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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.

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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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Arts & Entertainment

Kings Dominion’s Halloween Haunt Returns for a Spooky Good Time

Fall events are back on select nights beginning September 24th through October 30th.

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Kings Dominion’s Halloween Haunt makes its return beginning Saturday, September 24 and it’s bigger and scarier than ever, with six mazes, five scare zones and new live shows, along with hundreds of monsters roaming the midways.  During the nighttime event, guests can also get their adrenaline fix on more than 20 rides, including Twisted Timbers, IntimidatorTM 305 and Dominator, as fog and darkness blanket the park. The Great Pumpkin Fest also returns September 24 with family-friendly daytime Halloween fun in Planet Snoopy.

New Haunt highlights this year include:

FRESH BLOOD – NEW ATTRACTIONS

  • NEW MAZE: 21
    You find yourself deep in your greatest nightmare. There is no escape. Around each corner, new horrors await. The things that go bump in the night are here, and they are here FOR YOU!!
  • NEW SCARE ZONE: Site X
    The Jungle X-pedition team made discoveries that changed history. But rumors have emerged that while excavating this site, the crew unearthed something sinister, and the jungle began to transform them. Venture into Site X to discover the horrors of the jungle, but listen closely as a luring whistle or rhythmic drum could spell your impending doom.
  • NEW SHOW: The Queen’s Ball
    Join Queen Majesty as new Monsters from far and wide have come to pledge their allegiance to her ruinous reign. Watch dancers, musicians, and acrobats prove their loyalty through fierce performances. But they must be wary, if the queen does not enjoy their antics, they may meet a fiery end.
    NEW SHOW: Convergence
    There is nothing to do but watch our Ceremonial Drummers as they summon the spirit of El Tunchi. Passersby beware as this ancient jungle spirit does not like visitors and you could become the latest traveler to never leave Site X.


Great Pumpkin Fest
Kings Dominion’s daytime Halloween event, the Great Pumpkin Fest, puts the “WEE!” in Halloween with a full day’s worth of family-friendly fun, including a pumpkin patch, hay maze, ghostly games, costume party with the PEANUTSTM gang, favorite rides and so much more! The Great Pumpkin Fest is held Saturday and Sundays from September 24 through October 30 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Planet Snoopy will close at 6 p.m. as the park transforms for Halloween Haunt.

The Great Pumpkin Fest has fun for the whole family to enjoy together and as an added benefit, children three to five years of age are eligible for unlimited FREE admission to this event and the rest of 2022 when their parent or guardian registers online and activates their 2023 Pre-K Pass at the park.

Kings Dominion Halloween Haunt Admission

Single night tickets – Buy tickets at KingsDominon.com and get monster savings of up to $30 off the regular main gate price of $75. Applicable taxes and fees apply to online orders.

Halloween Haunt General Parking is $25 per vehicle and can be purchased online or at the parking booth upon arrival. Preferred Parking is available for $35. Applicable taxes and fees apply to online orders.

Scream more and wait less. Speed past the lines with a Fright & Fast Lane pass. Enjoy all the Fast Lane Plus attractions PLUS bypass the regular wait lines for six Haunt mazes, one time each. Fright and Fast Lane can be purchased online for as low as $70. To get unlimited visits and free parking to Kings Dominion for the rest of 2022 and all of 2023, including Halloween Haunt, guests can purchase a 2023 Gold Season Pass.

Kings Dominion’s Halloween Haunt has welcomed visitors for over 21 years and has become an institution in the Virginia theme park landscape. For the most up-to-date hours of operation, visit kingsdominion.com. The Great Pumpkin Fest and Halloween Haunt are both included with park admission. Due to the explicit and frightening nature of Halloween Haunt, the nighttime event is not recommended for children under 13.

To increase safety and provide efficient entry into the park during the Haunt event, guests will be asked to adhere to a new policy which states that no bags of any kind larger than 6.5” x 4.5” x 2” may be brought into the park after 6 p.m. on Haunt nights. All bags will be subject to search.

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Community

2nd Street Festival Releases Full Schedule

The 2nd Street Festival will return this fall, live and in person, Saturday – Sunday, October 1-2. Marking its 34th year, the festival celebrates the rich culture of the historic Jackson Ward neighborhood in Downtown Richmond.

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The 2nd Street Festival will return this fall, live and in person, Saturday – Sunday, October 1-2. Marking its 34th year, the festival celebrates the rich culture of the historic Jackson Ward neighborhood in Downtown Richmond. This FREE event is produced by Venture Richmond Events.

Over the years, it has grown to be one of the Mid-Atlantic's largest street festivals. Thousands visit historic Jackson Ward to reminisce about the days when 2nd Street was the heart and soul of Richmond’s African American community and was known as “the Harlem of the South.” Today, Jackson Ward continues to be a thriving neighborhood and community.

The 2nd Street Festival is an annual celebration and homecoming over two days that features three stages of live musical entertainment along with popular food vendors, a marketplace and Artists Row to shop, and the Richmond Metropolitan Antique Car Club.

