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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.

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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

GWAR-B-Q

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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Richmond Chess Club Hosting Kid’s Chess this Saturday

A great chance to learn about or get better at chess.

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The Richmond Chess Club meets throughout the city every week for games. Often at breweries and bars so naturally it’s usually adults. This weekend their mixing it up and hoping to attract a younger set.

From Facebook

Excited to announce our first kid’s club meetup!

We’ll be at the Richmond Public Library (101 East Franklin) on Saturday at 1:00-5:00.

It will be a workshop environment with some of our coaches helping out teaching basic principles and ideas. And of course there will be plenty of time for casual games between students.

Open for kids (and parents) of all ages and it’s completely free. Masks required. Let us know if you can make it! We plan to do this every other Saturday going forward.

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Downtown

Senate panel shoots down bill that would make mask and vaccine mandates illegal

Democrats in the Virginia Senate voted down GOP legislation Monday that would have classified mask mandates and vaccine requirements as illegal discrimination.

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Democrats in the Virginia Senate voted down GOP legislation Monday that would have classified mask mandates and vaccine requirements as illegal discrimination.

The measures, proposed by Sen. Amanda Chase, R-Chesterfield, drew unanimous support from Republicans on the Senate’s General Laws Committee.

“It’s time to give people the freedom to breathe and the freedom of choice,” Chase told the panel.

Her bills would have prevented schools, businesses and other public places from requiring people to wear masks or disclose their vaccine status.

Witnesses who spoke in support of the legislation said they opposed masks for a variety of reasons. One mother told lawmakers that masks gave her child nightmares. One man said that masks gave him seizures. A third witness said masks made her dizzy.

“We are being discriminated against,” said Doris Knicks, who spoke to the panel remotely.

On vaccines, Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant, R-Henrico, a practicing OBGYN, called it “egregious and a complete violation of an individual’s right to privacy” for businesses like restaurants to require proof of a COVID-19 vaccine.

“We shouldn’t be using this as a litmus test for people to be able to get into stores,” she said.

Democrats on the panel noted vaccine requirements are not unique to COVID-19 and said businesses should have the authority to take steps to keep their employees safe.

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Venture Richmond Offering Up 10k Broad Street Tenant Recruitment Grants

Venture Richmond was awarded a grant from the Virginia Department of Housing & Community Development to help recruit ten new tenants to Broad Street in Downtown Richmond. Each new tenant will get a $10,000 grant for moving in and opening by May 15, 2022.

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From Venture Richmond

Venture Richmond was awarded a grant from the Virginia Department of Housing & Community Development to help recruit ten new tenants to Broad Street in Downtown Richmond. Each new tenant will get a $10,000 grant for moving in and opening by May 15, 2022. Venture Richmond is partnering with the Metropolitan Business League (MBL) to help recruit existing small, women, and minority (SWaM) and immigrant-owned businesses to ­fill street-level vacancies in the area.

​The new businesses will join many galleries, retailers, restaurants, and small businesses who already call Broad Street home, as well as businesses that attract thousands of out of town visitors annually like Quirk Hotel, Richmond Marriott, the Hilton Hotel, and the Convention Center. Gather, co-working space, has a location in the area. A popular neighborhood happening is RVA First Fridays Artwalk which is a monthly celebration of the arts and galleries along and around Broad St. This section of Broad Street is also a part of Richmond’s Arts District and adjacent to Jackson Ward, near the VCU Monroe Park Campus and the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) to the west and City and State offices and VCU Health to the east.

THE CRITERIA FOR ELIGIBILITY INCLUDES THE FOLLOWING:

  • Eligible once the business has moved into the space and opened for business by May 15, 2022.
  • Veri­fied 1-year minimum lease
  • Lease street-level space on Broad Street between Belvidere and 5th streets
  • New business to Downtown, not the relocation of an existing business in the General District/BID.
  • Existing businesses in the General District, who want to open an additional location on Broad Street.
  • Existing businesses located outside of the General District, who want to open another location/outpost on Broad Street.
  • Types of qualifying businesses include retailers, restaurants, makers, entrepreneurs, startups, and other creative businesses.
  • One $10,000 reimbursement grant per storefront, if a group of small businesses wanted to share space there would only be one grant available for the group.
  • Only eligible once
  • Availability based on ­first come fi­rst served

FOR MORE INFORMATION OR ASSISTANCE, CONTACT:

Micah White

Business Development Manager

The MBL

804-356-9298

[email protected]

Lucy Meade

Director Economic Development & Community Relations

Venture Richmond, Inc.

804-248-8372

[email protected]

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