I had put off the idea of schlepping my family to the ViVa! Vienna! festivities for fear of an overcrowded, underwhelming, humid Memorial Day weekend. Was I ever wrong! ViVa! Vienna! is the perfect reason for a holiday staycation. While it was crowded on the Sunday morning we went and parking was a bear, the event was a great way of bringing the community of Vienna together. We are not from Vienna, but learned a little history, met some local businesses, and got some freebies.
What to Expect
The festival features 24 rides with the majority geared to young children ranging in height from 32″ to 42”. There is the classic carousel and ferris wheel. My daughter’s favorites included the Jungle Crawl – a tiered level obstacle course and the Dragon Wagon roller coaster. The train and Willie the Whale are perfect rides for the youngest visitors.
Thrill seekers will enjoy the Cliff Hanger, Funnel Force and Expo Wheel. Adults were allowed on most of the rides, but due to weight and height restrictions, some are only for the kids. Most of the children’s rides are 3 tickets each. Other rides ranged from 3-5 tickets. One ticket is $1. A sheet of 24 tickets is $20, and a sheet of 48 tickets is $40.
A wristband that covers all rides is $35 and is valid for one person for one day. We purchased sheet of 24 tickets for one child and she got on all but one ride so the value was there. The downside is in purchasing the tickets. The ticket booth had a huge line, but a little tent off to the side was selling tickets (not wristbands) which allowed us to avoid the line. Unfortunately, there were lines at almost every ride.
Since this is only a weekend event, it made it difficult to know where the line began and ended. Another setback was that some rides used the same gate for the entrance and exit. Just be patient, remember that there are crowds causing people to unintentionally push you. This is important to note if you have strollers entering the main attractions.
The typical carnival food of hot dogs, burgers, Italian sausage, popcorn, funnel cakes, cotton candy, and shaved ice can be found here. Throughout the grounds you will find local pizza parlors, barbecue, ice cream, slushies, and Robek’s smoothies.
There are also plenty of calmer, less crowded options at ViVa! Vienna! for families. While we didn’t bring lawn chairs and blankets, beach balls were bouncing on the grass in front of the Main Stage. From a high school jazz band to rock music, there is plenty of room to boogie on down! We loved the comedy and music of Dave Brewer & The Pre-K Kings.
The group of fathers donned with paper crowns played adult music set to kid friendly beats. Nearby on the Children’s Stage there were performances by various magicians, a clown, and Enshin Karate Vienna.
We got a lesson in history when visiting the Vienna Library and even boarded a caboose. Perhaps our favorite historic spot was the Freeman House. Downstairs is the general store filled with original items including a milkshake maker used at county fairs. Grab a cold drink from the vintage Coca Cola cooler and pick up some penny candy. The store has a wonderful selection of children’s items ranging from books and trains to tinker toys. Upstairs is a small, but informative exhibit about the train station.
Want to learn more about Language Stars or The School of Rock? Thinking of a birthday party at Pump It Up of Manassas or at Shadow Land? You can find all this out and more at here. Along the festival route are nearly 250 vendor booths representing small businesses, churches, schools, local government, charities, and more. Some of our favorite booths were girls hair accessories from Creative Side Bows, a face painting and glitter tattoo booth, and sampling preserves from Empress Farm. We took advantage of all the freebies including a toothbrush/floss, water bottle, sunglasses, and a hackeysack.
Good to Know
- The early bird catches the worm. We arrived one hour after the festival opened and it was jammed with people. This is important considering you have tired, hungry kids who want to hit every amusement ride. Having said that, pack water, snacks, sunscreen, and a hat.
- Check the website for parking information and find the areas that have a free shuttle connection. Avoid the hassle and take metro to the Vienna/GMU station where the shuttle departs every 20 minutes.
- Port a potties are located behind the rides. However, near the main stage in a small white building, is a single handicap bathroom with changing table. There are also bathrooms (sans changing area) in Freeman House.
- While the ticket booth for rides accepts major credit cards, some vendors and food booth do not so bring cash. There is an ATM in front of the Freeman House on Church Street.
ViVa! Vienna! is an annual Memorial Day weekend event held on the last Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 10pm and Monday from 10am to 6pm. The event is sponsored by The Rotary Club of Vienna who also host the festival as fundraising opportunity. Admission is free and fun is guaranteed!