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The Parade of Sail marks the return of Harborfest

This is the first time Festevents is holding the event in person since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

NORFOLK, Va. — Leaders with Norfolk Festevents said they’ve kept the spirit of the annual Harborfest alive over the last two years with virtual events. They said they're excited to see Harborfest once again come to life this year on Waterside Drive.

“We’re looking forward to bringing the community back together here on the Downtown Norfolk Waterfront,” said Jordan Lett, the marketing director for Norfolk Festevents.

Lett said the festival is set to bring a large crowd for its 46th year. He said crews got to work early setting up tents and signs since Monday. Lett said parts of Waterside Drive will continue to transform all throughout Thursday.

“We’ll be ready to roll," he said. "Thursday night into Friday morning for the Parade of Sails to kick off at noon.

He said he and his team are ready for the big weekend ahead.

“We were able to do some smaller events during the pandemic," Lett said. "Leading up to this event, we’ve had a few, actually really, really large festivals that we’ve been able to work out some of our kinks.”

With preparation comes a detailed security plan. Lett said eventgoers will see a strong police presence at the festival over the next few days.

“With an event as large at Harborfest, we’re fortunate that we get a ton of really high level, sort of national security agencies like Homeland Security, the FBI.”

He said those agencies will work in partnership with Norfolk Police to ensure everyone’s safety.

The city closed off several downtown streets ahead of the festival Thursday morning. Those streets will open on Monday. Here's a full list of road closures for the weekend:

  • The Southbound lane of Boush Street from Brambleton Avenue to City Hall Avenue will remain open. The southbound median turn lane will remain open from City Hall Avenue to Plume Street for garage access. The northbound lane from Main Street to Brambleton Avenue will remain open.
  • The eastbound lanes of Waterside Drive will be closed from Main Street and Martin’s Lane for event set-up. The westbound lane will be closed from Atlantic Street to Main Street for event set-up.
  • Martin’s Lane from Main Street to Waterside Drive
  • Atlantic Street from Main Street to Waterside Drive

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