York County History Day to feature cannon firings, live music, a chili cook-off and more

Yorktown is gearing up to host a town-wide celebration honoring York County’s history on Saturday, April 15. The free event will feature a variety of activities throughout the day, including military demonstrations, cannon firings, live music, storytelling and a chili cook-off competition.
Special events will take place throughout the day at Watermen’s Museum in Yorktown on Saturday, April 15, in celebration of York County History Day, (Photo courtesy of York County)

Yorktown is gearing up to host a town-wide celebration honoring York County’s history on Saturday, April 15.

The free event will feature a variety of activities throughout the day, including military demonstrations, cannon firings, live music, storytelling and a chili cook-off competition.

The day’s programming will kick off at 8 a.m. with the Sister Cities Market at Riverwalk Landing. The special market will include French music, wine and traditional French fare, including pastries, macarons, chocolates, crepes and authentic beignets. There will also be a silent auction and a French basket raffle. The Fifes and Drums of York Town will perform at 10 a.m. The market will wrap up at 3 p.m. 

Many of the Yorktown History Day activities will be held at Watermen’s Museum. Cannon drills will take place at 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., and military demonstrations will be held at 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. A folk jam will begin at 4 p.m., and a special “Stories of the Underground Railroad” program will be offered at 5 p.m. Additionally, a chili cook-off competition will take place from 12 – 3 p.m. Tickets for the chili cookoff are $10 if purchased in advance or $15 at the door.

Special events will also take place at nearby York Hall, Mobjack Bay Coffee Roasters, On the Hill Gallery and the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown.

To see a full schedule of the day’s events, click here

Some other highlights for this week include a string band concert at Williamsburg Library (Saturday), a Spring Festival featuring a gardening theme at James City County Library (Sunday), the Mariners’ Milkids Fest at The Mariners’ Museum (Sunday) and a Summer Camp Fair at James City County Recreation Center (also Sunday). 

See the list below for additional events coming up this week.

Events This Week

Thursday, April 13


  • Throwback Thursday Film Series: “The Last Days of Pompeii” – 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 The Last Days of Pompeii (1935; NR). See the website for a description. 2:00 – 3:40 pm. 
  • Celtic Film Series: “The Secret of Roan Inish” – Williamsburg Library (Williamsburg). The Celtic Film Series runs the 2nd Thursday of the month through May 2023. This week’s featured film is The Secret of Roan Inish (1994; PG). 6:00 pm. 

Game Day

  • Adult Game Day – James City County Library (Williamsburg). Attend a game day for adults featuring casual card and board games. Light refreshments will be provided. 2:00 – 4:00 pm. 

Health & Wellness

  • Fitness at the Fountain: HIIT – Ferguson Building (Newport News). Attend an outdoor, high-energy workout session every Thursday starting April 13 – September 28. Beer will be provided by Tradition Brewing Co for no charge. Free. 5:15 – 6:00 pm. 


  • Thingiverse Basics – Williamsburg Library (Williamsburg). Teens are invited to learn the basics of using Thingiverse to make 3D printed objects. For ages 13-18. Call to register. 6:00 pm. 


  • Talking History Lecture: Andrew Buckley – Jamestown Settlement (Williamsburg).  Two-time Emmy nominated filmmaker Andrew Buckley will share his story of discovery retracing the American journeys of his ancestor, Stephen Hopkins. Free. 7:00 – 8:00 pm. 


  • Snuggle Stories – Tabb Library (Yorktown). Stop by for a family story time geared toward kids of all ages and a parent or caregiver. Children are encouraged to bring their favorite stuffed animal and wear their pajamas. No registration required. 7:00 – 7:30 pm. 

Live Music

  • Candlelight Organ Recital: Rebecca Davy – Bruton Parish Church (Williamsburg). Rebecca Davy, music director and organist, will present a candlelit recital at the historic Bruton Parish Church. 8:00 – 9:00 pm. 

Friday, April 14

Kids & Families

  • Family Workshop: Brickmaker – Masonry (Colonial Williamsburg). Families will be able to build a small earthen oven with help from Masonry Trades staff. Attendees will also learn to light a fire safely with flint and steel, a valuable survival skill. See the website for additional details. Tickets are required for kids and participating adults ($20 each). 