“I am excited to bring Grandmaster Flash back to Richmond. He last performed in 2015 and based on our initial announcement in July, RVA is eager to see him, too,” said Sharon Bassard, booking and festival manager at Venture Richmond. “The ceremonial kickoff mini parade and the re-opening of the Kidz Zone are some highlights this year! We do suggest that folks bring their own chairs to best enjoy the shows at each stage.”

2nd Street Festival 2022 Stage Schedule

(Subject to change)

WAVERLY R. CRAWLEY MAIN STAGE (sponsored by Virginia Union University)

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 1
11:30 – 12:15pm Aubrey Smalls Quartet
12:45 – 1:30pm Ban Caribe
2:00 – 3:00pm Rodney The Soul Singer Stith
3:30 – 4:30pm J Baxter & the S.A.U.C.E.
4:55 – 5:10pm Standing on Their Shoulders- Festival Tributes
5:45 – 7:00pm GRANDMASTER FLASH

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 2
1:00 – 1:30pm Cora Harvey Armstrong
2:00 – 2:30pm Virginia Union University Choir
3:00 – 4:00pm KATZ Band
4:45 – 6:00pm I Would Die 4 U; A Musical Tribute to PRINCE

JOE KENNEDY JR. JAZZ STAGE

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 1
12:00 – 1:15pm COUNTERPOINT featuring Wayne “Big Patt” Patterson
1:45 – 2:45pm Marsha Meekins & Company
3:15 – 4:15pm Jason Jenkins Group
4:45 – 6:00pm The Marvin Taylor Experience

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 2
1:00 – 2:10pm Drummer, Billy Williams, Jr.
2:45 – 4:00pm Carl Lester-El Quartet featuring Corey El
4:45 – 6:00pm Nathan Mitchell – Happy Birthday!

EGGLESTON HOTEL COMMUNITY STAGE

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 1
11:35 – 11:55am Welcome – Historic Jackson Ward Association- Janis Allen, Lift Every Voice and Sing – Milani Hopkins, Renaissance Roll Call – Gary Flowers
12:15 – 12:45pm Sports Backer’s Fitness Warriors
1:10 – 1:55pm Drums No Guns
2:20 – 2:50pm The Line Dance Prince – Carlos Vieira
3:15 – 3:45pm POSE…Hair Meets Fashion on 2nd Street
4:10 – 5:00pm Johnny Lee Long Band

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 2
1:15 – 2:00pm Dr. Michael J. Jones & The Village of Faith Praise Team
2:30 – 3:10pm Sweet Potatoes
3:35- 4:35pm Hip Hop Karaoke
4:45 –4:55pm Roscoe Burnem – Richmond’s Poet Laureate
5:10 – 5:40pm Dancing with Mama D

Ceremonial Kick-Off Parade

The festival opens with Jackson Ward’s historic organizations. No floats needed as we recreate and honor the benevolent, religious, financial, fraternal/sororal and civic organizations that played a vital role in the history of the Jackson Ward neighborhood. The short parade starts at 11:15am on Saturday at 2nd and Broad Street and moves three blocks northward to the Eggleston Community Stage on Leigh Street. Help to kick off the festival and show your community support! If your organization would like to be included in this parade, please contact Gary Flowers, our parade partner, at 773-230-3554 for more information.

Saturday’s Headliner, Grandmaster Flash

The career of Grandmaster Flash began in the Bronx with neighborhood block parties that were the start of what would become a global phenomenon — the dawn of a musical genre. He was the first DJ to physically lay his hands on the vinyl and manipulate it in a backward, forward or counterclockwise motion. He laid the groundwork for everything a DJ can do with a record today. In 1978, he started his own group, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. They went Platinum with their single, “The Message,” and their single, “The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel,” introduced DJing to a larger listening audience than it had ever known before. The group’s fame continued to grow with “Superappin,” “Freedom,” “Larry’s Dance Theme,” and “You Know What Time It Is.” In 2007, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five became the first hip hop group ever inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2021, the Smithsonian Museum of American History in honor of Black History Month opened its exhibit RECOGNIZE! Hip Hop and Contemporary Portraiture that Grandmaster Flash along with other hip hop artists such as LL Cool J, Erykah Badu and Common are featured. And in 2022, Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five were awarded the Music Educator Award, presented by the Recording Academy and GRAMMY Museum.

Featured Jazz Stage Artists, The Marvin Taylor Experience and Nathan Mitchell

Richmond native and saxophonist, Marvin Taylor, has lived his life in pursuit of the joy and connection experience through the power of music. He has played with some of Jazz Music’s greatest including Dizzie Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, Gladys Knight, Alex Bugnon, Kirk Whalum, Bob James and many others. Taylor performs Saturday, October 1 from 4:45-6:00pm on the Jazz Stage. Closing the Jazz Stage on Sunday, is Nathan Mitchell. Back by popular demand, this Grammy nominated and three-time NAACP Image Award keyboardist has performed twice at the festival and is a fan favorite. He will be featured Sunday, October 2 at 4:45pm.

