Neptune gives local businesses an economic boost during his annual Neptune Festival

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. -- A line of tents stretch along the Oceanfront Boardwalk consisting of local businesses from all around Hampton Roads.

The businesses gather for the annual Neptune Festival to offer the many festival-goers a taste and view of what they have to offer.

Photo: News 3 reporter Julio Avila

That includes Destiny Rezendes, an artist from Chesapeake who was selling artwork created by her in her tent. It was her first year as a vendor at the festival.

"They range from $200. I had an offer for $1,500, the one behind me today and I'm able to support myself with that money," she said. "I run my own business and my own website; it's all that I've ever wanted, and this is the place to do it."

Rezendes said she sold six paintings on Saturday. In her seven years as an artist, she said that is the most she has sold in a day - and in a year.

"I could sell less than six a year, so having this community that's all here for the art makes such a difference," Rezendes said.

That community can also get hungry and might crave something sweet. That's the perfect clientele for Luisa Weinstein and her business, Kraffles Krazy Waffles. Her business prepares freshly made waffles with ice cream and other toppings.

"Not only because we get exposure locally, but we get a lot of people from different cities that are visiting us that are learning more about Virginia Beach," Weinstein said, "and are learning about our product, which is amazing."

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It is also her first time as a vendor at the festival. Her business celebrated its one-year anniversary on the same weekend of the festival.

They owe that business exposure to King Neptune and the crowds he attracts each year for Neptune Festival.

It attracts visitors like Charles Branson who come each year. He said the festival may be expensive, but it is worth every penny.

"Sometimes you have to invest in yourself to understand that life is not to be taken for granted and in awe," Branson said. "Sometimes you have to treat yourself to know that all your hard work isn't in vain."

That includes the hard work from the entrepreneurs and business owners seeing their businesses grow.

"I want to come back every year if I can," Rezendes said. "I hope it lasts forever because this is something I'm into now."

"The should definitely get that exposure and go ahead," Weinstein said. "Let other people know what amazing businesses they have."

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