The Legend of King Neptune:
According to legend, Neptune was a Roman God who ruled the seas. He carried his trident and was pulled by a team of dolphins, calming the sea along the way. Each year, the Neptune Festival selects members of the VA Beach community to play the part of Neptune and his Royal Court. Selections are based off of nominations and community involvement. One appointed, VA Beach’s very own King Neptune and Royal Court act as city ambassadors throughout the year!
What is the VA Beach Neptune Festival?
For Mother’s Day, My mom and I traveled to the VA Beach Oceanfront to take part in the VA Beach Neptune Festival! The Neptune Festival is actually a series of summer festivals that take place on the VA Beach Boardwalk, near the Large Neptune Statue.
The VA Beach Neptune Festival is ranked as one of the top 100 festivals in the USA and in the top 10 festivals on the East Coast. The specific festival that we attended was the 2018 Neptune Spring Food + Wine Festival – and let me tell you, this wine festival is extremely unique!
Our Experience at the Festival:
After a never-ending, harsh winter, I have been longing for summer weather! Well let me tell you, I got my wish at the VA Beach Neptune Festival! The weather was beautiful, and sipping international wines by the ocean front was a dream come true! The space was a bit crowded and we had to take a few breaks to cool off in the shade, but it was nothing that we couldn’t handle!
My favorite wine at the festival was a German Riesling, Bex (pictured below). This was actually surprising to me, considering that I don’t usually love Rieslings. However, with the heat, I don’t think that my taste buds were exactly at normal levels! lol 🙂 But, I do tend to favor white wines very heavily on a hot day!
Spring Wine Festival Set-up:
As you can tell from the picture below, the tables were separated by region. The Festival had tables set up for (about) 8 countries. Plus, there were a few special tables for local wineries and a Rose’ station! Separating the wines in this way allows you to taste the similarities (and differences) in wines within the same region.
Each table had multiple lines leading up to the tasting area, but still, waiting in line is inevitable. However, that’s just an excuse to make friends with the people around you! Even though we aren’t from VA Beach, we met a lot of nice people from all over Virginia!
Other Neptune Festival Notables:
One thing that we really liked about this event is that you can leave and re-enter later. Because of this, we were able to take a break and walk out onto the beach before the event was over! Also, the location of the VA Beach Neptune Festival just can’t be beat; The VA Beach Boardwalk is one of the nicest Boardwalks on the east coast. I highly recommend getting a hotel along the boardwalk, not only to avoid driving and/or parking, but just because it is absolutely gorgeous!
The Neptune Festival is actually a non-profit organization with six full-time and four part-time employees! With that said, it takes a lot of volunteers to make each of the Neptune Festival events a success. All of the volunteers that we met were very friendly, and I’m sure that they enjoyed a tall glass of wine at the end of the day!
Upcoming Neptune Festival Events:
- July 12th: Symphony by the Sea Concert Series
- August 25th: Coastal Craft Beer Festival
- September 8-9th: Neptune’s Surfing Classic
- September 15-16th: Fall Neptune Wine Festival
- September 28-30th: 45th Annual Boardwalk Weekend
Annual Boardwalk Weekend
The VA Beach Neptune Festival’s Boardwalk Weekend brings 1000’s of people to the VA Beach area! The Boardwalk Weekend is the heart of the Neptune Festival. It is the home of tons events throughout the entire weekend! Some of these events include:
- Musical Performances
- Sand Sculpting Contest
- Neptune’s 8K race
- Neptune’s Volleyball Tournament
- Grand Parade
- Art Show
- The Neptune’s Atlantic Regatta
VA Beach Dining Highlight
If you are staying overnight in VA Beach, chances are that you will need to find somewhere to eat. Terrapin Restaurant in VA Beach was extremely gracious in hosting us for an exquisite three-course wine paring dinner. While we were there, Terrapin’s managing partner, Brian Williams, was an outstanding host!
I was so impressed with our dining experience that I created a separate dining highlight blog for Terrapin, which you can read here. I HIGHLY recommend dining with Terrapin if you find yourself in the VA Beach area! They are located just a few blocks from the boardwalk, and within walking distance of the festival!
Ready to attend the VA Beach Neptune Festival?
I would like to thank the Neptune Festival for generously hosting us at the 2018 Neptune Spring Wine + Food Festival. Through this experience, I hope that I have inspired you to take a trip to VA Beach this summer and experience the Neptune Festival in action! The Boardwalk Weekend is a free event, and tickets for the Fall Wine Festival go on sale on June 1st! Between all of these great events, the VA Beach Neptune Festival has something for everyone! I believe that this is truly an event that every Virginia Native should attend, at least once!
BUT, if Virginia is not quite in your traveling reach, then I understand. However, regardless of your location, I hope that you take some time to explore this beautiful world this summer! As always, thanks for reading about my adventures, and please stay tuned for the next one.
This post was made possible by support from the Neptune Festival; however, all opinions expressed on this blog are unscripted and honestly & organically my own! Also, this post contains affiliate linking.