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Five tips for making the most of the 42nd annual Richmond Greek Festival

Arguably RVA’s most popular food festival, the annual event celebrates its 42nd anniversary this weekend. Here are our tips to make the most of your experience.

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Back before Richmond was known as a foodie town for all our great restaurants, we had a bunch of great food festivals. Festivals that live on to this day. Festivals like the Richmond Greek Festival, which is arguably the most popular (and inarguably the most delicious, in my opinion).

The Greek Festival, which kicks off at lunchtime today at Sts. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Cathedral, is celebrating its 42nd anniversary this year. That’s right–members of the congregation have been dishing out moussaka, pastichio, and other Greek favorites since 1975.

In recent years, the church has also added the convenient option of a drive-thru, serving a select menu of festival food (PDF).

If it’s your first time descending upon this acropolis of delicious Greek cuisine, here are some tips to make the most of your experience.

Parking

If you’re in the general vicinity of the event (intersection of Malvern & Grove), walk or bike, as parking is very limited in the church lot, and sparse in the surrounding neighborhood. If you do drive, be prepared to hunt for a spot and walk at least a few blocks at peak times. You can also make a drive-through swing-by using this process.

Timing

Speaking of peak times, avoid them if you can! Swing in for a late lunch, early dinner, etc. if possible to avoid long lines and hordes of hungry people. If you can’t avoid the lines, your best bet is to grab a wristband and snag a bottle of Greek wine to enjoy while you queue into the tents.

Queuing

The festival’s main food tent is buffet style, where you can select what you want to eat and pay as you exit. Cash and cards are accepted. If you plan on eating a big meal, this is the way to go, but be prepared to wait at least 20-30 minutes to get through the line at mealtimes. If you just want a few things to snack on, there are separate tents for things like calamari, lamb gyros, and beer and wine.

Eating

As Greek physician Hippocrates once said, “Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.” If that’s true, you’re in for an overdose this weekend. You can view the full menu on the festival website. A few of the festival’s most popular items you should try include:

  • Calamari – Individual pieces of lightly fried squid with lemon
  • Dolmades – Tender grape leaves stuffed with seasoned rice
  • Souvlaki – A sizzling skewer of tender chicken breast or pork marinated with herbs of Mediterranean origin and cooked over an open flame
  • Pastichio – Layers of imported Greek Pasta, grated cheese, and sautéed ground beef topped with a cream sauce (Béchamel) and baked
  • Moussaka – Layers of eggplant and sautéed ground beef topped with a rich cream sauce (Béchamel) and baked

If you’ve saved enough room for dessert, try:

  • Baklava – Chopped walnuts and cinnamon-sugar between layers of fillo pastry dough, baked to a golden brown and drenched with a honey syrup
  • Loukoumades – Fluffy and light puffs, served warm with a honey syrup and sprinkled with cinnamon

Culture-ing

The festival is more than just food! You can take in the culture and spirit of Greece with live music and traditional dancing on the outdoor stage, as well as browse and buy works by local artisans and craftspeople at the church’s indoor market. It’s worth a visit, trust me.

Festival details

  • Thursday, June 1st, 11:00 AM – 9:30 PM; Friday, June 2nd, 11:00 AM – 10:00 PM; Saturday, June 3rd, 11:00 AM – 10:00 PM; Sunday, June 4th, noon – 7:00 PM
  • Sts. Helen and Constantine Orthodox Cathedral, 30 Malvern Avenue in the Near West End
  • For more information call 804.355.3687
  • Drive-thru open from each day’s respective start time until dusk
  • Cash and cards accepted at all booths and drive-thru
  • Rain or shine event

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Trevor Dickerson is the co-founder and editor of RVAhub.com, lover of all things Richmond, and a master of karate and friendship for everyone.

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Movies in the Outfield at the Diamond Start this Week

The twice a week series will have movies on Thursday and Saturday. They kick things off this Thursday with the classic “Field of Dreams”. We also would have approved of “Sandlot” or “Bull Durham”.

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From the Richmond Flying Squirrels:

The Richmond Flying Squirrels will begin hosting Movies in the Outfield, a socially distanced movie-going experience on the field at The Diamond, beginning Thursday night.

Upcoming Showings | Event Seating & Ticketing | Pre-Order & Day-Of Concessions | Policies & Event Procedures

Movies will be shown on The Diamond’s video board on Thursday and Saturday nights. Admission is $8 per person (children 3 and younger are admitted free). Information on upcoming showings, tickets, concessions and health and safety policies can be found here.

Movies in the Outfield is presented by VCU Health and supported by Aldi, Dominion Energy, Elephant Insurance, Richmond Area Honda Dealers and Pepsi.

The new, twice-a-week series begins on Thursday night with a showing of the classic baseball film, “Field of Dreams.” The gates at The Diamond open at 6:05 p.m. and the movie will begin at 7:05 p.m.

This Saturday, the Flying Squirrels will host a showing of “The Incredibles” at 6:05 p.m. The gates will open at 5:05 p.m.

Tickets are on sale now for both showings here.

To promote social distancing, seating will be located on the field in either 10’x10’ spaces for up to four people or 10’x20’ spaces for up to eight people. Guests are encouraged to bring blankets or pillows, but chairs will not be permitted.

Concessions will be available for Movies in the Outfield. The Flying Squirrels strongly encourage all guests to pre-order food prior to their event date. Orders can be submitted here. Food orders will be available for pick-up at Rosie’s Bistro at the Bullpen, which is located on the right field-side of the stadium. All food orders made at the event must be submitted online and can also be placed here.

An additional beverage-only stand will be located on the third-base side of the ballpark and will accept credit card payment only.

