Greater Williamsburg Harvests a Bounty Full of Fall Fun in 2019

A Cornucopia of History, Adventure, Cuisine and More Awaits

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – August 12, 2019 – While we bid adieu to the scorching heat, lazy beach days and long summer nights, Greater Williamsburg is preparing for an autumn season that will involve more than warm apple cider and pumpkin picking. As leaves turn into a rainbow of crimson magnificence, the spirit of Greater Williamsburg comes alive to tell the tales of a captivating past from the birthplace of democracy to the First Thanksgiving.  Fall aromas fill the air as both locals and visitors navigate their way through harvest festivals and farmer’s markets while the spooky vibes from haunted houses and ghost tours remind us that Halloween is only around the corner.  Here is a sampling of what's taking place this fall, but for additional details and to plan your stay, visit www.visitwilliamsburg.com.

Engage in 400 Years of American History

2019 marks the 400th anniversary of events that took place in Virginia which continue to shape America. 1619 was a pivotal year in the establishment of the first permanent colony in North America. It was the year of the first representative legislative assembly in the New World; marked the arrival of the first recorded Africans to English North America; saw the recruitment of English women to the Jamestown Settlement in substantial numbers; served as the first official English Thanksgiving; and was the first time a series of laws passed allowing Virginia colonists to experiment with various industries which laid the groundwork for America’s free enterprise.   American Evolution is commemorating the 400th Anniversary by reflecting on the themes of diversity, democracy and opportunity with a large variety of featured events, programs and legacy projects.

In honor of the 400th Anniversary, a multitude of events across Virginia will be taking place including:

  • First African Landing Weekend, August 23 – 25, Fort Monroe, Hampton – this event commemorates the 400th Anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in English North America. Public events begin on August 24 at 9:30 am with a commemoration ceremony and preview of the Fort Monroe Visitor and Education Center. Visitors can enjoy cultural demonstrations, vendors, children’s activities, and more in Continental Park.
  • Dance Theatre of Harlem Ballet-Blacksburg, September 13, 8:00 pm, Moss Arts Center at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA –  Virginia Arts Festival, in partnership with American Evolution, has commissioned a new ballet from the Dance Theatre of Harlem. Titled Passage and created by Claudia Schreier, an award-winning young choreographer, the work will include twelve dancers and take place in three parts, while set to a score from critically-acclaimed composer, Jessie Montgomery. Themes of the 400th Anniversary will be reflected in the piece, expressing in abstract the fortitude of the human spirit and celebrating the unvanquished spark within that must prevail.
  • “Season of the Witch,” September 14 & 1921, 7:30 pm, Jamestown Settlementan immersive nighttime theatrical experience about the 1626 witchcraft trial of Jane Wright will take place in Jamestown Settlement’s re-created fort. 
  • American Indian Intertribal Powwow, October 1213, Jamestown Settlement – a two-day celebration of song, dance and storytelling by members of American Indian tribes. This year’s program highlights American Indian women with special performances, speakers and more. Held in conjunction with the 2019 Commemoration, American Evolution.
  • Women’s Achieve Summit, October 15, 7:00 am, Richmond Convention Center – hosted by a special guest, the Summit will celebrate the achievements of women in Virginia and American history, while also exploring the issues women face in the 21st century. The Summit will represent the diversity of American women and honor the 1619 commemorative cultures: African, English and Virginia Indian.
  • Customs, Cultures & Cuisine Festival, November 130, Across Virginia –  the Commonwealth of Virginia invites all Americans to “Come Home to Virginia” to enjoy a variety of premier events, festivals and special programming that draw on 400 years of Virginia’s unique history and culture. This special month-long statewide festival will serve as a momentous capstone to the American Evolution, 2019 Commemoration.
  • Berkeley Plantation, First Thanksgiving, November 3, 11:00 am – 4:00 pm, Charles City, VA every year on the first Sunday in November, Berkeley Plantation hosts the Virginia Thanksgiving Festival, an annual tradition that dates back to 1619 when Captain John Woodlief landed on the shores of the James River. The epic one-day festival includes a host of entertainment for all ages, historical tributes, Thanksgiving fare, colonial period games, arts and craft vendors and kid-friendly activities.  Visitors can watch a re-enactment of the first English Thanksgiving, explore old-fashioned fun like cornhusk doll making or observe a parade with horse-drawn carriages. The famous Thanksgiving Dinner in a glass will be available and provided by Brock’s Barbeque. Festival admission and parking: $5 per motorcycle, $10 per car and $20 per bus.
  • TENACITY: Women in Jamestown and Early Virginia, through January 5, 2020, Jamestown Settlement – this special yearlong exhibition explores little-known, captivating personal stories of real women in Jamestown and the early Virginia colony and their tenacious spirit and impact on a fledgling society.  
  • “Forgotten Soldier Special Exhibition,”  through March 22, 2020, American Revolution Museum at Yorktown – personal stories of both enslaved and free African- Americans, who fought on both sides of the Revolutionary War, are revealed through interactive elements and compelling art displays. Related public programs feature a series of panel discussions, genealogy workshops and interpretive demonstrations with re-enactors from African-American military regiments.  
  • America’s Historic Triangle, through December 31 one ticket for seven consecutive days of unlimited visits to five historical attractions – Jamestown Settlement, Historic Jamestowne, Colonial Williamsburg, Yorktown Battlefield and the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown. 
  • Jamestown Settlement Gallery Refresh, Jamestown Settlement a year-round stage for the 2019 Commemoration, Jamestown Settlement is offering visitors new immersive gallery exhibits and a larger-than-life experiential film, expanding on 400 years of landmark events in history and providing a new look at the stories of America’s beginnings.  Part of the large-scale, $10.6 million phased renovation that took place this year includes new historical research, interactive touch screens and enhanced technology to bring 1600s history to life and make it relevant to modern audiences. The new experiential theater, opening late Summer 2019, will tell the story of “Bacon’s Rebellion” across multimedia screens, using special effects. Throughout the year, visitors can step into an outdoor re-creation of a 17th century Powhatan Indian village and a 1610-14 fort, and board one of three 1607 English ships, complete with costumed historical interpreters offering daily demonstrations.

