From hot air balloons to local art, these are the best leisure festivals in Northern Virginia
From days dedicated to furry friends and cosplay at its finest to flying high among the clouds, there’s a festival for just about everything here at NoVA.
August 20, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
If a day full of kites, shopping at local artisan stalls, and tasting great food sounds like a good time, try the Leesburg Craft and Kite Festival. This family event has over 60 vendors, music from an international DJ and a special area for children. 60 Ida Lee Dr. NW, Leesburg
August 20 to 21, 6 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Gates open at 6am and this festival provides the perfect opportunity to see the breathtaking views of the NoVA region from the air. Keep in mind: the earlier you arrive, the better. The lines grow as the day progresses. 5114 Ritchie Road, Bealeton
August 27, 10:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
With special guests John “Dak” Morton (who played Boba Fett in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back) and Carey Jones (who played Krrsantan in Boba Fett’s Book), it’s an event Star Wars fans won’t want to miss. There’s no better time to channel your inner superhero than at this event with dozens of vendors and exhibitors in Artist Alley and a cosplay contest. Dulles Expo Center, 4320 Chantilly Shopping Ctr., Chantilly
Sept. 24, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
They say a dog is a man’s (or woman’s) best friend and this special festival was created to celebrate that special bond. With a fitness challenge, fundraising opportunities to support canine champions and local vendors, it’s bound to be a great time for you and your pooch. Mention if you’re bringing a dog when you register so you don’t miss out on your free DogFest bandana. Reston Town Center
September 24 to 25, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The charming riverside town of Occoquan knows how to draw the crowds. Save the date and plan to stroll through the historic district while you shop at local vendors, try delicious street food, and listen to live music. And don’t forget to visit the beer garden. Occoquan Historic District
Oct. 1, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Need an artistic solution? Look no further. Artists here sell drawings and paintings, photographs, ceramics, handmade candles and mixed media. And the fun doesn’t stop there. Food vendors, retailers, music and even a virtual pie auction will also be part of the festivities. Mount Vernon Avenue, Alexandria
McLean Central Park is transformed into a cluster of mini-galleries showcasing works by artists from across the mid-Atlantic region for this event, complete with contemporary art, food vendors, live music and a art walk for children. 1234 Ingleside Ave, McLean
October 12 to 15
After two virtual years, this bibliophile paradise will be back in person this fall. Book readings, exhibitions, debates and performances will take place over four days. And there will always be digital opportunities. Past headliners have included Stephen King, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Neil Gaiman and Delia Owens. 4400 University Drive, Fairfax
This three-day festival showcases the work of nearly 200 jurors, with a variety of food, music and handmade art vendors in mediums such as clothing/textiles, paintings/prints and pieces of leather, wood and glass. Dulles Expo Center, 4320 Chantilly Shopping Ctr., Chantilly
More than 750 riders from the mid-Atlantic and beyond arrive for this cycling weekend. If you’re a beginner, don’t worry; many stops are included in the program. See some of the most scenic parts of the NoVA countryside and savor a delicious Saturday lunch and Sunday brunch. From Staunton
This two-day event brings home improvement and craft vendors together in one place. Discover sellers of flooring, green energy, real estate, new home builders, and more. 2371 Carl D. Silver Pkwy, Fredericksburg
Oct. 29, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Glassware, woven and knitted pieces, carpentry, handmade soaps and mixed media art will be available for purchase at the sixth annual craft fair, held in conjunction with the Fall Festival of church. Pastries and lunch will be available. 11508 N. Shore Drive, Reston
This story originally appeared in our August issue. For more stories like this, subscribe to our monthly magazine.