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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.




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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James River Park System Update from Bryce Wilk, Superintendent

Through June 30, 2020: 1,076,873 James River Park has had visitors. The same date in 2019: 975,433 visitors. The current staff devoted to James River Park is 5.




The James River Park is getting heavy use but that’s not all that’s going on in the park. Here’s what Bryce Wilk, Superintendent has to say.

  • The JRPS is seeing visitors at a higher rate than any other year ever! Through June 30, 2020: 1,076,873 visitors. Same date in 2019: 975,433 visitors. This despite all the restrictions in place during the stay at home orders due to Covid 19 this past spring and early summer. Close to a quarter million visitors in the month of June alone.
  • JRPS staff and local paddling groups installed new Dam Hazard Signs and Buoys between Huguenot Flatwater and Z-Dam to better warn people of the dangers of Z-Dam and the river.
  • JRPS hired parking attendants to ticket all illegally parked vehicles at Pony Pasture Rapids Park on weekends and holidays.
  • During the closure of public facilities, JRPS took the opportunity to upgrade the bathroom at Pony Pasture with new flooring and paint.
  • JRPS added parking lines in the parking lot to help guide and organize vehicle parking.
  • Currently we only have 5 full time staff members dedicated solely to the James River Park System, James River Park System relies on volunteers to keep this park beautiful.
  • JRPS is providing volunteer opportunities for river clean ups at Pony Pasture specifically through
  • If people are interested in volunteering on their own or have any questions, Volunteer Coordinator, Matthew Mason can provide resources and equipment. His email is [email protected]
  • Please visit and for the latest updates and safety information about the James River Park System and Richmond’s Parks, Recreation, and Community Facilities.



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Mayor Stoney names members of “Task Force to Reimagine Public Safety”

“There is a lot of work ahead of us, but this group’s diversity of expertise and lived experiences is a key asset on our path forward,” said the mayor. “I am thrilled to have this team help our city heal.”

RVAHub Staff



Today Mayor Levar Stoney announced the members of the Task Force to Reimagine Public Safety and outlined his primary requests of the diverse group of professionals. The majority of task force members stood with the mayor for the announcement.

“There is a lot of work ahead of us, but this group’s diversity of expertise and lived experiences is a key asset on our path forward,” said the mayor. “I am thrilled to have this team help our city heal.”

The members of the task force bring an array of perspectives from activist, legal, academic, law enforcement, emergency services, artistic, healthcare, and other fields. At the close of a 45-day period, the task force will bring the mayor a set of actionable steps forward to build a safer city for all.

“After additional conversations and review of actions taken in other cities, I do not believe we can wait to begin acting on reform recommendations,” said Mayor Stoney. “I have asked this task force to report back with initial recommendations within 45 days of their first meeting.”

The mayor established three foundational requests of the task force: reviewing the police department’s use of force policies, exploring an approach to public safety that uses a human services lens, and prioritizing community healing and engagement.

“We need a new process for noncriminal and nonviolent calls for service, and that will be a top priority for this task force,” noted the mayor. “We must center compassion instead of consequences.”

Regarding community healing and engagement, the mayor said that the task force will allow the city to explore methods of engagement that will enable meaningful change, using his support for the Virginia Black Legislative Caucus’ legislative package as an example.

“Last month I expressed my support for the VBLC’s package for the summer session,” said Mayor Stoney. “This task force can determine where the city can explore complementary legislation and where we need to focus community advocacy to make statewide change a reality.”

Members of the Task Force

Carol Adams, Richmond Police Department
Ram Bhagat,
 Manager of School Culture and Climate Strategy for RPS

Glenwood Burley, retired RPD officer

Keisha Cummings, community engagement specialist, founder of 2LOVE LLC, member of the Richmond Transparency and Accountability Project and the Richmond Peace Team

Torey Edmonds, Community Outreach Coordinator at VCU Clark-Hill Institute for Positive Youth Development

Professor Daryl Fraser, VCU School of Social Work professor and licensed clinical social worker

Triston Harris, Black Lives Matters organizer and organizer of the 5,000 Man March Against Racism

Birdie Hairston Jamison, former district court judge for the 13th Judicial District in Virginia

Councilman Mike Jones

Shanel Lewis, Youth Violence Prevention Specialist at the Richmond City Health District

Brandon Lovee, Richmond artist and advocate, member of the Richmond Peace Team

Colette McEachin, Richmond Commonwealth Attorney

Reverend Dontae McCutchen, Love Cathedral Community Church

Dr. Lisa Moon, Associate Provost at VCU and former Director of the Center for the Study of the Urban Child

Sergeant Brad Nixon, RPD

Tracy Paner, Public Defender for the City of Richmond

Bill Pantele, Richmond attorney and former City Council Member

Professor William Pelfrey, VCU professor with expertise in emergency preparedness and policing

Councilwoman Ellen Robertson

Rodney Robinson, National Teacher of the Year and teacher at the Richmond Juvenile Detention Center

Patrice Shelton, Community Health Worker in Hillside Court and director of the Hillside Court Partnership

Lashawnda Singleton, President of the Richmond Association of Black Social Workers

Sheba Williams, Executive Director of NoLef Turns

Courtney Winston, Richmond trial attorney

The Mayor’s Office is specifically working with the Office of Community Wealth Building’s Community Ambassadors to identify additional community members, including youth, to be part of the task force’s important work and to assist with community engagement.

The task force is committed to a transparent process and will make meeting minutes available to the public.



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Richmond Then and Now: 114 E. Broad Street

A then and now snapshot of Richmond.




Original Image from Souvenir views: Negro enterprises & residences, Richmond, Va.
Created / Published[Richmond, D. A. Ferguson, 1907]



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