Christmas Town at Busch Gardens
Christmas Town at Busch Gardens
Fireworks over the Governor's Palace
Fireworks over the Governor's Palace

This Year's Special Events in Williamsburg, Va.

GREATER WILLIAMSBURG’S CAN’T-MISS MOMENTS: THE YEAR’S SPECIAL EVENTS

Williamsburg offers an array of activities and events to enjoy during any season of the year. From Jamestown Day in the spring to the celebration of Independence Day in the summer, Halloween celebrations at Howl-o-Scream in Busch Gardens to a colonial celebration of Christmas, there's always something to celebrate in Williamsburg.  

Spring

Williamsburg Film Festival, March 9-12:
In 1997, a group of Western film fans decided to launch a film festival. Since then, the annual event has grown into three days of film, music, and meeting the stars. Over the years, the actors who have appeared include Larry Storch of "F Troop," Lee Meriwether of "Barnaby Jones" and dozens of TV shows, and Robert Fuller of "The Virginian" and "Emergency!" 

Jamestown Day, May 14:
Mark the 409th anniversary of the founding of America's first permanent English settlement with weaponry demonstrations, traditional music, historical programs, and the sailing of one of Jamestown Settlement’s replica 1607 ships on the James River. Activities take place in Historic Jamestown and Jamestown Settlement. The fun begins at 9 a.m. so get up early. 

The LPGA Kingsmill Championship, May 16-22:
The best women golfers in the world descend on Kingsmill Resort to compete on the famed River Course, where the layout recently was tweaked by renowned golf architect Pete Dye. Past winners include Cristie Kerr, Annika Sorenstam, and Lizette Salas. A weekly clubhouse badge gets you access to the grounds, clubhouse, bar, restaurant, and more.  

Spring Food Events

Busch Gardens Annual Food & Wine Festival, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, May 27 - June 26:
A tasty adventure awaits culinary explorers, who can unleash their inner foodie with a variety of dishes and wines not normally served at the park. Enjoy authentic tastes from around the world while strolling through the world's most beautiful theme park.

Blues, Brews, and BBQ Festival, Yorktown, May 7:
Is there a better combination than the unholy trinity of blues, brews, and BBQ? Virginia blues stars Anthony and the Conqueroos are the late-afternoon headliner, but there's great music starting at noon in this riverfront event. The beer lineup is equally stellar including Smartmouth, Devil's Backbone, Alewerks, Starr Hill, and others. In addition to BBQ, there is a long list of other goodies and treats from kettle corn to carrot cake. 

Fourth of July:
You're sure to get red, white, and blue Goosebumps celebrating Independence Day in Greater Williamsburg. In Colonial Williamsburg, don’t miss the Fife and Drum Corps salute behind the courthouse and the reading of the Declaration of Independence on the courthouse steps. Eat at one of the historic taverns, try the buffet at the Williamsburg Lodge, or grab sandwiches from one of the shops for a picnic. In Yorktown, there are military exercises at the Yorktown Victory Center. End the day with “bombs” bursting in the air at several locations including Colonial Williamsburg, Historic Yorktown, and Busch Gardens.

Fall

Williamsburg Fall Arts, September to October:
Great concerts, a wine festival, a book festival, and captivating art everywhere from downtown Williamsburg to Jamestown and Yorktown are the centerpieces of this month-long celebration. 

An Occasion for the Arts, Oct. 1 and 2:
This is the juried art show of the year, bringing together artists from around the country with performers on two stages and a variety of food vendors for a full weekend. Duke of Gloucester Street with dozens of vendors is the focus, but the celebration extends throughout downtown. 

Yorktown Victory Celebration, Oct. 15-16:
Celebrate the 235th anniversary of Gen. George Washington's victory over the British at the Yorktown Battlefield, the last major conflict of the Revolutionary War. In addition to the usual ceremonies, demonstrations, and parades, this year will feature a preview of the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown with the debut of the new introductory film and exhibition galleries. 

Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, Sept. 23 - Oct. 30:
Fill fall nights with fright at Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream. At the stroke of 6 p.m. the theme park becomes home to a host of creepy creatures that lie in wait for unsuspecting victims. Fear abounds in the park’s collection of haunted houses, Terror-tories™ and darkly entertaining live shows.

Fall Food Events

Busch Gardens Bier Fest, Sept. 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 17 and 18:
Beers from the Goose Island IPA to Legend's Cask ale to Beck's Spaten Lager will be on tap. Bite into traditional German food, listen to live music, and get as close to a Bavarian celebration as you can this side of Munich. Prost! 

Williamsburg Harvest Celebration, Nov. 5-12:
This is a foodie fantasy. Thirty events in Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown over a week feature Virginia chefs, farmers, foragers, brewers, winemakers and other spirits stars. Eat, drink and learn from the area's culinary best, whether at a craft beer university or a cooking demonstration at the farmer's market on Duke of Gloucester Street in Colonial Williamsburg.  

Thanksgiving

Special restaurant dinners:
Dine like the colonists or like royalty at your choice of restaurants in Colonial Williamsburg. The garden-to-table menu at the Williamsburg Lodge features smoked Atlantic salmon, seafood pirlau and, of course, turkey with onion and sausage stuffing. Other choices in the historic district include dinner at the King's Arms Tavern, which starts with peanut soup and features sage-rubbed young turkey. 

Food & Feasts of Colonial Virginia at Jamestown Settlement and Yorktown Victory Center, Nov. 24-26:
Step back into kitchens of another century. Discover how food was preserved and prepared on land and on sea by the English colonists and Powhatan Indians. Learn about the importance of corn. Witness how scarce rations for soldiers were transformed into stews, pies and breads. 

Black Friday shopping at Williamsburg Premium Outlets, Nov. 25:
Get a head start on designer deals at the 135 stores in this outlet mall, including Polo Ralph Lauren, Kate Spade, Aeropostale, Michael Kors, Brooks Brothers, Calvin Klein, DKNY, L'Occitane, Movado, Oakley and The North Face.

Christmas

A Colonial Christmas at Jamestown Settlement and Yorktown Victory Center, Dec. 1-31:
Get a look at 17th- and 18th- century holiday traditions with programs that compare English traditions with how they may have been observed in the early years of America's first colony. Historical interpreters guide visitors through the living-history displays, adorned for the season. Enjoy period musical entertainment throughout the month. 

Christmas Town at Busch Gardens, select dates Nov. 25 - Jan. 2: 
Eight million lights illuminate the park, and the shows feature holiday themes during this seasonal extravaganza. Busch Gardens’ signature hot chocolate is the drink of December. Experience Christmas traditions from around the world, as well as the North Pole, Santa's workshop, and the red-nosed rotund one himself. 

Yorktown Christmas Tree Lighting and Lighted Boat Parade, Dec. 2 and 3:
The Christmas tree is lit amid festivities at Riverwalk Landing. The next day, festively decorated sail and powerboats fill the Yorktown waterfront in a dazzling display of holiday lights as they vie for best of show. There’s also caroling around a beach bonfire, musical performances and complimentary hot cider. 

Grand Illumination at Colonial Williamsburg, Dec. 4:
In the 18th century, illuminations celebrated major events with the firing of guns, candles in the windows, and the lighting of fireworks. Colonial Williamsburg elevates that tradition with decorations, music from multiple stages, and fireworks from three different locations set against the backdrop of the historic buildings. Go and be dazzled.

New Year’s Eve

First Night Williamsburg, Dec. 31:
There's something for everyone at this family-oriented event celebrated throughout the city and on the campus of the College of William & Mary. Children's games and storytellers. Jugglers and magicians. Folk, blues, Celtic, rock, jazz, swing music and more. The alcohol-free fun, featuring a few dozen venues and food vendors, starts in the afternoon and goes on until the clock strikes midnight, when there are fireworks, of course.