Newport News Fall Festival offers festive fun

The annual festival turned Newport News Park into a pumpkin-filled paradise

The sweet scent of freshly popped kettle corn drifted through the crisp October air.

The sound of children laughing and running to catch up with their families rang out through the park as the autumn breeze whistled softly through the trees.

Winding paths through the woods led attendees to different vendors and stalls under the shadows of dappled afternoon light shining down from above the treetops.

A giant inflatable pumpkin stood tall and proud in the middle of the walkway, and plastic pumpkin candy buckets hung from the trees surrounding it.

Families and friends gathered around photo booths with signs proclaiming “Happy Fall, Y’all!”

These are just a few of the sights and sounds at the Newport News Fall Festival, held the first weekend of every October in Newport News Park.

Marking its 46th consecutive year, the Fall Festival is always a family favorite and a Hampton Roads staple of the season that offers an aspect for every attendee to enjoy in some capacity. 

This year, it ran during the weekend of Oct. 5-6 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, creating a window for everyone to come and experience the festivities.

The event draws in thousands of attendees from Newport News and beyond every year — families, couples and friend groups alike. The crowd that comes every year is always comprised of all kinds of different age groups. The festival seems to be just as popular with families and their young children as it is with older couples looking for something fun to do on a Saturday afternoon.

The event was split up into several areas sprawling across the 8,065 acres of Newport News Park. This included the Juried Area that showcased craftspeople who were competing to win a best-in-show award and the Country Store, which had artisan jams, breads and other artisanal products available for purchase.

 Different stalls and vendors with multicolored awnings were scattered in other sections of the festival, positioned throughout the clumps of trees and on the edges of the Lee Hall Fishing Area that spans the length of the Park. Vendors sold all kinds of arts and crafts, seasonal and otherwise, such as homemade pottery, hand-stitched quilts and woodworking projects.

Members from the City of Newport News represented the public facilities of the city; for example, the Newport News Public Library system hosted a charity used book sale in which all of the books available were sold for $1 or less, and the booth representing Newport News Parks, Recreation and Tourism gave out Fall Festival t-shirts.

There were countless vendors, representatives, restaurant owners and others selling their wares. 

 Attendees were sure to find something for everyone in their party.

The food court area that was sectioned off in the middle of the festival served classic fair food such as funnel cakes, cotton candy, snow cones, kettle corn and turkey legs. Food trucks from the area and other food vendors were also present and offered cuisine such as local barbecue and pizza. 

The festival featured a stage showcasing lots of different performances and events throughout the weekend, including children’s musical entertainment shows, local bands hailing from Hampton Roads and Red Crooked Sky, a Native American dance group. 

The festival featured different performance groups on each day throughout the weekend. The sounds of the season could be heard all around the festival, no matter where you were in the Park. 

The event featured a lot of fall-themed activities for attendees to enjoy, such as a pumpkin carving station, Lady Mirra the fortune teller and a Halloween-themed face painting station that children and adults alike enjoyed.

The Newport News Fall Festival remained an integral part of experiencing autumn in Hampton Roads for another year, and it’ll be sure to do so for years to come.

~Anna Dorl, Lifestyle Editor~

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