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MacArthur Avenue Christmas Parade Marches in this Saturday

It’s not the Holiday Season until the MacArthur Avenue Christmas Parade rolls down the street.

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Come out for some holly jolly fun on MacArthur. The Christmas parade starts at 10 am and ends among vendors, shops and plenty of entertainment for your enjoyment. Sample some treats from Morsels and then get your picture taken with Santa. It’s a small-town Christmas vibe in a much bigger city.

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Richard Hayes is the co-founder of RVAHub. When he isn't rounding up neighborhood news, he's likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest board game.

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Government

Belmont Golf Course renovations in motion in Lakeside

Site work started in early May as part of a $5 million project to revive Henrico County’s landmark public golf course in Lakeside.

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Site work started in early May as part of a $5 million project to revive Henrico County’s landmark public golf course in Lakeside.

The Board of Supervisors approved a 20-year lease in December, allowing The First Tee of Greater Richmond to upgrade and operate the facility. The agreement ensures Belmont will remain affordable and accessible to the community while freeing the county from operating losses due to years of declining play.

“We’re just thrilled to see the project move forward,” said Neil Luther, director of Henrico’s Division of Recreation and Parks. “The last thing we wanted to see was to have the lease take effect and the property sit fallow for months and months on end because of the COVID-19 shutdown.

“With work underway, it’s evident that the project is moving forward and will be done this time next year.”

Belmont is being restored in the tradition of architect A.W. Tillinghast, who designed the course – then-known as Hermitage Country Club – in 1917. It hosted the 1949 PGA Championship, which was won by Virginian Sam Snead.

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Under its new design, Belmont will feature 12 championship holes created by restoring existing holes 7 through 18. Holes 5 through 6 will be converted into a 35,000-square-foot putting course plus a six-hole, par-3 “short course.” Each hole will range from 80 to 170 yards and be based on Tillinghast holes throughout the country.

Existing holes 1 through 4 will be turned into a driving range, wedge range and short-game practice area. The project also includes an upgraded pro shop, improved concessions and space for youth programs.

“The course, when it comes back, is going to be brand new in terms of quality,” Luther said.

Brent Schneider, CEO of The First Tee of Greater Richmond, envisions Belmont being an inclusive place “where the history of American golf meets the future of American golf.” The nonprofit is a chapter of The First Tee, a national organization that promotes youth participation in golf and values, such as honesty and integrity.

“Our vision is to strengthen the character of our community, and we feel like, with this property, we’re going to be able to do that,” Schneider said.

“Whether you’ve been playing all your life or you’re brand new and want to come try it out, there’s an entry point at this facility for everyone,” he added.

The First Tee of Greater Richmond expects to invest $4.25 million in Belmont, with Henrico contributing $750,000 previously set aside for course improvements.

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Established in 1998, The First Tee of Greater Richmond operates the Tattersall Youth Development Center at The First Tee Chesterfield Golf Course in Chesterfield County and the Elson Redmond Memorial Driving Range in Richmond.

The group enlisted MacCurrach Golf and Love Golf Design as the contractor and architect, respectively, for Belmont. The first phase of work is focusing on restoring the championship holes, with renovated greens, improved bunkers and better drainage and irrigation.

Scot Sherman, lead architect with Love Golf Design, said the underground systems will be “light years beyond what was here before.”

“You see the turf. You see the bunkers, but you don’t often see what’s underneath,” he said.

With its improvements, Belmont will be designed to challenge experienced golfers and nurture the next generation of players. In addition to the community, the facilities will be available to Henrico’s high school golf teams, the Henrico Police Athletic League and other community groups.

“This is obviously a historic golf course, but there wasn’t a lot of variety here,” said Mark Love, a principal with Love Golf Design. “There wasn’t an opportunity to hit balls on the driving range and take lessons. All of the programing that First Tee does involves all aspects of the game. I think the kids have an opportunity to learn in a nonintimidating environment and work their way up to the bigger golf course, and I think that’s a great opportunity.”

The First Tee of Greater Richmond detailed its plans and answered questions from the community in a presentation delivered in March via YouTube due to the coronavirus.

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Food & Drink

Richmond Flying Squirrels to offer ballpark food pickup with “Funville Foodie Fridays”

Miss the Flying Squirrels experience? Ballpark foods, beer, and wine will be available curbside at The Diamond on Fridays beginning this week.