Enjoy Good-Old Fashioned Fall Fun or Partake in a Few Spine-Tingling Chills 

  • Howl-O’Scream, select dates from September 14 – October 27, 6:00 pm, Busch Gardens® Williamsburg – fun at Busch Gardens® Williamsburg continues in the autumn months with the ever-popular Howl-O-Scream.  Frights await even in the world’s most beautiful theme park, with elaborate haunted houses, immersive themed scare zones, challenging escape rooms and darkly entertaining live shows. Jack is Back this year, as Busch Gardens’ original trickster brings his popular show back to the park’s Ireland village.
  • Family Frights, October 25 & 26, 6:30 – 9:00 pm, Jamestown Settlement – a Halloween-themed museum night for young children and families features trick-or-treating, grisly games, ghostly tales, haunted houses and spooky ships. 
  • GhostoberFest, October, The Cannon Tap Room at Brass Cannon Brewerythis Halloween-inspired event will take place the entire month of October and will entail Halloween-themed weekends and fun with dedicated small spooky batch beer releases, additional music nights and discounts for folks who show up in costume.
  • Halloween Bash, October 19, Yankee Candle Village – features costume contests, games and more.
  • Colonial Williamsburg Haunting on DOG Street, October 25 – 26, Colonial Williamsburg – Greater Williamsburg guests can celebrate the Halloween season on Duke of Gloucester Street with evening programs, ghost tours, spooky carriage rides, museum talks and special events. Tickets go on sale August 5 and Colonial Williamsburg Resorts hotel guests’ tickets go on presale August 1-4.
  • Fall Festival Weekends, October 5, 6, 12, 13, 14, Yankee Candle Village – autumn festivities take place weekends throughout October celebrating all things fall from hayrides to pumpkin painting.