Parking for Movies in the Outfield is available for free in the Blue Lot at The Diamond, located off Arthur Ashe Boulevard across from the bus station. All guests should enter the stadium through the right-field gate located near the Food Lion Party Den.

The Flying Squirrels strongly encourage all guests to adhere to all protocols for the health and safety of other guests and staff, including wearing a mask and following social distancing guidelines.

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Virginia Credit Union Moonlight Ride set to take place as virtual event, with registration now open for participants

Participants can complete their virtual ride anytime between August 15-August 31.

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The 2020 Virginia Credit Union Moonlight Ride, originally scheduled for August 15, will take place as a virtual event, with registration now open at www.sportsbackers.org. Once registered, participants can complete their virtual ride anytime between August 15-August 31. Distance options for the virtual ride include three-mile, eight-mile, and 28-mile categories, and the $20 registration fee includes an event t-shirt, bicycle light set, downloadable bib number, virtual goodie bag, and a registration packet shipped directly to participants, among other items.

The Virginia Credit Union Moonlight Ride has grown into one of Richmond’s favorite cycling events, and 2020 marks the12th year of the ride. The virtual event encourages riders and families to explore their neighborhoods and communities in a celebration of biking and active living while adhering to current health and safety guidelines. Sports Backers will provide mapping tools and links to assist participants in creating their own unique routes to allow a personalized experience to the virtual event.

The continued support of Virginia Credit Union helps make the 2020 virtual event possible, and this will be the third year the Richmond-based financial cooperative has served as title sponsor of the event. Partnering with Sports Backers for the event helps Virginia Credit Union bring their goals of both financial and physical health together for people in the Richmond community.

“We look forward to the Moonlight Ride every year, and though this year’s event experience will be different, we know it will be a great opportunity for participants to get out and get active, and we’re happy to support that,” said Glenn Birch, Virginia Credit Union’s Director of Public and Media Relations. “Our members believe in strengthening our community and we know Sports Backers shares that belief and events like the Moonlight Ride help make it a reality.”

The virtual Virginia Credit Union Moonlight Ride will again feature costume and bike light decoration contests for participants, with prizes available to winners in both categories. Participants can post their photos to the event Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/moonlightride/) and winners will be notified after August 31. Contest details can be found on the Sports Backers website (https://www.sportsbackers.org/events/moonlight-ride/costume-tacky-light-contest/).

“Biking in the Richmond region continues to grow in importance for fitness, recreation, and transportation, and in the past few months it’s become increasingly popular as an exercise outlet thanks to the physical and mental benefits it provides,” said Meghan Keogh, Event Director of the Virginia Credit Union Moonlight Ride. “We hope this year’s virtual event is another way for people of all ages and experience levels to enjoy getting on their bike and celebrating our active community, even if we can’t all be together at the same time.”

The official event charity for the Virginia Credit Union Moonlight Ride is Bike Walk RVA, an advocacy program committed to making the Richmond area more bike and pedestrian friendly. Bike Walk RVA advocates for comfortable and connected places to bike and walk for people of all ages and abilities. Protected bike lanes, paved shared-use paths, safe intersections, and calm neighborhood streets have been proven to get people biking and walking on a regular basis and are an important part of healthy and vibrant communities. Participants who make a $20 donation to Bike Walk RVA will receive a $5 discount on their virtual Virginia Credit Union Moonlight Ride registration.

For registration and more event details, please visit www.sportsbackers.org.

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Juneteenth Events Around Richmond

RVAHub Staff

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Emancipation Day celebration in Richmond, Virginia, ca. 1905. Photo Credit: VCU Libraries / Public domain

Juneteenth is now an official Virginia holiday celebrated on the 19th of June in the United States to commemorate Union army general Gordon Granger’s reading of federal orders in the city of Galveston, Texas, on 19 June 1865, proclaiming that all enslaved persons in the U.S. state of Texas were now free.

Technically it’s not official but Governor Northam introduced legislation on Tuesday to make it an official paid state holiday and it has received bipartisan support.

“It’s time we elevate this,” Northam said. “It finally shut the door on the enslavement of African American people and while it did not end racism, black oppression or violence, it is an important symbol. By commemorating it, we push people to think about the significance of Juneteenth.”

Local Events

 “Self Preservation,” Friday, June 19th, Noon to 1 PM. Online discussion of the Virginia African-American Cultural Resources Task Force to promote increased focus on the African-American experience in Virginia. Task force chair and Richmond Delegate Delores L. McQuinn; Norfolk State University professor Colita Nichols Fairfax, chair of the Virginia Board of Historic Resources and president of the Barrett-Peake Heritage Foundation in Hampton; and preservationist Niya Bates, board member of the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center in Charlottesville, will lead the conversation with moderator Justin E. Reid of Virginia Humanities. Online access: bit.ly/2UBDmB9.

Elegba Folklore Society is preparing an incredible JUNETEENTH virtual FREEDOM CELEBRATION!

A drum call opening @djembe_drum_official.

Live set from @samreed124 and so much more!
Saturday June 20th
YOUTUBE @elegbafolkloresoc
FACEBOOK @elegba.folklore

“Juneteenth Rally for Justice” – Saturday, June 20, 1 to 5 p.m. Virginia Union University, Hovey Field.

The public is welcome, but the event primarily is for members of black fraternities and sororities to craft policies for police reform, according to F.W. “Fred” Scott, president of the Virginia Association of Chapters of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. To include remarks and dialogue with U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, U.S. Rep. A. Donald McEachin, Richmond Delegate Jeff M. Bourne and other elected officials.

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