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August Festivals: Carytown Watermelon Festival, Richmond Jazz Festival, Dragon Boat Festival, and more

Watermelons, dragon boats, food trucks, GWAR, and more–must be August in Richmond! Here our favorite festival picks to check out.

Trevor Dickerson



The dog days of summer are upon us, and in typical Richmond style, there’s a unique and fun way to sweat yourself silly and enjoy all the region has to offer pretty much each and every weekend. Here are our top picks of what to see and do this August.

Richmond International Dragon Boat Festival

The Dragon Boat Festival is a unique experience for participants and spectators alike. Led by the beat of a drum, teams of 20 paddlers, a drummer, and steer person race 40-foot canoes adorned with traditional Chinese dragon heads and tails down the James River past Rocketts Landing. There’s plenty to see and do as a spectator. Between the canoe races, there are performances and other cultural experiences, food, drink, and more.

When: Saturday, August 6th; races held throughout the day | Where: Rocketts Landing, 5000 Old Osborne Turnpike | Cost: FREE to attend | Event website

Richmond Jazz Festival

The Richmond Jazz Festival, one of the East Coast’s premier musical events, returns to Richmond for its seventh year August 11th through the 14th. An impressive bill of nationally- and internationally-known jazz, blues, and funk acts will perform at venues around town including the Hippodrome Theater, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Hardywood, and–for the culmination of the festival–Maymont. This year’s artists include Herbie Hancock, The Roots, Al Jarreau, Michael Franks, Esperanza Spalding, Vanessa Williams, Ramsey Lewis, Diane Schuur, Grace Kelly, and Arrested Development. In addition to live jazz, the festival will also feature complimentary wine tasting by Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, as well as chef demonstrations, artist meet-and-greets, and over 30 food and merchandise vendors from across the region.

When: Thursday, August 11th – Sunday, August 14th; view schedule | Where: The Hippodrome Theater, the VMFA, Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, and Maymont | Cost: View available packages | Festival website

Filipino Festival

For over a decade now, the Filipino Festival has been a popular community showcase of the richness of the Filipino culture and heritage. The festival features a wide variety of traditional food, music, folk dancing, and more. The festival also serves as a cultural immersion program for more than 100 youth of Filipino descent each year. For nine months, they are immersed in bi-weekly classes that teach them their parents’ language, culture, stories, history, dances and songs to pass down to future generations.

When: Friday, August 12th 5:00 – 10:00 PM;  Saturday, August 13th 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM | Where: Our Lady of Lourdes, 8200 Woodman Road in the West End | Cost: FREE to attend | Festival website

Carytown Watermelon Festival

This annual celebration of the watermelon takes place along Richmond’s Mile of Style, Carytown. Expect a bevy of local food and retail vendors, food and drink specials at many of Carytown’s unique and vibrant restaurants, live music, and of course, plenty of cold, fresh watermelon sliced up and served by the bowl. Last year festival organizers estimate over 118,000 people attended–quite a crowd.

When: Sunday, August 14th; 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM | Where: Carytown, West Cary Street between Nansemond Street and N. Boulevard | Cost: FREE to attend | Festival website


Richmond’s favorite celebration of blood, gore, and metal is back for its seventh year–it’s the annual GWAR-B-Q at Hadad’s Lake. Hosted by Richmond metal band GWAR, the event will include performances from Lamb of God, Against Me!, and American Nightmare, among others. Plenty of food and retail vendors will be on site.

When: Saturday, August 20th – Sunday, August 21st; all day | Where: Hadad’s Lake, 7900 Osborne Turnpike in the East End | Cost: Ticket packages start at $60 | Festival website

Central Virginia Food Truck Rodeo

Nearly 30 Richmond-area food food trucks will once again descend upon Chesterfield Towne Center on August 28th for the Central Virginia Food Truck Rodeo. Nosh on tasty food from your favorite (or new-to-you) food trucks, enjoy live music and arts and crafts vendors, and more in the mall’s parking lot.

When: Sunday, August 28th; noon – 6:00 PM | Where: Chesterfield Towne Center, 11500 Midlothian Turnpike in Midlothian | Cost: Food priced individually by truck

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