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Tattoo Tips for Veterans and Active Duty Military





Delicious Meals in Walking Distance

There are several restaurants within easy distance to the Scope Arena especially on nearby Granby Street and at MacArthur Center Mall.  Staff favorites include 456Fish and Bite. Click here for a list of Virginia Arts Festival restaurant partners:  http://www.vafest.org/your-visit/restaurants/

Hullabaloo on Scope Plaza

There is something for everyone, from pizza to pretzels, from hotdogs to gyros, from smoothies to craft beer. Average Price:  $8 -15 per person. Enjoy your meal in a festive atmosphere. There are plenty of seats and tables around the plaza. Try Music & Might Red Ale, an O’Connor Brewing Company special brew created for the Tattoo!


VIP All the Way

Scope Arena is BIG, but the best seats are the VIP seats. The price is $55 each but it’s well worth the view, offering  the fewest number of stairs to maneuver. One of the neatest things about these seats is that they are behind the dignitaries that take the Tattoo salute. The view is spectacular!



Protocol vs Showbiz

During the finale a few verses of the service song will be played. Though military tradition calls for the songs to be sung from the youngest (Coast Guard) to oldest (Army) we do the showbiz version for this Navy town of Norfolk. Expect: Army, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Navy.

You’re Part of the Show

Definitely watch for the National Anthem and please stand when your family’s service song is sung. Since you are part of the show, dress the part. Wear a cap, vest or other items that represents your family’s military service.

Lots of World War I-Era Music

Over There, a patriotic song designed to galvanize young men to enlist in the Army, was written by George Cohan when the US entered WWI and began sending troops to Europe. 

Irving Berlin, author of God Bless America and one of the greatest songwriters in U.S. history, felt that Tin Pan Alley should do its duty and support the war with inspirational songs. The Virginia Beach Public Schools Tattoo Chorus will sing a Medley of Berlin’s tunes.

John Philip Sousa wrote Solid Men to the Front, a stirring appeal to enlist was written shortly after the United States declared war on Germany and entered WWI. At the age of 62 and retired from the USMC, he joined the U. S. Naval Reserve as a lieutenant and donated most of his naval salary, except a token $1 per month, to the Sailors' and Marines' Relief Fund


In addition to the traditional bugle call Taps you’ll hear the French version, Aux Morts, which means “to the dead” which uses a bugle and a drum. This call was written following World War I. 

Lone Piper

The lone piper, Andrew Carlisle, will be wearing the Virginia International Tattoo Hixon Tartan. Look closely and you will see his grandfather’s medals from the Battle of Somme pinned to his uniform.



Thurs-Sunday, Scope Plaza, free

Profiles of Honor Display

This Virginia World War I and World War II Profiles of Honor Mobile exhibit will bring to life the state's integral role in both wars, highlighting stories of Virginians who served in both conflicts. Visitors are invited to bring their own World War I- and II-related photographs to be scanned for inclusion in the Virginia Profiles of Honor project.


              NATO Flag Raising - Friday

Enjoy a cultural sampling of music and a colorful display of NATO Member Nation flags, uniforms and anthems in this military presentation representing all 28 NATO Member Nations.


DrumLine Battle - Daily

Drumlines battle in a head-to-head competition to see who will win based on a combination of drumming skills, movement, visuals, stick tricks, stunts and overall showmanship. Expect the unexpected! Hula-hoopers and dancers have participated in the past.