided; wear sturdy shoes and bring a water bottle. 9:00 am – 12:00 pm.
- Walk this Way: Williamsburg Walking Club ♀️- Freedom Park (Williamsburg). A JCC Parks and Recreation walking coach will guide you through the trails of James City County during this walking series. This week’s meetup location is Freedom Park (Multiuse Trail 3). For ages 14+. Free. 9:00 – 10:00 am.
- VIMS Marine Science Day 2022 – Virginia Institute of Marine Science (Gloucester Point) and Virtual. This free, family-friendly event features activities and demonstrations for children, science talks, seafood cooking demonstrations, exhibits, lab tours and plenty of opportunities to talk to the VIMS scientists. Free and open to the public. Rain or shine. There will also be special virtual events. Register here. 10:00 am – 3:00 pm.
- National Trails Day ✔️– York River State Park (Williamsburg). Celebrate National Trails Day by helping staff and volunteers beautify various areas of York River State Park. Meets at the amphitheater. 10:00 am – 12:00 pm.
- The Virginia Revolutionary War Trail: 1772 Yorktown Militia Muster Watermen’s Museum (Yorktown). Begin the celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the American Revolution! A variety of demonstrators will be present, including a Blacksmith, Virginia State Navy (ropes and knots, canvas work and baggy wrinkle), woodwork, leatherwork and games and pastimes. See the website for a full list of scheduled events. Free. 10:00 am – 4:00 pm.
- Busy Beavers – Newport News Park (Newport News). Learn all about how the wooded shoreline, open water, plant-filled marsh and flowing stream at Newport News Park create an ideal habitat for beavers. Offered at two different times: 10:00 am and 2:00 pm.
- Learn to Row – James City County Recreation Center (Williamsburg). If you’ve ever wanted to learn the proper technique for rowing, now’s your chance. This class will use indoor rowing machines and focus on proper form, step-by-step. For ages 14+. Free. 10:00 – 10:45 am.
- Hilton Art Walk ️– Historic Hilton Village (Newport News). The Hilton Art Walk stretches up Main Street to the business district and is Historic Hilton Village’s biggest annual event. Villagers of Main will open their yards to host local musicians singing and strumming busker style, and over 70 artists and artisans will line the 10200 & 10300 blocks. Guests are encouraged to bring tip money. There will also be live performance art, hands-on community art projects, food trucks, a beer garden and more. 11:00 am – 5:00 pm.
- Dabble In Discovery – York River State Park (Williamsburg). Meet with the park’s naturalist/ranger and learn about the aquatic, insect, mammal and plant life that live within the park’s two thousand acres. 1:00 – 3:00 pm.
- Yoga in the Library – Stryker Center (Williamsburg). Kids will enjoy yoga through storytelling, meditation, breathwork and playful sequences. Class is done barefoot and no experience is necessary. 10:20 – 10:50 am for ages 2-5; 11:20 – 12:00 pm for ages 6-11.
- Saturdays @ Frink ️– Abram Frink Jr. Community Center (Williamsburg). Kids are invited to join WRL’s Bookmobile every Saturday in June for things to make, do and learn. The theme for the first Saturday is “Makerspace.” 10:00 am – 1:00 pm.
- Summer Mocktails How-To – Williamsburg Library (Williamsburg). Staff from Amber Ox will demonstrate how to make several delicious booze-less mocktails. 2:00 pm.
- Next Chapter Book Club – Williamsburg Library (Williamsburg). This unique, community-based book group is geared toward adolescents and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Each meeting focuses on reading together, talking about different worlds and characters and learning about interesting new things. 2:00 – 3:00 pm.
- Backyard Bash ☀️– Superblock Park in the Yard District (Newport News). Bring the family and enjoy live music, fun activities, great food and cold beverages at the Backyard Bash. This event will feature a Club Waka cornhole tournament, 9-hole putt-putt course, interactive yard games, 360-degree photo booth, mechanical bull ride, inflatable obstacle courses and activities for kids. Food trucks will also be present, and musical performances begin at 5:00 pm. Lawn chairs and blankets permitted. Free and open to the public. 4:00 – 8:00 pm.
- Mercy Creek Live at Brass Cannon Brewing Co. – Mercy Creek will perform original folk rock music live at Brass Cannon Brewing. 6:00 – 9:00 pm.
- Campfire Social – Chickahominy Riverfront Park (Williamsburg). Celebrate summer with a an old-fashioned campfire gathering featuring s’mores, storytelling, activities and more. Free. 7:30 – 8:30 pm.
