Action sports festival coming to Va. Beach
Mayor announced festival at State of the City address
One of Canada’s largest action sporting events, the Jackalope Festival, will make its U.S. debut in Virginia Beach in June 2023, Mayor Bobby Dyer announced Wednesday at the annual State of the City address.
“Get ready for Jackalope!” Dyer shouted enthusiastically before a crowd of about 1,000 people gathered at the Virginia Beach Convention Center.
The three-day event next June will include skateboarding, BMX, base jumping, bouldering and other action sports competitions. The announcement comes on the heels of other high-profile events — Something in the Water, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon and the Patriotic Festival — ending or leaving the city.
Dyer and City Manager Patrick Duhaney shared the stage Wednesday, sharing the city’s accomplishments over the past year, including a $567 million bond referendum approved by voters in November 2021 that would cover the cost of flood protection programs dealing with stormwater and sea level rise issues, a new local election system, construction of a new city hall and vaccinating hundreds of thousands of city residents against COVID-19.
Wednesday’s event attracted two former governors, Attorney General Jason Miyares, mayors of several other Hampton Roads cities and other local elected officials, as well as state representatives. It’s the first of a series of five state of the city addresses sponsored by the Hampton Roads Chamber. Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk and Chesapeake mayors will each hold their addresses over the next few months in their respective cities.
During their joint speech, Dyer and Duhaney spotlighted DroneUp LLC, a Virginia Beach-based company that inked a deal with Walmart Inc. in December 2021 to begin offering drone delivery to customers around the country. A drone flew across the ballroom and delivered a package to Dyer.
Dyer recognized and thanked Howard P. Kern, the retiring president and CEO of Sentara Healthcare, for all he did for the city during the pandemic.
The pair highlighted other business expansions in the city, noting more than 50 grand openings in 2021, Virginia Beach-based nonprofit Operation Smile opening an interactive learning center and an economic development deal between the city and Naval Air Station Oceana, would lease land to private businesses on the base.
They also spoke about a new small business capital access program granting $400,000 in loans to city businesses and opening three facilities to support business: The Hive, a small business resource center in Town Center; the Virginia Beach BIO accelerator; and an incubator supporting the development of international businesses looking to come to Virginia Beach.
Dyer said he was looking forward to many of Virginia Beach’s signature events, such as the Shamrock Marathon this weekend, concerts, the Naval Air Station Oceana Air Show and the East Coast Surfing Championship, some of which are returning this year after being canceled during the height of the pandemic.