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Five tips for making the most of the 44th annual Richmond Greek Festival

Arguably RVA’s most popular food festival, the annual event celebrates its 44th 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 44th 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.

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 30th, 11:00 AM – 9:30 PM; Friday, May 1st, 11:00 AM – 10:00 PM; Saturday, June 1st, 11:00 AM – 10:00 PM; Sunday, June 2nd, 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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City of Richmond recommends postponement or cancellation of large events within city limits

“Due to the greater health threat COVID-19 poses to the city’s most vulnerable populations, my administration and its partners are taking all necessary precautions to encourage CDC-recommended social distancing,” the Mayor said in a release.

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In the interest of public health and in an abundance of caution, the administration of Mayor Levar Stoney is recommending that organizers of large events postpone or cancel those events within the city limits until further notice. The guidelines did not define what constitutes a “large” event nor revokes permits issued by the city for said events, which would force cancellation.

The recommendation is being made following intensive discussion with public health and public safety officials and is informed by the Centers for Disease Control Interim Guidance designed for those planning large events and mass gatherings. The city generally is also recommending that people practice social distancing.

While 80 percent of those who contract COVID-19 experience mild symptoms, populations such as the elderly, the immunocompromised and those with chronic conditions are at greater risk of more serious symptoms.

“Due to the greater health threat COVID-19 poses to the city’s most vulnerable populations, my administration and its partners are taking all necessary precautions to encourage CDC-recommended social distancing,” the Mayor said in a release.

The administration has also dedicated a web page to provide Richmond’s residents, employees, and visitors with the most recent, reliable updates on the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19. It can be found here.

“Public health and public safety are our highest priorities,” said Mayor Stoney. “In order to keep the community safe, we must disseminate the most reliable and current information. This page will serve as a source of official information from the Centers for Disease Control, the Virginia Department of Health, the local health authority, the regional team, and the city administration.”

Updates will be publicized using the official City of Richmond social media accounts, @CityRichmondVA on Twitter and City of Richmond, VA Government on Facebook. All social media posts will link to the rolling updates on the web page.

“I urge you to share these updates with your family, friends and coworkers,” said Mayor Stoney. “We’re dedicated to ensuring the City of Richmond is as prepared as possible for any escalation, and education is key.”

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Festivals

Richmond Jewish Food Festival returns to Weinstein JCC this Sunday and Monday

If you’ve got a hankering for some delicious food, the Weinstein JCC is the place to be this weekend. It’s the return of the Richmond Jewish Food Festival, and it runs Sunday through Monday. You’ll find traditional favorites like potato latkes, knishes, brisket, and more over the course of the two-day event.

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If you’ve got a hankering for some delicious food, the Weinstein JCC is the place to be this weekend. It’s the return of the Richmond Jewish Food Festival, and it runs Sunday through Monday. You’ll find traditional favorites like potato latkes, knishes, brisket, and more over the course of the two-day event.

There will also be live music and other entertainment throughout the day. The event is free to attend and all booths are a la carte.

The festival runs Sunday, January 19th through Monday, January 20th from 11:30 AM until 7:30 PM both days. The Weinstein JCC is located at 5403 Monument Avenue.

Here’s a look at this year’s menu.

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Arts & Entertainment

Scott’s Addition Pumpkin Festival returns to Arthur Ashe Boulevard Saturday with music, beer, food, and fun

Expect a day filled with local craft beer, pumpkin-related dishes from area restaurant vendors, and activities for families and kids.

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The Scott’s Addition Pumpkin Festival returns to the Boulevard this Saturday from noon until 6:00 PM. Expect a day filled with local craft beer, pumpkin-related dishes from area restaurant vendors, and activities for families and kids.

Live music will be provided throughout the day and there will be a kids zone near the festival stage.

There will be costume contests for adults, kids, and even pets. Signups are held at the Project Local Tent near the stage area.

Admission is free and the event is rain or shine. Food ranges in price from $3–6; beers are $6 apiece. Leashed pets are welcome at the festival. Parking is available at several nearby lots, although walking or taking Uber or Lyft is suggested.

Learn more about the festival here.

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