Ultimate Guide to Smith Mountain Lake Events and Festivals (2024)

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Explore the most popular annual Smith Mountain Lake events and festivals! We’ve curated this handy list so you’ll always be able to find the best things to do at Smith Mountain Lake in 2024.

You may also enjoy: SML Event Guides for every month of the year

Smith Mountain Lake Calendar of Events

This post is updated throughout the year as plans are finalized, so be sure to check back regularly.

FREE PRINTABLE! Grab this guide as a two-page, downloadable PDF here.

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Staff and volunteers welcome visitors to the SML Business Expo

SML Business Expo

April 9, 2024

Each spring, the SML Business Expo showcases a diverse range of industries related to home, business and life. Over 100 local businesses participate in this annual event, presenting their products and services to attendees.

A variety of food to be sampled at Smith Mountain Lake Restaurant Week

Smith Mountain Lake Restaurant Week

April 17-30, 2024

This annual event showcases the diverse restaurant scene in the greater SML region. Sample specials and deals for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert and drinks from a wide range of eateries.

  • COST: Varies
  • LOCATION: Participating restaurants around SML

Sunset Saturdays

IMPORTANT NOTE: Sunset Saturdays will NOT take place in 2024. Fingers crossed it makes a return in 2025.

Select Saturday nights from mid-April through early October

Enjoy local musicians, dancing, food and wine as you watch the sun dip below the vines and the stars come out over Hickory Hill Vineyards. Family friendly.

  • COST: $10 per person with kids 12 and under free
  • LOCATION: Hickory Hill Vineyards

Portside BBQ Battle

April 27, 2024

Sample some of the best barbeque around at this competitive cookoff to benefit Lake Christian Ministries. Enjoy live music, a car show, fresh oyster bar and fun drinks at Beacon Seafood Pub and Portside.  

  • COST: $25 to enter (limited to 16 teams); $5 limited tasting tickets
  • LOCATION: Beacon Seafood Pub at Virginia Dare Marina

A  cyclist competes in the bike portion of triathlon

Smith Mountain Lake Triathlon

May 4, 2024

A scenic 750-meter swim, 20K bike race and 5K run that’s been a tradition at SML for decades. Participate, come cheer on the racers or sign up to volunteer!

  • COST: Varies
  • LOCATION: Smith Mountain Lake State Park
An aerial view of the beach at SML State Park

Take Pride in Smith Mountain Lake Cleanup Day

May 4, 2024

Our annual community cleanup day helps ensure SML is clean and safe heading into boating season. Volunteers receive supplies, an appreciation gift and a ticket to a post-cleanup celebration.

An aerial view of the beach at SML State Park

Tom Maynard Memorial Poker Run

May 18, 2024

Register to participate or just head to one of the card stops to see some awe-inspiring boats, as well as lively crews decked out with fun-filled themes. Not a race but a game of chance, this popular event benefits local nonprofits.

  • COST: $350 per boat to participate; free to watch
  • LOCATION: Card stops: TBA

A Day at the Lake

June 8, 2024

This free event, organized by the Smith Mountain Lake Association, brings the community together for fun and interactive activities (in water and on land) and is dedicated to protecting the water of SML and promoting safe recreation.  

An aerial view of the beach at SML State Park

Juneteenth Celebration

June 15, 2024

Gospel music and food vendors highlight this annual event at Booker T. Washington National Monument. 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

  • COST: Free
  • LOCATION: Booker T. Washington National Monument

4th of July Celebrations and Fireworks

Colorful fireworks light up the sky over the water at Smith Mountain Lake.
Photo by Bryce Scott, Rapid Imagery

The largest over-the-water fireworks display at SML, this event is a fundraiser for the Saunders Volunteer Fire Company. Live music by Tate Tuck, food and drink vendors. Gates open at 5 p.m., music at 6 and fireworks at dusk. If coming by boat, please remember this is a NO-WAKE event.

This fun-filled SML tradition runs from 7 to 11 p.m. Parking is limited at the marina so fireworks are best viewed by boat near channel marker C3 on Craddock Creek. Donations are accepted for various charities. This is a no-wake event. Learn more.

RELATED: Our Insider’s Guide to SML Fireworks offers essential tips for viewing fireworks by boat and includes a map of the no-wake zone in effect on July 4 and 5.

July 6, 2024
Fire WORX Fest

Festivities start at 5 p.m. and include live music by The Worx, food, drinks, vendors, games and fireworks. Takes place at Downtown Moneta and benefits the Moneta Fire Department.

