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Five tips for making the most of the 2018 Richmond Greek Festival

Arguably RVA’s most popular food festival, the annual event celebrates its 43rd 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 43rd 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 filo 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, May 31st, 11:00 AM – 9:30 PM; Friday, June 1st, 11:00 AM – 10:00 PM; Saturday, June 2nd, 11:00 AM – 10:00 PM; Sunday, June 3rd, 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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Diversity Richmond Providing Thanksgiving Day Drive-Thru

Food will be distributed by order of arrival, no early arrivals will be accepted.

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Thanksgiving Day Drive-Thru
Thurs., Nov. 26th
11:30 a.m. ’til 2:00 p.m.
Diversity Richmond parking lot
1407 Sherwood Ave., RVA 23220

You’re invited to swing by a pick up a free delicious hot Thanksgiving meal catered by Ms. Girlee’s Kitchen, courtesy of Black Pride RVA and the Laughing Gull Foundation.

Food will be distributed by order of arrival. We will not accept early arrivals. To ensure the health and safety of our volunteers and community members, we will adhere to COVID-19 CDC guidelines. Please remain in your vehicle and open the window of your vehicle when it’s your turn in line. All COVID-19 protocols are in place for all people preparing and handling the food. See you then!

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All Aboard, the Train Tradition Returns to Science Museum of Virginia

The three-day event features six different train displays with various scaled locomotives riding through intricate landscapes and miniature cities.

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It wouldn’t be the weekend after Thanksgiving in Richmond without train-themed fun at the Science Museum of Virginia’s Model Railroad Show, presented by Dominion Energy. While the event will look different this year due to capacity limitations, the Museum is excited to host the model train club displays for the 43rd year November 27 through 29.

The three-day event features six different train displays with various scaled locomotives riding through intricate landscapes and miniature cities. Created by HO, O and N-scale model train enthusiasts from across Virginia, guests will also enjoy seeing the classic scenes in the displays of clubs that have participated in previous Model Railroad Shows for decades.

“The Model Railroad Show is a nearly half century Virginia holiday tradition,” said Chief Wonder Officer Richard Conti. “It was important to us to keep the tradition going, but to do so in the safest manner possible. Every change we’ve made to this year’s event is designed to help manage guest flow to create a safe and enjoyable event for families to create lasting memories.”

One of the most important changes for this year’s event is that all guests – including Museum members – must purchase tickets in advance through the website or by calling guest services. No walk-up tickets will be sold at the Museum. Tickets go on sale on the Museum’s website today, Nov. 10.

To manage the flow of guests, the Museum is offering timed entry both to the Museum and to the Model Railroad Show with a limited number of tickets available in each timeslot. When purchasing a ticket, guests will select their Museum entry time. Entry to the Model Railroad Show, held in the Dewey Gottwald Center, will be 30 minutes after guests arrive at the Museum.

The Museum will offer member-only hours each day from 8 – 9:15 a.m.; general public entry times will begin at 9:30 a.m. daily. The last ticket time slot will be 3:45 p.m. each day to allow guests time to experience the Model Railroad Show before the Museum closes at 5 p.m.

The Museum has adjusted operating procedures, including requiring masks, so guests are encouraged to review the reopening policies on the Museum’s website at www.smv.org/welcome before their visit. There is no reentry to the space housing the Model Railroad Show and/or the Museum all three days of the event.

While at the Museum during Model Railroad Show weekend, guests can take in free planetarium shows offered in the Dome at 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. each day. Guests can also help with a collaborative railroad scene and make a conductor hat in The Forge. Museum educators will offer steam engine demos in various places around the building, and this year’s event also includes a display of historical Broad Street Station items from the Museum’s collection. In addition to the themed activities, the Museum’s “Speed,” “Boost!” and “Giant Insects” exhibits will all be open for guests to explore.

The Museum is grateful for Dominion Energy’s continued support of the Model Railroad Show as they return as presenting sponsor for the third year.

“We are especially pleased to sponsor this event again this year,” said Hunter A. Applewhite, president of the Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation. “The expansive display of model trains will bring some much-needed joy and fun to our community as 2020 comes to a close.”

Model Railroad Show activities are free with Museum admission. Museum members and children two and under are admitted free. The Museum offers discounts for military, teachers and EBT cardholders. Qualifying guests should call 804.864.1400 for details about reserving those tickets with the discount code.

Planetarium shows in the Dome are free of charge all weekend, and seating is first come, first served. Each showing is limited to 50 people, and there is no food or drink allowed in the Dome. The Museum’s gift shop will be open each day of the show, but the café and concessions will be closed.

 

Check out more of our photos from last year’s show.

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Ring in the new year in an active way with Sports Backers’ new “So Long 2020” virtual 5K

“2020 has been a challenging year, and wasn’t what any of us expected, but we’ve also seen great resilience from so many people to stay committed to active living,” said Meghan Keogh, Director of Events for Sports Backers. “As part of our nonprofit mission to provide opportunities for people to stay healthy and stay strong, we’ve focused on creating a number of new events to keep people motivated. We’re looking forward to providing another chance for participants to get active and start 2021 on a positive, energetic note.”

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Sports Backers is inviting participants to put a new twist on ringing in the new year, by walking or running it in instead in the ‘So Long 2020 presented by Capital One’ virtual event. In the new event, participants will complete a 5k on a course of their choosing any time on December 31, 2020, and proudly declare, “I Kicked 2020’s Asphalt,” as the calendar turns to 2021 at last. Registration is now open and can be done at www.sportsbackers.org.

The registration fee is $17, and includes the official event t-shirt with the “I Kicked 2020’s Asphalt” tagline, as well as a downloadable bib number and virtual event badge. Additional merchandise add-ons with the “I Kicked 2020’s Asphalt” tagline will be available during registration, including coffee mugs, pint glasses, and a hooded sweatshirt.

“At Capital One, we’re all about reimaging things, whether it’s banking or a new community event like this one,” said Andrew Winninger, Engage Lead for Capital One. “We’re excited to team up with Sports Backers to create an innovative and safe way for Richmond residents to pound the pavement and start off the new year on the right foot.”

Participants can register through December 31, 2020, then run or walk a 5k (3.1 miles) anywhere they want, while remembering to follow social-distancing guidelines. Participants can also submit their time through RunSignup, and are encouraged to share photos on social media by tagging @SportsBackers and using #SoLong2020 to make social distancing feel less isolating and join in the celebration of covering 3.1 on December 31.

“2020 has been a challenging year, and wasn’t what any of us expected, but we’ve also seen great resilience from so many people to stay committed to active living,” said Meghan Keogh, Director of Events for Sports Backers. “As part of our nonprofit mission to provide opportunities for people to stay healthy and stay strong, we’ve focused on creating a number of new events to keep people motivated. We’re looking forward to providing another chance for participants to get active and start 2021 on a positive, energetic note.”

More information on the ‘So Long 2020 presented by Capital One’ can be found at www.sportsbackers.org/events/so-long-2020-presented-by-capital-one/.

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