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The Richmond Flying Squirrels will have ballpark food available for curbside pickup with Funnville Foodie Fridays on deck at The Diamond. The first Funnville Foodie Friday will be this Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Pick-up time slot reservations and food orders can be submitted here. Orders can be placed until 5 p.m. on Wednesday each week. Online payment options are also encouraged to limit contact.

Fans will be able to enjoy their favorite Flying Squirrels concession items, including Squirrelly Fries, burgers, chicken tenders, and more.

Cans of the Flying Squirrels’ new official beer, Richmond Rally Cap, as well as the team’s new wine, Feelin’ Squirrelly, will also be available for pick-up for customers 21 and older. Beer and wine pick-ups are also available every Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“We miss our fans terribly, and we know one of the things they miss right now is our Funnville food and beverages,” Flying Squirrels VP & COO Todd “Parney” Parnell said. “We look forward to being able to give them the opportunity on Fridays to enjoy that through safe, social distance-oriented curbside pickup right here at The Diamond.”

Hot dogs, burgers, chicken sandwiches, chicken tenders, mild and hot sausages, and bratwursts are all available as individual items or as part of combo meals, which include a regular Squirrelly Fry and a 20 oz. bottled beverage.

For pick-up, customers are asked to enter The Diamond’s parking lot on Squirrels Way, where an attendant will direct vehicles to the order pick-up location.

The Flying Squirrels Food & Beverage staff has put additional safety measures into place and will be following all COVID-19 safety protocols.

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Education

HCPS to honor graduating seniors with Richmond Raceway victory lap, ceremony watch party

Senior year for Henrico County Public Schools’ Class of 2020 has been anything but typical, and its commencement festivities will be just as unique. With regular June commencement ceremonies at VCU’s Siegel Center called off to combat the spread of coronavirus, each HCPS high school will celebrate its seniors with a three-part “Graduation Celebration 2020” instead.

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Senior year for Henrico County Public Schools’ Class of 2020 has been anything but typical, and its commencement festivities will be just as unique. With regular June commencement ceremonies at VCU’s Siegel Center called off to combat the spread of coronavirus, each HCPS high school will celebrate its seniors with a three-part “Graduation Celebration 2020” instead.

The three events will include a virtual “Graduation Ceremony Watch Party,” a “Graduation Victory Lap” at Richmond Raceway, and a “Cap and Gown Photo Session” for each graduate, capturing the moment they accept their diploma. The events will enable graduates and their families and friends to mark the special occasion while also prioritizing health and safety.

Graduation Ceremony Watch Party (June 8-11)

This TV, video, and social-media event will enable graduates and loved ones to watch and experience commencement from home while observing coronavirus health and safety guidelines. It will include many of the elements of a traditional graduation, such as student speeches and remarks from local dignitaries. It is during this event that seniors will officially be pronounced “graduates.” Most important of all will be the recognition of each senior as their pictures are shown and their names are announced ceremoniously in a video slideshow, enabling each graduate to have a well-earned moment in the spotlight. HCPS’ livestream of the virtual ceremony, as well as a cable television simulcast, will allow families to plan small at-home “watch parties” to help celebrate graduates. Experiences posted on social media will make the experience a shared celebration.

Graduation Victory Lap (June 15-17, rain date June 18)

The second element of Graduation Celebration 2020 will give seniors and their families a chance to gather and “process” safely as a group, while enjoying a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Richmond Raceway has offered HCPS use of “America’s Premier Short Track” for a “Graduation Victory Lap,” where graduates and their immediate family members will parade in cars around the historic oval. Seniors will arrive in decorated vehicles (one vehicle per graduate, with a nine-passenger limit) and be directed to the track by a Richmond Raceway pace car. Once in “pole position,” they will be able to tune into HCPS’ student radio station to hear “Pomp and Circumstance” (and possibly other special messages!) while cruising toward victory lane. Principals will be there to wave the checkered flag as each graduate crosses the finish line while their names are announced in front of school faculty members and local dignitaries.

Cap and Gown Photo Session (Specific day and time will be determined by each school.)

The culmination of Graduation Celebration 2020 will be a chance for graduates to pose in their caps and gowns, accepting their diplomas, in individual photos taken by a professional photographer. Each graduate will have a scheduled time to come to their high school, receive their diploma, and pose for an iconic picture. HCPS will cover the cost of one 8-by-10 print for each graduate.

Seniors and their families will receive more detailed information about Graduation Celebration 2020 from their principals.

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