Sip on Spirits and Embark on a Journey in Gastronomy

  • Bier Fest, every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from August 16 – September 2, Busch Gardens® Williamsburg – park guests can toast the final weekends of summer at Bier Fest. This festival spans three weekends and features more than 100 beers tapped throughout the event, brewery talks from popular craft breweries, live local bands and traditional German food. Additionally, beer bars throughout the park will offer guests unique draft and bottled beers from around the world, almost half of which come from breweries in Virginia.
  • 50 Years of Love, beginning September 1, The Cannon Tap Room at Brass Cannon Brewery – the Tap Room is celebrating 50 Years of the "Virginia is for Lovers" brand which runs for 50 days beginning on September 1. On offer are the unique “Photo Op Banner" which will hang in The Cannon Tap Room through the end of the 50 days, a commemorative beer called Lovers Lager – a blend of Chocolate and Strawberry Infused Lager – and discounts to anyone who asks for that beer with the familiar phrase “Virginia is Lovers.”
  • David Everett’s 9th Annual Farm to Table Dinner, September 13, 6:30 pm, Colonial Williamsburgthis extraordinary epicurean event features miles of beautifully dressed long tables along with a crowd of happy people right in the middle of Merchant's Square. The Trellis Bar & Grill, Blue Talon Bistro, DoG Street Pub and Culture Cafe in coordination with The Catering Company hope for guests to join them in what is known as the best event of the year. The night begins with a reception, followed by dinner under the stars with expertly chosen wines. Tickets will be on sale for $125.
  • Wine Festival, October 5, 12:00 – 6:00 pm, Riverwalk Landing, Yorktown for both the wine connoisseur and aspiring novice, this grand tasting of wines from Virginia and beyond will allow ticket holders to sample Rieslings and Gewürztraminers from Germany or indulge in bubbly from France. Live music, delectable food from local restaurants and the work of talented artisans complete this not-to-be missed festival of the senses. Tickets are $30 in advance, $35 at the gate, and include admission into the Virginia Craft Beer Garden to sample specialty brews and hard ciders.
  • Jazz and Dinner on the Lawn at Williamsburg Inn, October 6, 5:00 pm, Colonial Williamsburg – music and food aficionados can enjoy the smooth and hypnotic sounds of jazz by the horn ensemble group, Brasswind, while enjoying exquisite fare on the picturesque lawn of the Williamsburg Inn. Cocktails, appetizers and a delectable three-course dinner, inspired by the seasonal flavors of Virginia, will be available beginning at $99 per person.
  • Williamsburg Inn Afternoon Tea with Live Music, every Thursday – Sunday from 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm, Colonial Williamsburg – the traditional afternoon tea experience at Williamsburg Inn has been reimagined with a new menu and live music. Experience an elevated afternoon tea menu set to the sounds of a live band in the Terrace & Goodwin Rooms at the Williamsburg Inn.
  • Woodford Reserve Tasting and Chef Demo at the Taste Studio, Thursdays, 6:00 pm, Colonial Williamsburg – passionate cooks can learn, create and share alongside a talented Colonial Williamsburg Resorts chef. This engaging tasting and demonstration features spirits from the premium bourbon brand Woodford Reserve. Tickets are $35 and $95; ages 21 and over only.
  • Maritime Market, November 9, 9:00 am3:00 pm, Riverwalk Landing, Yorktown – this extended farmer’s market is part of Yorktown’s themed Market Days series, and the Commonwealth’s Customs, Cultures, and Cuisine Festival taking place throughout November across Virginia. Guests can sample some of the best seafood in the area, watch a military chef demonstration or shop for beach-inspired arts and crafts. Pirates will once again invade the waterfront to talk to kids about seafaring life and hands-on activities and interactive programs will be available for sea lovers of all ages.
  • Harvest Festival, November 16, 9:00 am – 3:00 pm, Riverwalk, Yorktown – part of Yorktown’s themed Market Days series, and the Commonwealth’s Customs, Cultures, and Cuisine Festival taking place throughout November across Virginia. Customers can shop for turkeys, sample seasonal treats, pre-order Thanksgiving dinner ingredients and take home unique holiday pieces from local artists, while kids can enjoy free activities.
  • Illycaffe, Opening TBD, Merchant’s Square the newest Williamsburg coffee shop and café will be brought in by Blue Talon’s co-owner Adam Steely in a 2,000 square-foot location next to Talbot’s along the Duke of Gloucester Street. Apart from coffee, takeaway breakfast, light lunch fare and wine, the café will serve a dessert-only menu in the evening.  Steely’s wife, who is the owner of Extraordinary Cupcakes, will develop the dessert-only menu with European-style pastries.

Find Artistic and Musical Inspiration

  • Broadway in Williamsburg featuring Liz Callaway, September 1, 5:30 pm, Williamsburg Inn new for the fall, Colonial Williamsburg Resorts brings the beloved Broadway sounds to the historic destination with the spectacular musical event, Broadway in Williamsburg featuring Liz Callaway. Show-goers get to enjoy cocktails on the terrace and dinner in the Regency Room. Prices begin at $150 per person.
  • Quirky Sundays, Sunday from September 8 – December 29, The Cannon Tap Room at Brass Cannon Brewery this off-beat affair will feature an eccentric concept that offers discounts to participating patrons. Couples can get a discount on Patriotic Procreation Day where they must produce pictures of at least three of their kids to demonstrate a “Positive Replacement Rate," while others can participate in Take Your Houseplant for a Walk Day where they must show up with a house plant on a leash.
  • An Occasion for the Arts, October 4 – 6, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, Merchant’s Square, Colonial Williamsburg – each year, on the first full weekend in October, AOFTA provides a celebration of visual, literary and performing arts in and beyond Merchant’s Square. Talented fine art, lively performing arts and food and beverage tastings make this an event for everyone in the family.
  • LOVE Letters, November 8 – 17, Riverwalk Landing, Yorktown – new to Yorktown, Virginia Tourism, life-sized LOVE artwork will be on display at Riverwalk Landing as part of a state and local partnership to promote tourism in the Commonwealth. The artwork, measuring 16 feet long and more than six feet high, is an extension of the iconic "Virginia is for Lovers" brand, which is celebrating 50 years since its inception.
  • Rhythms on the Riverwalk Concert Series, September 6 – October 4, 6:30 – 8:30 pm, Riverwalk Landing, Yorktown – each Friday, Yorktown’s free, 5-week concert series features local favorites who play jazz, big band and country. Guests can bring their chairs and blankets down to Riverwalk Landing to claim a spot at the waterfront and enjoy a cool breeze off the York River.
  • Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra, September 13, Williamsburg – as the WSO searches for its next music director, it has invited each of the five finalists for the position to conduct one of the WSO’s Masterworks concerts during the 2019-20 season. After the concert, the audience will be invited to meet the candidate and submit comments through an online or written survey. Apart from its Masterworks concerts, the season will also feature a number of special concerts, including Holiday Pops on December 7 and 8, the Nutcracker with the Virginia Regional Ballet on December 21, Cabaret & Cocktails on January 25, Peter and the Wolf concerts in area schools and a Side-by-Side concert with the Williamsburg Youth Orchestra.  A season subscription for the five-concert Masterworks start at $210 each. Season subscribers will receive discounts on Holiday Pops tickets if purchased with a subscription. 

