We’re proud to be home to some of the largest military bases in the country, and we go big to show it. In true American fashion, let’s give a salute to the local men and women of our Armed Forces and the families who support them at this year’s Patriotic Festival (June 1-3). The beachfront bash, an annual three-day weekend celebration of all things red, white and blue, will include military expos and displays as well as a concerts on the beach at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront District.
The Patriotic Festival concert series, presented by Union Bank & Trust, is bringing some of the biggest names in country music to Va Beach. This year, the three-day series features a star-studded lineup including Brett Eldredge (June 1), Brantley Gilbert (June 2) and Cole Swindell (June 3) at the 5th Street concert stage. The gates open at 5PM for the Friday and Saturday shows, which each kick off at 7PM. On Sunday, the gates open at 3PM for a 4PM show. The Military Zone, from 13th-21st Street, will showcase the mission, equipment and personnel of our military through exhibits, demonstrations and displays throughout the weekend as well as provide entertainment from USO troops, military bands and the U.S. Marine Corp Silent Drill Platoon.
While it’s hard to beat jamming out down on the sand with thousands of your closest friends, for one of the best, most relaxing views in the house, book a stay at Beach Quarters Resort Hotel, who’s location on the Boardwalk at 5th Street will give you a perfect perspective of the concerts without having to leave your balcony. Fuel up with lunch before the shows at one of the great restaurants at the Oceanfront. Head over to the nearby Rudee Inlet for some of our favorite local seafood at Big Sam’s Inlet Cafe & Raw Bar, Rockafeller’s, and Rudee’s on the Inlet. Rudee’s is instantly recognizable by their Cabana Bar and outdoor dining, a haven of open-air seating known for the unique gliding tables overlooking the marinas. The Cabana Bar is a full service outdoor bar that serves local brews and signature cocktails around fire-pit tables, meaning on nice nights you may want to get there early because they fill up fast. You can’t miss with the Fresh Catch of the Day served-up Chesapeake Style, topped with jumbo lump crabmeat, Smithfield ham, and Bearnaise Sauce. Believe us, it’s as good as it sounds.
The Oceanfront District has everything you need to take your celebration to the next level, too. Leading up to the shows, kick your days off with a quintessential Virginia Beach cocktail - the Orange Crush. This refreshing mix of freshly-squeezed orange juice, vodka, and orange liqueur, with a splash of lemon-lime soda. This perfect summer drink can be found all over the Oceanfront District, but we like Waterman’s and Chix Seaside Grille because they overlook the 5th Street Stage, so you won’t miss any of the action. After the concert, it has become somewhat of a tradition to keep the good times going at The Shack on 8th, a fully open air bar, with lawn games like corn hole, bocce ball, and giant beer pong, just a few blocks away.
Few things go with country music concerts quite like beer, and luckily a few of our favorite breweries are also conveniently located at the Oceanfront. Back Bay Brewing and Home Republic Brewpub have been staples of the area for years, serving favorites like Home Republic’s refreshing King Neptune Kolsch and Back Bay’s seasonal Blueberry Fig Saison, brewed with fruit grown in the garden of their sister brewery, Farmhouse Brewing. One of our newest breweries, Smartmouth Pilot House, an old post office-turned-brewery, is just a block away from the boardwalk and a great spot to sip some suds before the concert. Try their “Day Off” Shandy - a German-style beer infused with lemonade, a refreshing, crisp drink that’s the perfect fuel for an afternoon spent belting out your favorite songs on the sand. They also regularly bring in food trucks and allow dogs in their outdoor space, which was converted from the post office’s old loading dock, so you may want to come hungry.
Come for the good cause and stay for the good times, as we raise a glass to our troops in true Virginia Beach style. Plan your trip to Virginia Beach for the 2018 Patriotic Festival now!