Patriotic spectacle in Norfolk, Virginia

A grand European tradition transplanted to Norfolk becomes a celebration of international music and dance to honor military families.
Todd Owyoung
insight guides

Called “tattoos,” they were originally performances of military music and massed bands. Long considered one of the world’s great tattoos, the Virginia International Tattoo (April 23 to 26) is the largest in the U.S. It expands the premise to include civilian as well as military performers from around the world.


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This year’s theme is “A Grateful Nation Thanks and Honors All Military Families.” Given its roots in military tradition, many US allies are participating, including Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Finland, Denmark, Korea, France, and NATO members. Over 800 performers will showcase their cultures and traditions. You’ll see Highland and Korean dancers, bagpipers, drill teams, gymnasts, and choirs.


There are shows nightly April 23 to 25 and a matinee on April 26. Ticket, lodging and other information can be found at


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