Travel Channel: This festival at the Oceanfront is one of the nation’s best

From the 2017 Virginia Beach Neptune Festival (Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of the Neptune Festival)

VIRGINIA BEACH — What do Coachella, Burning Man, Kentucky Derby, Mardi Gras and this city’s own Neptune Festival have in common?

All were recently named by the Travel Channel as the best festivals in their state.

The national recognition confirms what locals have known for years — the 46-year-old Neptune Festival is the biggest and best outdoor party in the state, festival officials said.

The Virginia Beach Neptune Festival is a private, nonprofit 501-C3 organization, producing more than 40 events per year, which generate tens of millions of dollars in the local economy and contribute to the charitable, educational, and recreational development of Hampton Roads, festival officials said.

In 2018, the economic impact of its flagship event alone, Neptune Festival Boardwalk Weekend, was $23 million.

The annual weekend event is ranked among the Top 100 Events in North America and within the Top 20 Events in the Southeastern U.S. by recognized tourism industry organizations. Neptune’s International Sandsculpting Championship is renowned as one of the best competitions of its kind in the world — 2019’s Boardwalk Weekend is scheduled for Sept. 27 through 29.

The Travel Channel, owned by Discovery, Inc., features programming related to travel, leisure and more recently, the paranormal. The network reaches over 91 million households in the United States.

For other top festival selections by State, see Travel Channel’s complete list.

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John Mangalonzo ( is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.