  • Who was the Civil War’s first POW? – The Mariners’ Museum and Park (Newport News) and Virtual. Learn about John Dahlgren, a naval ordnance officer who invented a boat howitzer and the famous Dahlgren naval shell gun. This lecture is included in $1 museum admission or may be livestreamed for free. Registration is required. 12:00 – 1:00 pm. 

Live Music

  • Live Music on the Pavilion: Felicia Hoyos – Williamsburg Winery (Williamsburg). The Williamsburg Winery will kick off its Live Music on the Pavilion series for the season with an acoustic performance by Felicia Hoyos. Weather permitting. 4:00 – 7:00 pm. 
  • Choral Concert: Jack Britt HS & Gray’s Creek HS – Bruton Parish Church (Williamsburg). Enjoy a concert by the Jack Britt High School Choir of Fayetteville, NC, directed by Richard Butler and Gray’s Creek High School Chorale directed by Amy Stovall. 8:00 – 9:00 pm. 
The Sister Cities French Market will be held on Saturday, April 15 from 8:00 am – 3:00 pm. (Photo courtesy of York County)

Saturday, April 15

Special Events 

  • Yorktown Market Days: Sister Cities French Market – Riverwalk Landing (Yorktown). This special market will feature French music, wine and products like fresh-baked bread, chocolates, pastries, macarons, authentic beignets and more. There will also be traditional market items like seasonal produce, fresh baked goods, meats, handmade soaps and more. The Fifes and Drums of York Town will also perform, and there will be a silent auction, a French basket raffle and a wine garden. 
  • York County History Day – Watermen’s Museum (Yorktown). A wide variety of events will be held in celebration of York County’s history on Saturday, April 16. Events will be held throughout the day at Watermen’s Museum, York Hall, Riverwalk Landing, the York County Historical Museum, On the Hill Gallery and Mobjack Bay Coffee Roasters. For a full schedule of events, click here. 10:00 am – 4:00 pm.
  • Watermen’s Museum Annual Chili Cook-Off – Watermen’s Museum (Yorktown). Show off your chili cooking skills by competing in the Watermen’s Museum annual Chili Cook-Off. Proceeds benefit the museum’s education program.  Tickets to attend the event are $10 if purchased in advance, $15 at the door. See the website for competition rules, a registration form and additional details. 


  • Williamsburg Farmers Market – Merchants Square (Williamsburg). Find a variety of local products – including seasonal produce, meats, seafood, baked goods, honey, cheese, cut flowers, handmade soaps and more – offered by more than 40 vendors. The market runs from 8:00 – 12:00 pm and there will be live music from 9:00 – 11:00 am.
  • Hilton Village Farmers Market – Historic Hilton Village (Newport News). Shop for goods from local farmers and bakers at this NEW year-round market at Historic Hilton Village. 9:00 am – 12:00 pm. 
  • Toano Open Air Market – 7891 Richmond Road (Toano). Shop for a variety of items from local farmers, artists and artisans. 9:00 am – 1:00 pm.


  • Tour of Newport News: Twilight Criterium – The Yard District (Newport News). This elite, amateur bicycle race is sanctioned by USA Cycling. It offers eight races for men and women of various ages and expertise, including a free Kids’ Fun Race for ages 3-9. There are cash prizes ranging from $250 – $2,500 for each race, and there will also be food trucks and free bike safety checks. See the website for race times and additional details, including registration information. 
  • 13th Annual Run The D.O.G. St. 5K – Duke of Gloucester Street (Williamsburg). This race starts on Prince George St., runs through Colonial Williamsburg and ends on Duke of Gloucester Street. The event will benefit Habitat for Humanity Peninsula & Greater Williamsburg. See the website for details or to register. Races begin at 7:00 am.


  • Vermont and Louisiana Troops on the Virginia Peninsula Van Tour – Lee Hall Mansion (Newport News). Guests will visit Hampton, Camp Butler, Cedar Lane, Young’s Mill, Dam No. 1 and Yorktown with historian J. Michael Moore to learn about the Green Mountain Boys and the Louisiana Zouaves and how they participated in the Civil War’s first battles. Expect extensive walking. $45 per person. See website for reservation details. 9:00 am – 3:00 pm. 


