• Press Release

Norfolk NATO Festival Announces 2021 Details and Theme: Stronger Together

A Celebration of our 30 International Allies right here in our own backyard.



Words and Image courtesy of Norfolk NATO Festival/ Virginia Arts Festival.


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 that honors the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and its 30 member nations. Norfolk NATO Festival returns on June 5, continuing a tradition of cultural exchange and enriching the lives of community members of all ages.

All events are free advanced registration as each of the 30 NATO member nations and NATO Representatives interact and engage with visitors giving insights about that nation’s culture – no passport required! Each year, the Norfolk NATO Festival partners with the Virginia International Tattoo to provide colorful international performance groups.

NATO Nations Albania • Belgium • Bulgaria Canada • Croatia • Czech Republic Denmark • Estonia • France Germany • Greece • Hungary Iceland • Italy • Latvia • Lithuania Luxembourg • Montenegro • The Netherlands North Macedonia • Norway • Poland • Portugal Romania • Slovakia • Slovenia • Spain Turkey • United Kingdom • United States


“On behalf of all NATO member nations and partners, I am grateful to the entire Norfolk and the Hampton Roads community for the continuous support offered to the Alliance over the past year,” said Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, Gen. André Lanata. “As we all learned, we as an Alliance, and as a local community, are all stronger together. NATO has fully embraced the commitment to work together through hardships brought on by the global pandemic, while also maintaining a lead role in international stability and security. Here in Norfolk, we know the Alliance is only as strong as our commitment to each other. I am so happy we are able to conduct the Norfolk NATO Festival this year showcasing our 30 member nations and celebrating our families and community. I look forward to celebrating with everyone!”

Norfolk NATO Flag Raising Ceremony Saturday, June 5 · Scope Plaza, Norfolk, VA · 10:00 – 11:00 AM Enjoy a cultural sampling of music and a colorful display of NATO Member Nation flags and uniforms in this military presentation representing all 30 NATO Member Nations. Advanced free online registration at www.vafest.org Norfolk NATO Festival’s International Village with Parade Float Display Saturday, June 5 · Scope Plaza, Norfolk, VA · 10:00AM – 3:30PM Experience the sights, sounds, and tastes of the 30 NATO Member Nations! Enjoy viewing the colorful exhibition of the parade floats and photo destination spots representing each NATO Member Nation as you walk through the village featuring something for the whole family: performances, international art, cuisine, and craft beers. Advanced free online registration at www.vafest.org. About Norfolk NATO Festival 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. Allied Command Atlantic was decommissioned in 2003. This year marks the 18th 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 30 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.


About the Virginia Arts Festival 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, masterclasses and demonstrations.


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