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Mark the occasion of the Boulevard’s renaming for Arthur Ashe at full lineup of special events this weekend

In addition to an official sign unveiling to re-name the roughly 2.5-mile Boulevard in honor of the late tennis champion, the celebratory events will re-introduce Ashe’s inspiring life story to Richmond and offer a variety of family-friendly events.

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The Arthur Ashe Boulevard Initiative will sponsor a three-day celebration honoring tennis great Arthur Ashe. Citizens, leaders, community organizers, and Ashe family members will commemorate the naming of Arthur Ashe Boulevard in Richmond on June 20th through 22nd.

In addition to an official sign unveiling to re-name the roughly 2.5-mile Boulevard in honor of the late tennis champion, the celebratory events will re-introduce Ashe’s inspiring life story to Richmond and offer a variety of family-friendly events.

The official dedication and street unveiling ceremony, sponsored by the City of Richmond, Dominion Energy, and the Virginia Museum of History & Culture (VMHC), will be held at Saturday, June 22, at 11 a.m. at the VMHC.

National, state and local elected leaders will be in attendance and participate in the dedication ceremony, along with Ashe family representatives. Civil rights leader and U.S. Rep. John R. Lewis, (D-Ga.) will deliver the keynote address.

“We’re thrilled to name Dominion Energy as our presenting sponsor for our weekend celebration, as we officially rename the Boulevard after my uncle, said David Harris, nephew of the late Arthur Ashe and a key driver in the Boulevard’s renaming. “Together, we’ll celebrate Ashe’s achievements both on and off the tennis court. My uncle’s incredible legacy transcended sports and is tied to foundational roots of Richmond. With Dominion Energy’s support and others, we’re putting a stake in the ground for Arthur Ashe’s legacy of social justice for generations to come.”

“This is a great step forward for Richmond to honor Arthur Ashe in a bold way,” said Tom Farrell, chairman and CEO of Dominion Energy. “We’re proud to be part of it, and to celebrate our hometown with friends, neighbors, and the Ashe family.”

The company’s sponsorship is being provided through the Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation.

The latest schedule of community events—all of which are free, family-friendly and open to the public include:

  • Arthur Ashe Boulevard Social Justice Forum, Thursday, June 20, 7-9 p.m., Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Learn about social justice and find out how it was part of Arthur Ashe’s legacy.
  • Arthur Ashe Boulevard Tennis Tournament & Movies at the Park, Friday, June 21, 6-9 p.m., Byrd Park. Join local tennis organizations in celebration of Ashe’s sport; stick around for an evening of movies and other festivities.
  • Arthur Ashe Boulevard Kick-off Celebration & Bowling Party, Friday, June 21, 7 p.m. to midnight, River City Roll. Enjoy kids and family bowling night (7-9 p.m.) as well as live music (9 p.m. to midnight) at this Scott’s Addition bowling alley along Arthur Ashe Boulevard. Donations suggested.
  • Arthur Ashe Boulevard Unveiling Ceremony & Exhibition Opening, Saturday, June 22, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Virginia Museum of History and Culture. Join us as we make history with the City of Richmond; A-list celebrities, city officials, and government dignitaries will officially unveil the re-named Boulevard.
  • Arthur Ashe Boulevard Community Celebration, Saturday, June 22, 1-5 p.m., Arthur Ashe Jr. Athletic Center. Celebrate with the community and participate in sponsored tennis clinics for kids and adults.
  • Arthur Ashe Boulevard After Party, Saturday, June 22, 8-11 p.m., The Graduate Richmond: the official Arthur Ashe Boulevard Celebration host. Cap off three days of excitement around Arthur Ashe and the City of Richmond.

To learn more about Arthur Ashe Boulevard or the schedule of events, visit arthurasheblvd.com.

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Arts & Entertainment

2nd Street Festival Announces 2021 Headliner Plunky & Oneness

For over 50 years, Richmond saxophonist, songwriter and producer J. Plunky Branch has been at the vanguard of Afro-centric jazz, funk, R&B, house music, and go-go, weaving these interrelated musical forms into a forward-looking message of empowerment, positivity, and cultural awareness.

