The weather isn’t all that’s heating up in Yorktown…warmer temperatures mean the return of free outdoor concerts at the waterfront, an award-winning Saturday farmers market, a spectacular town-wide July Fourth celebration, schooner sails on the York River, and several new programs and exhibits at area museums and art galleries. There’s fun for the whole family, and it’s happening all season long!
The music scene really ramps up in the summer. Enjoy York County’s free outdoor concert series, Sounds of Summer, which runs through August 29 this year (excluding July 4) —making it the longest season to date. Each Thursday features a different local band on the Riverwalk Landing Performance Stage. Concerts are 7 to 9:30 p.m. and this year’s lineup is one of the most exciting yet—showcasing some of the best bands in Hampton Roads playing beach favorites, Motown, Disco, Funk, R&B, Pop and more. Carrot Tree Kitchens will have gourmet hot dogs, pulled pork BBQ, snacks, their signature desserts, and drinks for sale.
The Celebrate Yorktown Committee Summer Concert Series takes place behind Grace Church beginning Sunday, June 30, with a performance by the York River Concert Band. The free shows are sponsored by the Celebrate Yorktown Committee, York County Arts Commission, the Williamsburg Area Arts Commission, and Grace Episcopal Church.
On the second Wednesday of every month, enjoy Folk Jams inside the Watermen’s Museum’s Carriage House. Visiting amateurs and professional musicians pass traditional and modern songs around a circle in a way to bring the community together. Participants are asked to bring a small side dish to share with the group. All ages are welcome with music going from 5:30 to 9 p.m.
The Fifes and Drums of York Town will perform in various locations including the Victory Monument, Yorktown Battlefield, and at special events along the Yorktown Waterfront. Patrons at Water Street Grille and Yorktown Pub can also enjoy live music with their dinner on select Friday and Saturday nights.
Yorktown Market Days, the weekly farmers market at the waterfront, occurs every Saturday through October 26 (excluding October 5) from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., featuring seasonal produce; locally sourced meat and seafood; homemade breads, potato chips, and pickles; soaps, candles, and all-natural products; gourmet dog treats; food trucks, food vendors, and chef demonstrations; live music; and the work of several local artists.
The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown’s special exhibition “Forgotten Soldier” opens June 29 and explores how African-American veterans worked to secure recognition of their roles in the war and how some became leaders of the black community in the newly independent United States of America. Through interactive experiences, artifact displays and compelling art displays (including new contemporary work by nationally acclaimed artist Titus Kaphar), visitors will follow forgotten stories of soldiers who enlisted in the American cause for a free and independent nation or took up arms for British forces in hopes of obtaining their own freedom. This special exhibition runs through March 22, 2020 and is held in conjunction with the 2019 Commemoration, American Evolution, marking the 400th anniversary of the first recorded Africans in Virginia in 1619. Museum admission is free to all York County, James City County, and Williamsburg residents with proof of residency.
The Schooner Alliance, Yorktown’s home-ported tall ship, offers daily history sightseeing and evening romantic sunset sails. During the popular Pirate Adventure Cruises, kids set the sails, steer the schooner, and learn to tie knots. For those who would like to explore the York River at their own pace, paddleboard and kayak rentals are available at Patriot Tours & Provisions. Visitors can also book guided one-hour and two-hour Segway tours. Both have routes along the beautiful Riverwalk and the longer, Historical Tour also takes riders up to the bluffs overlooking the York River and historic Main Street.
Yorktown Ghost Walks take place Friday and Saturday evenings, after sunset with select weekly tours through November. In an area rich in conflict, there are whisperings of haunted buildings and lingering spirits, and those who are fascinated with the paranormal will enjoy these guided tours of Historic Yorktown’s streets.
The Gallery at York Hall will feature a special Pine Needle Basket Exhibit in June and July, and a Photography Exhibit in August. The Gallery is located in York Hall, 301 Main Street. Hours of operation are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. A portion of the proceeds from all purchases supports performing and visual arts in Historic Yorktown.
On the Hill Gallery invites York County children ages 6 to 12 to engage the senses through art, play, movement, and food during “What’s Happening Now? Mindfulness for Kids.” Each two-hour class takes place Sunday afternoons from 1 to 3 p.m. and is led by Melissa McGill—a yoga, meditation, and preschool teacher as well as Laura Stephens, a mindfulness teacher for A Mindful Mess, LLC. Please call the Gallery at (757) 369-1108 to register. The cost is $25 per class.
Yorktown’s Independence Day celebration starts with the Yorktown Independence Day 8K run & 5k Walk at 8 a.m., followed by a patriotic parade along Water and Main Streets at 9 a.m. Evening activities include a bell-ringing ceremony at 7 p.m., Super Jazz Band Concert featuring Conni Ironmonger at 8 p.m., and an amazing fireworks display over the York River at 9:15 p.m. Detailed holiday press releases will be issued prior to the event.
This is just a small sampling of some of the events taking place in Yorktown this summer! For a complete list, be sure to check the online calendar at www.visityorktown.org. There you will find more information about the above-mentioned events, including ticket prices and contact information. You can also access the 2019 Concerts, Festival, and Events brochure under “Travel Tools.”
Free parking is available at the Riverwalk Landing parking terrace, York Hall, York County Courts & Office Complex, and other designated public parking lots. The free Yorktown Trolley is available from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. with several convenient stops throughout town. You can also dock your boats at Riverwalk Landing Piers. After tying up, it is just a short walk to attractions, restaurants, shops, museums, and special events.
Additional Event Info:
· York County Tourism Development: (757) 890-3500
· Facebook, Instagram, & Twitter: Visit Yorktown
· #visityorktown and #york757