For over 65 years, Norfolk, Virginia has organized a salute to NATO’s role in maintaining peace and stability in the world – Norfolk NATO Festival. Norfolk is NATO’s home in North America, and the Norfolk NATO Festival is the only festival in the world which honors the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and its 29 member nations. Norfolk NATO Festival returns April 26 and 28, continuing a tradition of cultural exchange and enriching the lives of community members of all ages.
All events are free and open to the public as each of the 29 NATO Member Nations and NATO Representatives interact and engage with visitors giving insights about that nation’s culture – no passport required!
“The NATO family and I welcome all members of the community to experience the celebration of the longstanding relationship between NATO and the City of Norfolk,” said Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, French Air Force General Denis Mercier. “We feel at home here and enjoy sharing our mission, as well as the culture and heritage of the 29 NATO Member Nations.”
- NATO Flag Raising Ceremony, Thursday April 26, 2018 · Scope Plaza, Norfolk, VA · 5:00 – 6:00PM
Enjoy a cultural sampling of music and a colorful display of NATO Member Nation flags and uniforms in this military presentation representing all 29 NATO Member Nations.
65th Annual Parade of Nations, Saturday, April 28, 2018 · Downtown Norfolk · 10:00 – 11:30 AM
The only parade in the United States to honor our international allies of NATO, Saturday’s thrills begin with one of the most unique parades in the U.S. You’ll see over a hundred parade units — nearly 1,000 people — on colorful floats representing the 29 member NATO nations plus U.S and international military bands, high school bands from across the U.S., and more!
NATO Fest’s International Village, Saturday, April 28, 2018 · Town Point Park, Norfolk, VA · 11:30AM to 3:00PM
Experience the sights, sounds, and tastes of the 29 NATO nations! The village features something for the whole family – performances, international art, cuisine, souvenirs, and craft beers. Park opens immediately following the Parade.
The Norfolk NATO Festival was founded in 1953, just one year after the establishment of NATO’s Allied Command Atlantic in Norfolk, Virginia. In that year, the citizens of Norfolk organized a salute to these Allied forces in order to create new friendships, provide a basis for cultural exchange, pursue new lines of trade between Norfolk and the world, and to recognize NATO’s role in maintaining peace and stability in the world. Allie Command Atlantic was decommissioned in 2003. This year marks the 15th anniversary of Allied Command Atlantic’s successor, Allied Command Transformation.
The Norfolk NATO Festival enriches the lives of local citizens through NATO focused programs. The Norfolk NATO Festival facilitates educational opportunities for students throughout Hampton Roads which center on NATO and its 29 Member Nations. Education programs are available throughout the year for elementary, middle and high schools students throughout the region. The hallmark education program is the Model NATO Challenge.
Since 1997, the Virginia Arts Festival has transformed the cultural scene in southeastern Virginia, presenting great performers from around the world to local audiences and making this historic, recreation-rich region a cultural destination for visitors from across the United States and around the world. The Festival has presented numerous U.S. and regional premieres, and regularly commissions new works of music, dance, and theater from some of today’s most influential composers, choreographers, and playwrights. The Festival’s arts education programs reach tens of thousands of area schoolchildren each year through student matinees, in-school performances, artists’ residencies, master classes and demonstrations.