  • Beginning Excel – Williamsburg Library (Williamsburg). Attendees will how to open, save and input data in Microsoft Excel. Call to register. 10:30 am. 


  • Saturday Morning Cartoons: “Vivo” – Williamsburg Library Theatre (Williamsburg). This monthly film series is for animation lovers. The featured film for April is Vivo (2021; PG). See a trailer here. 10:30 am – 12:05 pm. 

Kids & Families

  • Science Saturday – Tabb Library (Yorktown). Kids will investigate all things bugs during this program. 10:15 – 11:00 am. 
  • Family Workshop: Joiner – Historic Trade: Joiner (Colonial Williamsburg). CW staff will demonstrate exercises used to create simple geometric forms that can be the basis for fashionable design. See the website for additional details. Tickets are required for kids and participating adults ($20 each). 10:00 – 11:00 am. 
  • Puppet Storytime – Stryker Center (Williamsburg). Kids ages 3+ are invited to sing and dance with puppets and enjoy books, flannel board stories and other activities. 11:00 am. 
  • Bookmobile Funfest: Straws, Connectors & Tea Lights – Abram Frink Jr. Community Center (Williamsburg). Kids will build the tallest lighthouse they can using straws and connectors before the timer runs out. For ages 5+. Registration required. Contest begins at 11:00 am. 


  • Makerspace: Glowforge 101 – Williamsburg Library (Williamsburg). Learn how to design items in the Glowforge software in this introductory class. For ages 18+. Spots are limited and registrations is required. 2:00 pm. 


  • Planting for Pollinators – Yorktown Library (Yorktown). Learn how to help the Monarch butterflies, honey bees and other pollinators in our area. 1:00 – 2:00 pm. 

Live Music

  • Audio Portrait  – Williamsburg Farmers Market (Williamsburg). Enjoy live music by Audio Portrait at the Williamsburg Farmers Market. 9:00 – 11:00 am. 
  • Mason Brown – Bay Haven Grille (Yorktown). Catch a country performance by Mason Brown at Bay Haven Grille. 6:00 pm.
  • The Mike Lucci Band – Cogan’s Deli & Sports Pub (Williamsburg). The Mike Lucci band performs live at 7 p.m. 
  • Bound to Have a Little Fun: A Celebration of String Band Music – Williamsburg Library (Williamsburg). Enjoy an evening of songs for all ages featuring Williamsburg’s Runaway String Band, a WRL favorite. Tickets are $5 ($4 for WRL). 7:30 pm. 
  • Organ Recital: Barbara Salter –  Bruton Parish Church (Williamsburg). Barbara Salter, organist from Virginia Beach, Virginia, will present a candlelit concert in historic Bruton Parish Church. 8:00 – 9:00 pm. 

Sunday, April 16

Special Events 

  • Spring Festival – James City County Library (Williamsburg). Attend a fun-filled, educational celebration of spring at the library. There will be live music by Jocelyn Oldham and opportunities to connect with local organizations to learn about gardening, the importance of pollinators and more. 2:00 – 4:00 pm. 
  • Meet Author Maria Hepner – York Hall (Yorktown). Local author Maria Hepner will discuss the history of the Yorktown Monument during this free public lecture. 1:00 – 3:30 pm. 

Kids & Families

  • The Mariners’ Milkids Fest – The Mariners’ Museum and Park (Newport News). This community event celebrates children of U.S. military service members. Military families and the public are invited to an afternoon of fun activities. Community resources will also be available. This event is free for military families and museum members. 12:00 – 4:00 pm. 
  • Family Workshop: Tailor – Historic Trade: Tailor (Colonial Williamsburg). Participants will learn about how sewing was a necessary skill at home and in many trades in the 18th century. Then, they’ll be introduced to a variety of stitches. Tickets are required for children and participating adults ($20). 10:00 – 11:00 am. 
  • Summer Camp Fair – James City County Recreation Center (Williamsburg). Learn about local and regional summer programs, camps and more for all ages. This event is held in partnership with WilliamsburgFamilies.com. There will be giveaways, games, goodie bags and more. 11:00 am – 3:00 pm. 
  • Paws to Read – Yorktown Library (Yorktown Library). Kids are invited to work on improving their reading skills by reading stories to trained therapy dogs. For grades 1-5. This program will take place at 1:30 – 2:30 pm and 3:30 – 4:30 pm

