Virginia, officially the Commonwealth of Virginia, is a state in the Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States located between the Atlantic Coast and the Appalachian Mountains. Virginia is nicknamed the “Old Dominion” due to its status as the first English colonial possession established in mainland North America, and “Mother of Presidents” because eight U.S. presidents were born there, more than any other state. The capital of the Commonwealth is Richmond; Virginia Beach is the most populous city, and Fairfax County is the most populous political subdivision. Virginia is divided into 95 counties and 38 independent cities.
Virginia has the highest concentration of technology workers of any state, and the fourth-highest number of technology workers after California, Texas, and New York. In 2009, Forbes magazine named Virginia the best state in the nation for business for the fourth year in a row, while CNBC named it the top state for business in 2007, 2009, and 2011. Additionally, in 2014 a survey of 12,000 small business owners found Virginia to be one of the most friendly states for small businesses. Virginia has 20 Fortune 500 companies, ranking the state eighth nationwide. Arlington County is the top tourist destination in the state by domestic spending, followed by Fairfax County, Loudoun County, and Virginia Beach.
Virginia’s educational system consistently ranks in the top ten states on the U.S. Department of Education’s National Assessment of Educational Progress, with Virginia students outperforming the average in all subject areas and grade levels tested. The 2011 Quality Counts report ranked Virginia’s K–12 education fourth best in the country. As of 2011, there are 176 colleges and universities in Virginia. In the 2017 U.S. News & World Report ranking of national public universities, the University of Virginia is ranked No. 2, the College of William and Mary is No. 6, Virginia Tech is No. 27, George Mason University is No. 71, and Virginia Commonwealth University is No. 87. Virginia Commonwealth is also ranked the No. 1 public graduate school in fine arts, while James Madison University is ranked the No. 8 regional university in the South.
Many counties and localities host county fairs and festivals. The Virginia State Fair is held at the Meadow Event Park every September. Also in September is the Neptune Festival in Virginia Beach, which celebrates the city, the waterfront, and regional artists. Norfolk’s Harborfest, in June, features boat racing and air shows. Fairfax County also sponsors Celebrate Fairfax! with popular and traditional music performances.