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Norfolk festivals, old and new, have positive outlook for city’s tourism season

The arrival of the Patriotic Festival is estimated to bring in more than $4 million.

NORFOLK, Va. — The stage is set for a return of major events and tourism for the Mermaid City.

According to data from VisitNorfolk, the beginning of 2022 saw the highest demand for hotel stays that Norfolk has seen, even including from before the pandemic. The forecasted occupancy rate for the city’s hotels is over 80 percent for this summer, which is already an increase from a recorded 76 percent in 2021.

This is on top of upward tourism trends already seen as of March, according to Kurt Krause, president & CEO of VisitNorfolk.

“[March] showed an 8 percent increase in occupancy and probably a 6 percent increase in average rate,” Krause said. 

A return of festivals, visitors and business is primed to take place along the Elizabeth River this summer:

  • Spring Town Point Virginia Wine Festival, May 7 & 8 in Town Point Park, Downtown Norfolk
  • Norfolk Harborfest, June 10-12
  • PrideFest (Put on by Hampton Roads Pride), June 25
  • Norfolk Waterfront Jazz Festival happened last year but on a smaller scale, it will be returning this year to its normal state, Aug 26 & 27

For the first time in years, these events are expected to go on without COVID-related adjustments. Another big addition will also be the first year of the Patriotic Festival, a long-time Virginia Beach concert event that will move from the Virginia Beach Oceanfront to Town Point Park and access to Scope Arena. 

“A covered venue… whereas in Virginia Beach they’ve had to cancel in years prior because of inclement weather,” Krause said. 

According to Krause, the Patriotic Festival alone is estimated to bring in $4.1 million from out-of-town guests alone.

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