Live Music



Special Events

  • Tour of Newport News Weekend Bicycle Competition– The Yard District (Newport News). This new event features a series of bicycle races in The Yard District, with events taking place every day, April 14-16.  Click here to register or for additional details, including times and pricing. 
  • CW Lights – Governor’s Palace Gardens (Colonial Williamsburg). Enjoy a magical glow experience at Colonial Williamsburg. Stroll through the world-class gardens at the Governor’s Palace, where the spring blooms will be illuminated like never before. You’ll also enjoy the finest 18th-century entertainment. This is a family-friendly event. CW Lights runs nightly through Saturday, April 22. Admission is $19 for adults, $12 for children 2-12 and free for children under 2. Tickets are available for three time slots: 8:00 – 9:00 pm, 8:30 – 9:30 pm or 9:00 – 10:00 pm. 

Outdoor Recreation

  • Archery for Adults – Upper County Park (Williamsburg). Learn introductory archery skills, including proper technique. For ages 16+. This program will take place Tuesdays and Thursdays, April 11-20. $50. 6:00 – 7:00 pm.
  • Archery 101 – Upper County Park (Williamsburg). Kids 9-15 will learn the basics of using and handling a recurve bow safely. Tuesdays & Thursdays, April 11-20. $50. 6:00 – 7:00 pm.


  • Williamsburg Contemporary Art Center (WCAC) Members’ Show – Stryker Center (Williamsburg). WCAC will be showcasing member art at this exhibit. Hours: Monday-Friday, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, April 14 – May 31, 2023. 
  • Quilts Exhibit – Gallery at York Hall (Yorktown). Stop by to view the quilts exhibit at the Gallery of York Hall. The Gallery features paintings, pottery, jewelry, stained glass, quilts, and other pieces from more than 300 local artists available for purchase, and a portion of proceeds supports performing and visual arts in Historic Yorktown. The quilts exhibit runs April through May. Admission to the gallery is free. Hours are 10:00 am – 4:00 pm Tuesday – Saturday and 10:00 am – 4:00 pm Sunday.


  • Street Theatre – Front of Raleigh Tavern (Colonial Williamsburg). This street theatre performance explores the daily lives of the ordinary people who lived in 18th-century Colonial Williamsburg. Sundays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays throughout April. 10:00 – 10:25 am.
  • Presentation: Musket Demonstration – Magazine Yard (Colonial Williamsburg). In this presentation, a member of Colonial Williamsburg’s Military Programs staff will demonstrate the loading and firing of the musket using an 18th-century loading procedure. This is a recurring events with multiple times/dates; see the Colonial Williamsburg’s website for details. 

Tax Help

  • Free Tax Prep Help – Multiple Locations. Free tax preparation services are available for those who qualify through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program and Tax Counseling for the Elderly, now through mid-April. To find a free tax preparation service near you, visit this website and enter your zip code. In Williamsburg, AARP Tax Aide is also available at the Williamsburg Library and at Fire Station #1, Feb. 1 – April 15VITA tax preparation services are available Tuesday and Thursday (1-5:30 pm) and Saturdays (9 am – 1:30 pm) at Colonial Williamsburg’s Kids Club Building 17 Near the Visitors Center. Click here for additional details.

Community Announcements

Williamsburg REALTORS ® is hosting a Wheelbarrow of Summer Fun raffle – Williamsburg REALTORS ®  are raising money to build a house in James City County for a local family in partnership with Habitat for Humanity. The organization is raffling off the Wheelbarrow of Summer Fun, and all proceeds will be used to build a Habitat home for a local family! The winner will be drawn on June 15th. To purchase a raffle ticket, visit https://donorbox.org/waar-raffle-fun.

Host families are needed for exchange students – Host families are currently being matched with high school foreign exchange students for all school districts for the 23-24 school year. Spots are limited, and May 15th is the deadline. Students have their own spending money and health insurance, are fluent in English, fully supervised throughout their stay (semester or school year), and are matched based on shared interests/hobbies, country and gender preference. Anyone can host– traditional families, singles, working parents, empty nesters, etc. Contact Welby Whiting Fairlie 757-784-8763 or [email protected]. Additional information is also available at www.iseusa.org.

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