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Virginia Beach Oceanfront serving up excitement in wake of SITW lineup announcement

Business owners and nearby residents are anticipating a lot of energy to take over the Oceanfront.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — It's that time of year when people are slowly returning to the Virginia Beach Oceanfront to enjoy the local food spots and business owners are shaking off the winter cold to give a warm welcome to visitors.

At Dough Boys right on 24th and Atlantic Avenue Wednesday afternoon, some tables sat quietly as employees work around the clock to accommodate in new customers. However, that scene is expected to change very soon with the return of the Something in the Water music festival.

Virginia Beach native and Grammy award-winning artist Pharrell Williams announced the festival's long-awaited lineup Wednesday morning. Now, the excitement of what's to come is heating up businesses at the Oceanfront.

"Something in the Water is a huge event as it is," said Martha Davenport, the executive director of the Virginia Beach Restaurant Association. 

She said restaurant owners are ready to welcome in the foot traffic during the three-day extravaganza.

"What [organizers] are doing this year different from 2019 is they're looking to activate the whole entire Oceanfront and bring businesses and restaurants in that didn't get a chance to participate last year," Davenport explained.

The Restaurant Association is teaming up with festival organizers for a week-long dining experience called "Something on the Menu." It's not just limited to Oceanfront businesses. 

Restaurants reaching as far as the Chesapeake Bay and Town Center are expected to participate, but Davenport couldn't reveal the full list of participating businesses...yet.

It's an opportunity she said will serve up an economic boost to local business owners. 

"These restaurants are all about the family, they're all about hiring locals. They're supporting families, whether it be their own or others," said Davenport. "For some, it's a summer job and it's a great place to be."

Roy Balaconis lives steps away from the Oceanfront with his hand-painted art displayed like a gallery at his garage door.

He said Something in the Water is an opportunity to invite out-of-towners to check out his Virginia Beach art. 

"There's usually a whole bunch of cars right out front and they're from Minnesota, Michigan, all these cold places, and people would pull in and say, 'Can we see the paintings?' I say sure and I'd sell some!" Balaconis exclaimed with his paintbrush between his fingers. 

Some neighbors by the Oceanfront told 13News Now they were concerned about the heavy foot and street traffic. A few people called the event overwhelming. 

However, Balaconis disagrees and welcomes any passerby attending the festival at his garage door.

"When people come in and say there's too many people here, it's taking away from the ambiance," said Balabonis. "I say, it's better ambiance!"

The date for the festival is set for April 28 to 30 and passes went on sale starting with those who live in Virginia Beach on Nov. 5. Martha Davenport said the "Something on the Menu" restaurant week will run from April 23 to the 30. 

You can view the full lineup by clicking here.

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