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Visiting Norfolk for the Virginia International Tattoo

The Virginia Arts Festival was established in 1997 as an initiative to spread awareness of the thriving community of creators that reside in the Hampton Roads region. This exciting event consists of musical, dance and theater performances in communities all throughout the area, and visitors can use their Virginia rental cars to get to the venues located in Williamsburg, Hampton, Virginia Beach and Hampton, among other cities. But the main feature of the festival is the Virginia International Tattoo, which takes place right in the heart of the delightful city of Norfolk.

About the Virginia International Tattoo

As the highlight event of the Virginia Arts Festival, the tattoo attracts tens of thousands of people to this quaint city. It's an intriguing spectacle that features military drumming, music, a light show and choreographed dancing in a display of patriotism meant to honor the soldiers who fought in the Vietnam War as well as their proud families. More than 800 performers come together for the demonstration, most of whom are drummers and pipers from the American corps, though choir members and drill teams also take part. The tattoo has been running since the inception of the arts festival, and the beloved event has been officially deemed a part of the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration.

Virginia International Tattoo Hullabaloo

The Virginia International Tattoo is made up of plenty more than a military performance. Two hours before the tattoo kicks off, residents and visitors gather at Scope Plaza for some afternoon festivities. Visitors can drive their Norfolk rental cars along Brambleton Avenue to reach this community hot spot to join in on the family-friendly fun of the Virginia International Tattoo Hullabaloo, which is free to the public. Step out and troll the grounds to find yourself surrounded by an excited crowd dancing to live music and other on-stage performances, while local chefs, wine producers and brewers offer locally made delights in the plethora of vendor booths lining the square. There's even an expansive beer garden where adults can get away from the youngsters for some more mature fun, and there's a piping competition for those who are musically inclined (the audience gets to select the winner).

The Hullabaloo also features a variety of exhibition that you can peruse while waiting for the tattoo to start. Stop by the Mobile Museum for a look at the timeline and personal experiences of the Vietnam War, and take a moment to commemorate the fallen heroes of the conflict at The Wall That Heals, a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial that spans 250 feet. Another highlight is the collection of historic helicopters put on display by the North Carolina Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association. Proceeds from the pre-tattoo festivities go toward the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund. While you're in town, be sure to use your Virginia International Tattoo to explore other aspects of Norfolk's wartime history between festival activities by checking out sites such as the MacArthur Memorial, Nauticus and Naval Station Norfolk.

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