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Culture, Creativity, & Community: The 8th Annual NEON Fest Brings Big Energy

Just across Brambleton from the core Downtown area, the NEON District is the official arts district of the City of Norfolk. The NEON (New Energy of Norfolk), is swimming in colorful murals, sculptures, small businesses and arts organizations.

The NEON District got its start around 2013 and has brought hundreds of works of art, dozens of small businesses, and a litany of events to the neighborhood. The headline event of the year is the annual NEON Festival, a two-day smorgasbord of culture.

Unlike most multi-day festivals, the NEON Fest centers each day in different locations in the district. Day one is anchored by the Chrysler Museum, while day two is centered around the historic Granby Street corridor. 

Some of Norfolk’s brightest musicians, comedians and performance artists will converge on the NEON to energize streets and stages throughout the district. The full lineup includes performances, pop-ups, live art, music, workshops, tours and a whole lot more. 

There’s over 100 individual performances, tours, galleries, and activities to participate in, with programming tucked into every corner store and alley way. The streets will be overflowing with artists, creators, patrons, and attendees. 

On Thursday, notable events include dance performances in Huber Court, three live music acts at Mary’s Garden, a Human Library in the Memorial Garden, and Glass After Dark which includes live glass blowing accompanied by the music of Andre Love. 

On Friday, the Main Stage will host a lineup of DJs, jazz, live bands, and even a little opera. Nearby, Push Comedy will have free improv shows running all night, the Night Shift Collective is taking over Commune, and Zeke’s hosts a juried poster competition. 

Magazine lane, running behind Granby Street will feature live graffiti painting and DJs from NEON Walls, while the nearby Cofer Lot will be taken over by 757 Makerspace’s Diner en Couleur and more live music. 

That’s just the beginning, there are dozens of more activations and experiences to participate in throughout the festival. 

The festival runs from 5pm to 10 pm on October 19th and 20th. If you’re driving to the event, the best place to park is at Harrison Opera House and Chrysler Museum of Art. 

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