Escape with the Family…or Alone

  • Colonial Williamsburg Resorts Fall Getaway Package travelers can revel in the fall with a journey to charming Historic Williamsburg for an unforgettable getaway at one of five world-class hotels and resorts. The Fall Getaway Package starts at $129 per night and includes a three-night stay at an official Colonial Williamsburg Resorts hotel at 15 percent off, complimentary fitness and wellness experiences, two complimentary tickets to historic Colonial Williamsburg, a cozy Colonial Williamsburg carriage ride at $5 off, access to Colonial Williamsburg attraction tickets at 25 percent off, preferred dining reservations and tee times and more.
  • History is Fun! Vacation – visitors can experience charm and dive into history with seven consecutive days of unlimited admission to Jamestown Settlement, Historic Jamestowne, Colonial Williamsburg, Yorktown Battlefield and the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown and choice of lodging from budget to deluxe in the Williamsburg area. Rates begin at $275 for 3 days based on two adults and two children. Parking is included and admission includes special exhibitions and daytime events at the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown.  

Give to a Good Cause

  • Paws at the River, October 26, 9:00 am – 3:00 pm, River Landing, Yorktown – part of Yorktown’s themed Market Days, this furry-filled event is designed to bring awareness to animal rescue organizations and to help place adoptable pets in their “furever” homes. Fun will extend down to the green in front of the Riverwalk Landing businesses, where shoppers will find artists, agility demonstrations, informational booths and other educational opportunities. Free pet portraits will also be on offer.

Indulge in Retail Therapy

  • Get Fall Ready!, August 20 – September 20, Williamsburg Premium Outlets Tackle fall fashion head on with the hottest seasonal looks at Williamsburg Premium Outlets while saving up to 65% off typical retail prices from a selection of over 120 sought-after brands.
  • Service Appreciation Day, September 7, Yankee Candle Village – shoppers can celebrate a day to say thank you to all the service men and women while getting 30 percent off their purchases.
  •  Girl’s Night Out, September 12, Yankee Candle Village – ladies can splurge and pamper themselves plus get a percent off their purchase while sampling food or enjoying a massage and a glass of wine
  • Tacky Last Minute Shop, December 18, Yankee Candle Village – those procrastinators who may have left buying gifts to the last minute can also have a chance to win a prize if they wear their best ugly sweater while shopping.
  • New World VR, Williamsburg Premium Outlets – while mom shops, the family can have fun with over 100 virtual reality games and content. Teachers and military receive $10 off.

Get in the Holiday Spirit

  • Santa’s Arrival, November 9, Yankee Candle Village – Santa and Mrs. Claus make their much-anticipated debut by horse-drawn carriage. Families will be able to enjoy Christmas caroling, mini donuts with hot chocolate, a petting zoo and holiday photos with Jolly Old St. Nick amongst other Christmas festivities.
  • Holiday Tree Lighting, December 7, Yankee Candle Village – children can join Santa as he lights the Yankee Candle Village holiday tree. This kid-favorite day begins at 1:00 pm and is complete with trackless train rides, live music, costumed friends and milk and cookies
  • Christmastide in VirginiaDecember 20-31, Jamestown Settlement & American Revolution Museum at Yorktown experience 17th and 18th century Virginia holiday traditions with a variety of interpretive programs, cooking demonstrations and musical entertainment.

For more ideas about adventures in Greater Williamsburg, explore the 10 most popular attractions, find some family fun and plan your next visit now.

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