- Bats! – Newport News Park (Newport News). Learn about the fascinating bat – the only mammal that truly flies. Bats eat many hundreds of insects, including mosquitoes, every night, and they’re a vital part of nature’s balance. 8:00 pm.
Sunday, June 5
- Anime Con – Stryker Center and William & Mary (Williamsburg). This event will feature an afternoon of manga, Japanese culture and all things anime. Special guests will include River City Taiko Drumming, W&M Japanese Studies professor Michael, VSU Animation Instructor Ahn Do, Game Truck Richmond, local Cosplay artists and vendors. There will also be a manga swap, cosplay contest, screenings and more. 1:00 – 5:00 pm.
- Fireside Talk: British Yorktown – Mobjack Bay Coffee Roasters (Yorktown). This talk will discuss the early English settlements of the 16th and 17th century, the British culture, royal monarchs, politics and the American Revolution against the British. 1:00 – 2:00 pm. $10 per person; children under 12 are free.
- Roaming Ranger – York River State Park (Williamsburg). York River State Park (Williamsburg). Meet with a naturalist/ranger and discover the aquatic, mammal, insect and plant life in the ecosystem of this 2,000-acre park. Included with park admission 4:00 – 5:00 pm.
- Sunset Pick Your Paddle – York River State Park (Williamsburg). Enjoy a scenic evening trip on the York River. 5:30 – 7:30 pm. This event is included with park admission; call the office for rental fees and reservations. 5:30 – 7:30 pm.
- Plants with a Purpose Honor Box Plant Sale – Williamsburg Botanical Garden and Freedom Park Arboretum in Williamsburg. This event ends on May 31. From 7:00 am until sunset, find plants that are beneficial to the local ecosystem and attract pollinators and local wildlife. Pay with cash in the locked drop box on the sale rack or pay online here after the sale begins. Prices are marked on the plants. Sign up for email updates on ongoing plant sales here.
- Blackbeard Pirate Festival ☠️- Visitors from throughout the country come out once a year to enjoy the sights and sounds of 18th century Hampton overrun by pirates. Hampton’s waterfront will come alive with dozens of costumed pirate re-enactors who transform the area into the seaport of the 1700s. The festival also features live musical entertainment, children’s activities, fireworks, period vendors, arts and crafts and more. Free. Friday, June 3, 6:00 – 8:00 pm; Saturday, June 4, 10:00 am – 10:00 pm, and Sunday, June 5, 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm.
- Opera in Williamsburg: Cosi Fan Tutte – Kimball Theatre (Williamsburg). Thursday, June 2 from 7:30 – 10:00 pm and Saturday, June 4 from 2:00 – 5:00 pm. Mozart’s comic masterpiece comes to life in this live, fully-staged opera featuring a world-class cast. It is performed in the original Italian with English supertitles. Tickets are $15 – $52.
- Newport News Greek Festival – Saints Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Church (Newport News). Come enjoy authentic Greek food, beverages and sweets, music and dancing and more. This event will be held under a tent outside, and online ordering will be available. June 2-4, 11:00 am – 9:00 pm and June 5, 12:00 – 5:00 pm.
- The Bodacious Bazaar ✔️– Hampton Roads Convention Center (Hampton). This three-day shopping extravaganza promotes talented artists, crafters, local businesses and Virginia wineries. Donations are made to selected nonprofits after each show. Friday & Saturday, 10:00 am – 7:00 pm and Sunday, 10:00 am – 6:00 pm. Adults $8 for one day, $12 for two days; children $5 (free for children in strollers).
- Busch Gardens Food & Wine Festival – Busch Gardens in Williamsburg. This event is the largest spring food and wine festival in Virginia. It features over 100 dishes, wines, cocktails and craft beers from around the globe, including new offerings inspired by Australia and Greece. Live music and entertainment will also take place. April 28 – June 12; see website for times and ticket details.
- Freedom Park Spring Photo Contest – Freedom Park is hosting a spring photo contest through May 13. Entries can be submitted here. Limit of two entries per participant. Voting will be open to the public from May 20 – June 20.
- Gallery at York Hall Photography Exhibit ️– Gallery at York Hall in Yorktown. This exhibit features the photography of Shirley Whitenack and runs from July 1 through July. Free. Gallery hours are Tuesday – Saturday, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm and Sunday, 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm.
- Afterschool Crafts ️– James City County Library. Monday – Thursday, 4:00-7:00 pm; Friday, 4:00-6:00 pm. This drop-in event features new crafts every week.
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