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Parade of Sail, fireworks, live music | What to know about Harborfest 2023 in Norfolk

For its 47th year, the festival will have a lot to offer, from the Parade of Sail to displays of drones and fireworks on the Elizabeth River.

NORFOLK, Va. — Thousands of people will head to Norfolk's Town Point Park this weekend for Harborfest 2023, the city's annual celebration of the maritime and Naval community that makes Hampton Roads so special.

This year's event will be the 47th Harborfest festival in Hampton Roads. The celebration made an in-person comeback in 2022 after two years of being virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The free festival will have a lot to offer, from the Parade of Sail to drone and fireworks above the Elizabeth River. And there will be lots of live music and food options, too!

If you're planning to venture out this weekend, here's a look at some things to know about Harborfest 2023.

When is Harborfest 2023? 

Harborfest kicks off Friday, June 9 and will last through Sunday evening. The schedule of events runs noon to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

Harborfest Parade of Sail to showcase impressive fleet of ships

A fleet of tall ships, character vessels, sleek power cruisers, sailing craft, antique and classic wooden boats, military vessels, tugs, and more will make its way down the Elizabeth River toward Town Point Park.

This event will take place Friday starting at 12 p.m. to kick off Harborfest:

Or you can watch a sped-up time-lapse of it:

Harborfest 2023 will have drone show, fireworks display

Image Engineering from Baltimore, Maryland was set to fill the sky over the Elizabeth River with synchronized drones. However, the show got canceled late Friday night. Organizers said the postponement was due to technical difficulties related to GPS Positioning. Event organizers said they are working to bring the show back sometime Saturday. 

On Saturday night, starting at 9:30 p.m., the Tennessee-based Pyro Shows will put on what organizers say is "one of the largest waterfront pyrotechnics shows on the East Coast." The fireworks will be fired from a floating platform on the Elizabeth River. 

Allman Betts Band, Morris Day & The Time, Parmalee to perform at Norfolk's Harborfest

To add to the fun, Harborfest will have a slate of live musical acts performing on the main stage and boathouse stage.

Friday will see The Allman Betts Band, Kendall Street Company, Erin & The Wildfire, Littkeys, The Gold Sauce, Nate Sacks & The Lifehacks and Ju Ju Drum performing.

RELATED: Harborfest 2023 live music lineup announced

On Saturday, Morris Day & The Time, Cracker, DJ Canrock, The Chong Band, Big Al Staggs & The Jajas, Allen Hudson & The Halfmoons and Dustin Furlow will take the stage.

The festival will also hold a tribute set for the former Boathouse music venue, which would have turned 40 this year if it withstood Hurricane Isabel in 2003.

Sunday's performers are Parmalee, Cody Christian Band, BJ Griffin Band and Bobby Blackhat Walters.

The lineup and a full list of set times can be found on the festival's website.

What else is on the Harborfest schedule?

A lot, anything from a silent disco to food vendors to a wine/spirits/craft beer garden.

Some of Harborfest's other events include body marbling, the Mighty Mike Show, the Back Bay Mermaid and more. A full list of land events can be found on the festival's website.

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