Richmond to host 2026 national speech and debate tournament
June 2026 event expected to bring 10,000 visitors to region
The Richmond region will host a June 2026 national speech and debate tournament that’s expected to bring 10,000 students and visitors to the region.
The National Speech & Debate Association, Richmond Region Tourism and the nonprofit Richmond Forum made the announcement Monday.
“I know this will be one of the best tournaments, and I look forward to working with the Richmond Forum, Henrico County Public Schools, Chesterfield County Public Schools and the City of Richmond,” said J. Scott Wunn, executive director and national tournament director of the National Speech & Debate Association.
The event, scheduled for June 14-19, 2026, will include 7,000 competitors and will take place in 750 spaces across six schools in the region.
Aligning with the United States’ 250th birthday, the tournament will have a U.S. Semiquincentennial theme.
“There’s no debating that landing this tournament is a major accomplishment for the Richmond region,” Richmond Region Tourism President and CEO Jack Berry said in a statement. “It will attract thousands of visitors at a time when we will be showcasing the richness of our history and diversity of our culture, and we look forward to welcoming competitors from all across the country.”
The National Speech & Debate Association provides competitive speech and debate activities, training and scholarship opportunities to more than 140,000 middle and high school students and coaches annually.