Skip to the content

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 California Pizza Kitchen. 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.

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.

Drill Teams
We’ve got 2 drill teams this year! The U.S. Army Drill Team will knock your socks off with their intense drill routine. Soldiers are selected for this elite unit after six months of rigorous and competitive drill practice and as members of the team, they practice constantly.
Romania’s 30th Guard Drill Team will be in the Tattoo for the first time. Their performance is completely different from any of the U.S. Military drill teams – they drill to a drum cadence!
They were recently feature on Romanian Television as a finalist on “Romania’s got Talent”

Marines with Instruments and Rifles
During the Military Obstacle Race you will see USMC Fleet Antiterrorism Security Teams (FAST) running the race while carrying six-pound M4A1 rifles. These are an elite security force on standby to respond to threats to Naval, Marine Corps or other U.S. government interests. You’ll see and hear the USMC Band, Quantico Marines playing exciting music. Though these Marines are playing instruments, every marine is a rifleman and the Marines from this band were deployed to conduct combat operations support in Iraq.

Courage & Commitment: A Salute to Women in the Military
The 2019 Virginia International Tattoo will celebrate Women in the Military. Just one hundred years ago, women were allowed to serve in uniform for the first time. More than 30,000 volunteered during the First World War. Today, one sixth of all Active-Duty service members are women and these 230,000+ women serve in every branch in virtually every capacity. In signature Tattoo style, we will tell their stories. We will have some of these groundbreaking women in Scope Arena with us.

The Theme Dream Team
Extraordinary women who as Honorary Chairs of the theme are helping the Virginia International Tattoo honor the remarkable service of women in the military.
Unless otherwise noted, all of them will be joining us in person: Major General Donna Barbisch, Dr. Margarethe Cammermeyer, Captain Diane Carlson Evans, Colonel Jane Carson, Captain Lauran Glover, Captain Dawn Halfaker (video only), Lieutenant General Michelle Johnson, Congresswoman Elaine Luria, Major General Dee Ann McWilliams, Rear Admiral Ann Phillips, Dr. Condoleezza Rice (video only), General Lori Robinson & Lieutenant General Frances Wilson

LT Elizabeth Elliott, Executive Officer of the U.S.A TRADOC Band is one of only 5 female band officers in the U.S. Army and she will conduct the downbeat of the Tattoo.

Superstar singers from the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force and U.S. Marine Corps will join forces for a spectacular rendition of the “Star-Spangled Banner” and also a unique arrangement of “Fight Song” in the Tattoo Finale.

The Tattoo Virtual Choir is a first ever at the Tattoo, and will include U.S. Service women via video from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps deployed around the world, including one Marine singing from Mount Suribachi on the island of Iwo Jima.

Dazzling Drumming by female drummers from the Army, Navy and Marine Corps who will battle in a special arrangement of Louis Prima’s “Sing, Sing, Sing” for the unofficial crown of world’s greatest female military drummer.

The Jordanian Armed Forces Women’s Pipe Band, the only band of its kind in the Middle East, will participate in the Tattoo’s massed Pipes and Drums and also perform a mesmerizing suite of traditional Jordanian Folk music.

Captain Sandra Ansanay-Alex, the first and only woman to ever lead a French Military Band, will conduct the French Army Signals Band in their first ever appearance at the Tattoo. She may look familiar because she was here in 2013 as the Executive Officer of the French Army Paratroopers Band.

The Pipers Lament and Taps will be performed by women of the Canadian 8 Wing Pipes and Drums and the USMC Band Quantico respectively. The piper is the first women to ever be named a Pipe Major of a Canadian Military Band.

The Honorary Salute at each performance will be received by at least one woman of Flag Rank. One such dignitary will be General Lori Robinson, an honorary chair of the Tattoo theme and a retired four-star General. As the lone women to ever lead a combatant command, she is technically the highest ranking woman in the history of the U.S. Military.


Thursday-Saturday 4:30 – 7:30 PM
Sunday 11:30 AM- 2:30 PM
Lots of great activities 3 hours prior to Tattoo, Scope Plaza, Free

Performances - Daily
Many of the performers who are in the Tattoo also perform at the Hullabaloo. It’s a bonus opportunity to see them provide a less formal performance. Expect lots of music, dance and drill!

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.

Profiles of Honor Traveling Museum - Daily
The Virginia World War I and World War II Profiles of Honor Mobile Tour brings to life Virginia’s integral role in both wars, highlighting stories of Virginians who served in both conflicts. As part of the tour, visitors are invited to bring their own WWI and WWII-related photographs to be scanned for inclusion in the Virginia Profiles of Honor project.

Thursday 5:00 PM Scope Plaza, Free
Enjoy a cultural sampling of music and a colorful display of NATO Member Nation flags, uniforms and anthems in this military presentation representing all 29 NATO Member Nations.

Saturday 10:30 AM Downtown Norfolk, Free
The oldest continuously-held parade in the region and the only one in the United States honoring NATO features floats representing each of the 29 NATO Nations in addition to U.S. and International Military and high school bands.

Saturday 11:30 AM – 3:30 PM Town Point Park, Downtown Norfolk, Free
Immediately following the Parade of Nations, join in a celebration and appreciation of our local NATO Headquarters. Interact with NATO Representatives and visit their 29 Member Nation tents in the NATO Village. Explore international heritage with cultural performances, international art, cuisine and craft beers. Come celebrate with the whole family in a European Street fair atmosphere in Downtown Norfolk. Kids can get stamps in their NATO Explorer Passport.

Saturday 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM Competition; 6:00 PM Massed Bands & Awards
Scope Plaza, Norfolk, Free
The 3rd Annual Virginia International Tattoo American Pipe Band Championship will feature Grade 2 and Grade 3 pipe bands from around the world.

Sunday 11:30 AM – 2:00 PM Green Space across from Scope Plaza, Norfolk, Free
Yep, they will be flipping logs! The Virginia International Tattoo is partnering with Brute Strength Gym for a Heavy Athletic Championship, Highland-style, with a caber toss, keg toss and more.

XV du Pacifique French Army Rugby Team vs. Norfolk Blues
Sunday, April 28, 2019, 6:00 PM Powhatan Field, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Free
In the NATO spirit of international friendship, join friends and family at a thrilling rugby match between the French Army Rugby Team and our hometown team, the Norfolk Blues! The French Army’s XV du Pacifique team includes a proud cohort of Pacific Islanders and as part of the event, they will perform the haka, a ceremonial dance in Maori culture. A fascinating day of rough and tumble fun!

For more things to do during the Tattoo weekend visit here!

For more information on regional Attractions visit here!

Get Social with us!