Sunday’s Closing Performance, I Would Die 4U: A Musical Tribute to PRINCE

As a returning crowd favorite, this musical tribute band brings the electric joy and eclectic funk of Prince’s music to the stage with the recreations of Prince’s greatest hits, funkiest jams, and most soulful ballads. Accompanied by his incredibly talented band, Anthony Cosby, Jr. takes you on an unforgettable musical journey. Anthony is a musical theater performer based in Richmond who has performed in over 30 musical productions including The Wiz, A Chorus Line, Sister Act, The Color Purple and many more. He also has appeared in several episodes of AMC’s Channel hit series “TURN,” the PBS series, “Mercy Street,” and Hulu’s latest production, “Dopesick.”

Official Festival Poster Artist, Jowarnise Caston

The 2022 official poster was commissioned to Jowarnise Caston, a figurative artist based in Richmond.

“Drawing inspiration from African textile design, contemporary fashions, and urban culture, Jowarnise developed a late interest in portraiture, mainly in the mediums of painting and drawing, after earning her Bachelor of Fine Art from Virginia State University. She blends classical painting with her years of graphic design experience. Most of her works combine a wide range of references from classical painting, pop culture, and her personal experience. Jowarnise, visual artist and designer, explores the human condition with them related to race, social class, and culture through her art. Best known for her naturalistic portraits of women in eloquent poses, she often focuses on the female African American experience.” Mending Walls RVA

The new poster will be unveiled on September 21, watch on Facebook Live! Posters will be available for sale at the Venture Richmond tent on 2nd Street at the festival.

Radio One “2nd Street MIX” Weekend

Back again for another year, 2nd Street Festival partner Radio One’s “2nd Street MIX” weekend will get you ready for the festival by bringing you mixes from the hottest DJs in the city! Tune into 99.3/105.7 KISS FM on Saturday, October 1 from 4:00pm-midnight and Sunday, October 2 from noon-7:00pm. Hear mixes from DJ King Tutt, DJ Drake, and DJ Lonnie B playing all your favorite 2nd Street Festival hits!

FREE Walking Tours, guided by Gary Flowers

Venture Richmond Events will provide FREE guided walking tours led by Gary Flowers who has a four-generation family connection to Historic Jackson Ward. "Educating the public to the place Historic Jackson Ward holds in commerce, education, and dismantling racial segregation in the United States of America is critically important to me,” Mr. Flowers said. Tour groups meet on the sidewalk at the Maggie Walker National Historic Site, 2nd & E. Leigh Street, and leave at 1:00pm on Saturday and at 1:00pm on Sunday. 60-minute tours.

Kidz Zone

The Children’s Museum is back to produce the much-loved Kidz Zone! Some of the fun activities planned include making their iconic bag hats, creating a community art mural, assembling a cardboard house puzzle of the Maggie Walker house as well as a physical activity area with a variety of yard games. Balloons By Extreme will be on site for some balloon twisting fun too! The Kidz Zone is located in the parking lot between Clay and Leigh Street off of 2nd Street.

For all information about the 2nd Street Festival, please visit: https://venturerichmond.com/our-events/2nd-street-festival-2022/

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Events

Get spooky on the Capital Trail with the 4th Annual Halloween-themed 10-mile and 5k run along the James River

This fully supported race features scenic views along the James River, a measured and marked course, top-finisher prizes, costume contests, music, an event t-shirt, and a celebratory beverage ticket to Stone Brewing.

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The Virginia Capital Trail Foundation is inviting Richmonders to celebrate fall with the Rocketts Landing Cap Trail 10M & 5k presented by Dominion Energy on October 29th. This fully supported race features scenic views along the James River, a measured and marked course, top-finisher prizes, costume contests, music, an event t-shirt, and a celebratory beverage ticket to Stone Brewing.

All distances start/finish at Stone Brewing in Richmond and take place on the paved Virginia Capital Trail (separated from vehicle traffic). The timed event is perfect for runners and walkers of all ages and fitness levels. Additional features include a start/finish line, on-site packet pickup, touchless water stations, and chip-timed bibs. There is also a pre-run costume contest with prizes awarded in the following categories: best adult, children, and family/group costume.

“We are thrilled to continue our partnership with the Richmond Road Runners Club to host our fourth run/walk event on the Capital Trail,” shares Cat Anthony, Executive Director of the Virginia Capital Trail Foundation. “This is one of our favorite events because it showcases the versatility of the Capital Trail. Each year, we meet participants who are visiting the Capital Trail for the first time.”

Early bird pricing is $37 for the 10-mile and $32 for the 5k before September 29. Registration includes a Halloween event t-shirt, top finisher awards, and a celebratory beverage ticket at Stone Brewing Tap Room in Richmond. There is a race discount of $15 for participants under 20 and a $5 savings if you refer three or more friends. All profits from the races support the Virginia Capital Trail Foundation’s work to enhance, promote, and advocate for the continued development of the Capital Trail and other trails throughout the Commonwealth.

Learn more and register here.

Will you help support independent, local journalism?

We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

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