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Richmond Festival Guide For May 2017: Friday Cheers, Arts In The Park, ¿Qué Pasa? Festival and more

Spring and summer festival season is ramping up in a big way in May. There are so many ways to get outside and enjoy our beautiful city this month from Friday Cheers, and Dominion Riverrock to the Lebanese Food Festival and Strawberry Street Festival. Here are our top picks.

Trevor Dickerson



There’s so much going on in RVA in the spring and summer months it’s hard to know where to go and what to do. But that’s what we’re here for! Here are our top outdoor festival picks for the month of May.

Friday Cheers

Photo: Venture Richmond

Richmond’s longest-running outdoor concert series, Friday Cheers, returns to Brown’s Island on Friday, May 5th with a stellar lineup of artists including Conor Oberst, People’s Blues of Richmond, Car Seat Headrest, and more. You’ll see breakout bands, national acts, and RVA’s own home-grown talent.

When: Fridays May 5th – June 30th; times vary | Where: Brown’s Island on the riverfront downtown | Cost: Varies; all shows $5-10 | More info: Season preview article

Arts In The Park

Photo: Studio Eriksdotter

Artists, craftspeople, and makers of all kinds from all over the Eastern Seaboard come together each year for one of the biggest art shows in the country, held in Byrd Park. You’ll find handmade pottery, jewelry, paintings, photography, plants, and much more in a beautiful setting. A free shuttle whisks guests from City Stadium to the park and back.

When: Saturday, May 6th – Sunday, May 7th; times vary | Where: Byrd Park near The Carillon | Cost: FREE to enter | More info: Event website

¿Qué Pasa? Festival

Photo: Joe Kutchera

The annual ¿Qué Pasa? Festival highlights the food, music, and art of Virginia’s Latin American communities. Enjoy lots of live entertainment and dancing, authentic cuisine from some of the area’s best restaurants, handmade crafts, jewelry, and housewares from a variety of vendors, and more–all along the picturesque Canal Walk downtown.

When: Saturday, May 6th; 11:00 AM – 8:30 PM | Where: The Canal Walk downtown near the riverfront | Cost: FREE to enter; pay as you go for food and drinks | More info: Event website

RVA East End Festival

Photo: RPS Education Foundation

The RVA East End Festival theme for 2017 is “The Gift of Arts and Music,” and it’s a name that rings true. The festival is a community celebration highlighting the diverse neighborhoods and unique quality of Richmond’s East End. Enjoy performances by the Richmond Symphony and many others during the two-day neighborhood festival devoted to the arts. Other activities will include a variety of performances by local artists and schools, a kids activities, food trucks, a beer garden, and vendor booths. Lawn chairs are welcomed and encouraged. All proceeds benefit local schools’ arts and music programs.

When: Friday, May 5th; 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM – Saturday, May 6th; noon – 8:00 PM | Where: Chimborozo Park, 3200 E. Broad Street in the East End | More info: Event website

Strawberry Street Festival

Photo: Taffs America

The 38th annual Strawberry Street Festival takes place at William Fox Elementary School in the heart of The Fan on May 13th. This fun-filled event needs the support of the entire school. The proceeds fund many curriculum enhancements not funded by Richmond Public Schools. Expect family-oriented games, rides, a silent auction, lots of food, vendors, and a strawberry sale.

When: Saturday, May 13th; noon – 4:30 PM | Where: William Fox Elementary School, 2300 Hanover Avenue in The Fan | Cost: FREE to enter; pay for activities as you go | More info: Event website

Dominion Riverrock

File photo/Trevor Dickerson

The nation’s largest annual outdoor sports and music festival is right here in Richmond–Dominion Riverrock. The festival, organized by Sports Backers and Venture Richmond, celebrates the great outdoors and the mighty James on Brown’s Island. There’s tons of live music including a headlining performance by The Hardworking Americans and The SteelDrivers. Plus, participate in bouldering, kayaking, a mud-laiden 5K, a slack lining competition, a BMX course, and the ever-popular Air Dog competition where pups of all shapes and sizes compete to see who can jump the farthest off of a raised platform into the pool.

When: Friday, May 19th – Sunday, May 21st; times vary | Where: Brown’s Island on the downtown riverfront | Cost: FREE to enter | More info: Event website

Lebanese Food Festival

File photo/Trevor Dickerson

Arguably one of the best annual food festivals in Richmond, the Lebanese Food Festival returns May 19th – 21st where you can enjoy a bevy of authentic Lebanese treats including baked kibbee, beef, lamb, and chicken kebabs, meat, cheese, and spinach pies, shawarma, zalabia, and so much more along with imported wines and beers. There will also be plenty of live music and traditional dancing on the festival stage.

When: Friday, May 19th and Saturday, May 20th; 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM, Sunday, May 21st; 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM | Where: St. Anthony’s Maronite Catholic Church, 4611 Sadler Road near Short Pump | Cost: FREE to enter; pay as you go for food and drinks | More info: Event website

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