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The 2nd Street Festival will return this fall, live and in person, Saturday – Sunday, October 2-3. Marking its 33rd 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. In 2019, thousands visited 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 a Kidz Zone, popular food vendors, a marketplace and Artists Row to shop, and the Richmond Metropolitan Antique Car Club.

This year the festival features headliner Plunky & Oneness on Saturday, October 2. Many other great artists will be showcased over the two-day event.

Saturday’s Headliner, Plunky & Oneness

J. Plunky Branch
For over 50 years, Richmond saxophonist, songwriter and producer J. Plunky Branch has been at the vanguard of Afro-centric jazz, funk, R&B, house music, and go-go, weaving these interrelated musical forms into a forward-looking message of empowerment, positivity, and cultural awareness. As a native Richmonder, he was mentored by local R&B musicians and music educators, including jazz violinist Joe Kennedy, Jr.

Along with his band, Plunky & Oneness, he has appeared in concert with some of the biggest names in Black music, including Patti Labelle, Ray Charles, Earth Wind & Fire, Frankie Beverly & Maze, LL Cool J, Chuck Brown, and more. His song “Every Way But Loose” was a top-ten soul music chart hit in London in the 1980’s and his hit single, “Drop,” was released in 2007. He also wrote “2nd Street Jaunt,” a song that Venture Richmond used in TV commercials promoting the 2019 festival.

In addition to being a veteran saxophonist, J. Plunky Branch has served as an administrator, lecturer and teacher. Plunky is a two-time recipient of National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Fellowships and in 2017 was appointed to the Governor’s Task Force for the Promotion of the Arts in Virginia. Throughout his career Plunky has entertained and taught thousands, and in the process, has developed a broad and loyal following.

More information on the 2nd Street Festival and additional artists performing will follow later this summer as we continue to follow CDC and state guidelines for Covid-19 protocol for large outdoor events. A commitment to safety and adherence to local, state, and federal ordinances and guidelines is crucial.

For up-to-date information about the 2nd Street Festival, please visit: https://venturerichmond.com/our-events/2nd-street-festival-2021/

The 2nd Street Festival is presented by Dominion Energy, Altria, NewMarket Corp., and the City of Richmond

The 2nd Street Festival is sponsored by Virginia Union University, Brown Distributing, CoStar
Group, Community Foundation, Radio One Richmond, NBC12 and CW Richmond

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Downtown

Riverfront Canal Cruises are back, with historically-narrated tours Fridays through Sundays

After stopping during the pandemic, a downtown tradition is back. On Friday, July 2nd, Riverfront Canal Cruises began hourly historic tours on weekends only – Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

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After stopping during the pandemic, a downtown tradition is back. On Friday, July 2nd, Riverfront Canal Cruises began hourly historic tours on weekends only – Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

The 40-minute, historically-narrated tours of the James River and Kanawha Canal will be open to the public Fridays to Sundays, noon to 7:00 p.m. each day. The boat tours travel along downtown Richmond’s historic Canal Walk and review centuries of Richmond’s history, from Powhatan’s Chiefdom to the first commercially successful electric streetcar in the world, all while traveling in authentically-styled, flat-bottomed boats. Travelers can see the unique Triple Crossing railroad, tobacco warehouses that have been converted into trendy lofts, the Virginia Capital Trail, the Low Line gardens and James River wildlife.

The historic tours depart every hour on the hour and accommodate up to 28 passengers. They operate on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through November. Tours depart from the canal’s Turning Basin at 139 Virginia Street. Tickets are sold on a first come, first served basis at the Turning Basin’s ticket kiosk or online 24 hours in advance at VentureRichmond.com. All boats are handicap accessible.

Adults are $10.00; Children (5 – 12 years old) are $6.00; Children 4 and under are Free; Seniors (65 years and up) are $6.00.

Private charters are also available and may be scheduled for any day and time during the season. Private charters must be reserved a minimum of two weeks in advance. All reservations must be made online. To book a private charter for your group, please visit https://venturerichmond.com/our-services/riverfront-canal-cruises and click on “Buy Tickets.”

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Events

Photos: Big Booms

The return of the 4th of July Fireworks at Dogwood Dell did not disappoint.

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