Free celebration at Spring Valley Farm from 4 to 10 p.m. Live music, food and craft vendors, pony rides, petting zoo, wagon rides and, of course, fireworks at dusk!

An aerial view of the beach at SML State Park

Beastlake 5K & Obstacle Course

July 6, 2024

A fundraiser for Smith Mountain Lake Christian Academy, this event features a 5k, a 5K Obstacle Course and a 1.5-mile Obstacle Course Fun Event.

  • COST: Varies
  • LOCATION: EastLake Community Church
An aerial view of the beach at SML State Park

Smith Mountain Lake Pirate Days

July 19-21, 2024

SML Pirate Days is a fun-filled weekend for scallywags of all ages. Pirate-themed events include a Pirate’s Ball with live music and a costume contest, pirate ship battles on the lake, a marketplace, magic shows, a kid-friendly breakfast and much more.

  • COST: Varies, but mostly free or low cost
  • LOCATION: Participating businesses around the lake

An aerial view of the beach at SML State Park

Labor Day Weekend Concert and Fireworks

Sept. 1 or 2, 2024 (tentative)

Enjoy food vendors, activities for kids, live music and a spectacular fireworks show.

An aerial view of the beach at SML State Park

Smith Mountain Lake Antique and Classic Boat Show

Sept. 14, 2024

Come see beautifully restored wooden boats, meet their friendly owners and peruse a variety of vendors at this popular lakeside event that’s been going on for more than 30 years.

An aerial view of the beach at SML State Park

Smith Mountain Lake Wine Festival

Sept. 28-29, 2024

One of the region’s longest-running and most popular events, this festival includes wine, beer, cider and spirits, live music and artisan vendors. Proceeds benefit local charities. Read more about the festival’s move to Bernard’s Landing this year.

  • COST: $20-$150
  • LOCATION: Bernard’s Landing Resort

An aerial view of the beach at SML State Park

Smith Mountain Lake Charity Home Tour

Oct. 11-13, 2024

Tour eight spectacular waterfront homes while raising money for lake-area charities. Come by car or boat!

An aerial view of the beach at SML State Park

Smith Mountain Lake Fall Chili and Craft Festival

Nov. 2, 2024

Sample a variety of chili, shop and enjoy live music and amazing fall foliage lakeside at this family-friendly event.

An aerial view of the beach at SML State Park

Smith Mountain Lake Lighted Boat Parade

Nov. 9, 2024

This fun-filled tradition features decorated boats cruising up and down the lake starting at 7 p.m. Enter your boat (free), book a spot on the Virginia Dare (fee) or head to a vantage point along the lakeside parade route. All are invited to donate jackets, gloves and toys for distribution to local kids in need.

  • COST: Free
  • LOCATION: Virginia Dare Marina to Bridgewater Plaza and back

Smith Mountain Lake Turkey Trot

Nov. 28, 2024

Now in its second year, the SML Turkey Trot is a family-friendly 5K run/walk and a kids’ 1-miler that takes place on Thanksgiving Day morning. A portion of proceeds benefit Smith Mountain Lake State Park.

  • COST: Varies
  • LOCATION: Smith Mountain Lake State Park
An aerial view of the beach at SML State Park

Santa Around Bridgewater Plaza

Nov. 30, 2024

Bring the kids to see Santa arrive by boat and hear wish lists, participate in the Elf on the Shelf contest, shop Small Business Saturday specials and more at this long-running holiday tradition.

Bedford Festival of Trees

All month

Immerse yourself in holiday ambiance at the Bedford Area Welcome Center, where local businesses and community organizations display creatively adorned Christmas trees.

  • COST: Free
  • LOCATION: Bedford Area Welcome Center, Bedford, VA

Come Home to a Franklin County Christmas

Dec. 6, 2024

Celebrate the season in the heart of downtown Rocky Mount with a festive Christmas parade, tree lighting, dancing, music, shopping, and more.

In addition to the annual events featured above, you’ll also want to check out happenings at The Coves Amphitheater, Harvester Performance Center and SML Pavilion.

Need accommodations? Consult our comprehensive SML Vacation Rentals and Lodging Guide or download our FREE SML Lodging eBook.

Andie Gibson


Andie has been covering Smith Mountain Lake since 2000 for a variety of publications, including Smith Mountain Laker Magazine, The Roanoker, SML Visitor and Newcomer Guide, SML HOME Magazine and Life Outside. As a partner in G&C Ventures, LLC, she oversees all content for our suite of websites, including Smith-Mountain-Lake.com and LakeLubbers.com.

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