Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Washington DC & Baltimore >
Jun 26, 2008 08:02 AM

Manassas Thai/Lao festival?

I live down in Staunton, and the owner of a local Thai place told me about a "big festival" that happens on July 4th. He said it's not only food, but a cultural celebration. Here's the problem- I can't find anything about it on the web, or anywhere else. Haven't been able to get in touch with the guy at the restaurant, either. I'd love to head up for this- does anyone know any information about this?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Do a search on "wat" and "catlett" and you should find something. This is a HUGE festival in Catlett, VA, generally over the full 4th of July weekend.

    3 Replies
    1. re: PollyG

      I read a few of the threads about the festival. Due to its religious basis, would it be in poor taste for people (like me) that aren't of the faith to attend? I don't want to be the offensive "ugly american" party crasher. Can anyone that has gone to this in the past advise? And if it's open to all, are there any particular treats that aren't widely available that I can find here? You know- fried duck heads, etc...

      1. re: lagniappe

        You will absolutely not gross anyone out by being there. On the contrary, Thai's love to see Westerners at their religious affairs and they will be delighted to explain anything about their religion if you ask. Also, you'll find that the religious stuff (monks chanting, sermonizing, people conversing with the monks, people praying before the Buddha image) will go on separate from where the food stalls and other fun stuff are. But two prohibitions; first if you are a female, never, never, never have direct physical contact with a monk. You can stand two feet away from him but do not touch him or hand anything to him directly. But males can have direct contact with a monk. Second, if you go into an area where religious stuff is occurring, take note of the Thais there and if they have removed their shoes than you do so also.

        1. re: lagniappe

          Go for the sticky rice and beans steamed in bamboo. Many vendors will have it. The other hard-to-find item that you'll see at many stalls is sliced green mango, very refreshing if it is as beastly hot as it has been on our visits there in the past.

          Oh, and of course, BRING CASH.

      2. The Event is calls 2008 Wat Lao Buddhavong Annual Festival Charitable Fair. Date is Friday-Saturday July 4-5, time is 8:00 am - 8:00 pm. Live concert begins 11:00 am- 8:00 pm. at Wat Lao Buddhavong 3043 Catlett Rd, Catlett, VA tel 540-788-4968. I went last year and looking forward to go there again this year. Lots of homemade food and fun. Friendly merchants. I suggest wearing a hat and light clothing.

        This is not much of a religious event. Thousands people from diverse background and faiths attended last year. You're required to pay for entrance fee which is few dollars and money will be donate to the temple. Here is the link , you have to stroll down to page 4 to see this info.

        2 Replies
        1. re: viyada

          Thanks for this info. I assume the weather will be just like it is in Laos in April---incredibly hot! Do you or does anyone else know if there are any stalls selling laap, & Lao sticky rice?

          1. re: baltoellen

            This is one of my favorite dishes beside papaya salad and beef jerky. Last time I went there, was in the afternoon. So it didn't taste that great-may be the vendor who made them or it was too old. This dish need to be freshly prepared then it taste better (I suggest get there in the morning). You may ask to try different dishes before you buy. Also walk around to different vendors before you making decision on purchasing it.

            If you like ethnic Thai and Laotian food this event is it. There are plenty of food-plenty laap and sticky rice and don't forget to try some Charcoal Grilled Chicken. There're also inexpensive souveniors you can purchase and give as a gift-you're allow to bargain, but I would not reccomend to go over the top because these people pretty much like us (have jobs) and they're trying to make extra money. Also don't be afraid to ask for seats, you're welcome to mingle with the rest of the diners there.

        2. Maybe it will be too late for you to go when you see this, if you see this, but I'll write it anyway.
          The big Asian 4th of July festival at Wat Lao Buddhavong, Manassas, Virginia is this weekend, Sat. June 30 and Sunday, July 1. It will start fairly early Sat morning and go all day, then pick up again Sun. morning. It's usually busiest with the most people on Sat morning, then by early afternoon a lot of people are leaving and it thins out quite a bit, and Sun. probably only has about half the people as Sat. has. So Sat. morning is the best time to go.
          The address is 3043 Catlett Road (Route 28), Catlett, Va. 22019. You can find it on Google maps.
          If you are on rt. 66, then go south on rt. 28. You will drive down there quite a few miles, then when you see a big green barn on the left side of the road with a dancing pig and cow painted on the side if it, the temple is about 1 or 2 or 3 miles farther down. The temple will be on the left hand side. After you park and walk in, the actual temple itself is big, on the left hand side as you walk down the walkway, then if you keep going straight, you go over a little bridge and down across a field and you have to pay to get into the main area of the festival where they sell stuff and have the live musicians you can watch. I think admission will be around $10. And bring plenty of money for yummy food and drinks. Definitely try the Thai iced tea and Thai iced coffee.
          They love foreigners who are interested in their culture and attend their events, regardless of your faith or color; just respect their customs as best you can. Take your shoes off before entering any temples, and never touch anyone on the head, especially not monks or older people, and never, ever say anything even slightly negative about their king or queen.

          1. the place is in Catlett. Wat Lao Buddhavong - Home

            this festival happens every year in April and July. July 3 to 6 starts at 8 or 9 am. vendors, shows mostly cultural show. it's a must. go check it out.

            1. The festival is this Saturday, July 4 and Sunday, July 5, 2015.
              Starting at 9 a.m. Saturday.

              I called the temple which provided date and start time.
              They did not have any more information, nor could they direct one to correct internet information

              Their website has no additional information
              and only lists 2013 information
              at this time.