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Richmond SPCA’s 18th Annual Dog Jog and 5K Run has been canceled due to COVID-19 concerns

Last year, more than 3,000 participants and 600 dogs came together to raise a net sum of more than $166,000 in lifesaving support. These crucial funds, which are partly raised by teams and individuals engaging in peer-to-peer fundraising efforts, benefit the approximately 4,000 homeless animals sheltered at the Richmond SPCA annually.

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UPDATE:

The Richmond SPCA has announced the decision to cancel the 18th Annual Dog Jog and 5K Run scheduled for Saturday, March 21, 2020, in light of public health recommendations to avoid large gatherings during the coronavirus/COVID19 pandemic. The cancelation comes following Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s declaration of a state of emergency and Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney’s urging that events in the city be canceled or postponed.

“The decision to cancel was a difficult yet prudent one, and we want to do what is best for all involved who have given such loyal support to this lifesaving event over the last 18 years,” said Tamsen Kingry, chief executive officer of the Richmond SPCA. “The health and wellbeing of our community, staff, volunteers, vendors, sponsors, participants and the animals who rely on us is always of paramount importance to the Richmond SPCA. We are working to create virtual opportunities that maintain the spirit of the event—celebrating companion animals while fundraising for the care of homeless pets—in a way that maintains the social distance recommended by public health officials.”

While gatherings related to the Dog Jog and 5K Run on March 21, including the After Paw-ty at Hardywood, will not take place, the local nonprofit plans to transform the Dog Jog and 5K Run into a virtual event. The Dominion Energy Vendor Fair will be postponed for a time that is convenient and safe for people and pets to again come together. Additional information for registered participants is being shared at richmondspca.org/cancellation-faqs.

ORIGINAL:

Thousands of devoted animal lovers will descend upon the Richmond SPCA for their 18th Annual Dog Jog and 5K Run presented by Holiday Barn Pet Resorts on Saturday, March 21st.

Last year, more than 3,000 participants and 600 dogs came together to raise a net sum of more than $166,000 in lifesaving support. These crucial funds, which are partly raised by teams and individuals engaging in peer-to-peer fundraising efforts, benefit the approximately 4,000 homeless animals sheltered at the Richmond SPCA annually as well as the lifesaving programs and services the nonprofit provides for pets and people, including low-cost veterinary care at the Susan M. Markel Veterinary Hospital.

“Our Dog Jog and 5K Run is an annual celebration of our companions,” said Richmond SPCA Chief Executive Officer Tamsen Kingry. “Many participants are already fundraising and sharing stories of the pets who have inspired them to help the Richmond SPCA save other animals in need. On March 21, they’ll come together at the start of spring to enjoy a day of family-friendly fun all in order to help homeless pets.”

The day’s activities begin at the Richmond SPCA at 2519 Hermitage Road with a competitive, chip-timed 5K run/walk sponsored by Williams Mullen for humans only at 9:30 a.m., which is followed by a leisurely, one-mile Dog Jog that is stroller friendly and sponsored by Zoetis at 11 a.m. Throughout the morning, supporters will enjoy the pet-friendly vendor fair sponsored by Dominion Energy, featuring a Kids Fun Zone packed full of fun crafts, giant inflatables, face painting and more, as well as a Pets Fun Zone presented by the Petco Foundation. Prizes donated by generous local sponsors will be awarded for top individual and team fundraisers, as well as the fastest 5K Run finishers.

Following the event, Hardywood Park Craft Brewery will be hosting the official Dog Jog After Paw-ty from noon until 5 p.m. Participants and their friends can enjoy local craft beer while being entertained by bands like Paulo Franco & The Freightliners and the Robin Williams Band. Food trucks, pet-related vendors and a pet photo booth will also be on-site to add to the fun. All well-behaved dogs on leashes are welcome outside the Ownby Lane tasting rooms. The brewery will donate 5% of beer sales to the Richmond SPCA.

Early bird registration, through which participants get $10 off each event signup fee, is open until March 1. Details are available on the race web page.

Dog Jog registration is per dog. Each registered canine is encouraged to bring along family and friends at no extra charge. The first 150 alumni of the Richmond SPCA to sign up will receive a free bandana proclaiming, “I was adopted from the Richmond SPCA.” For more information or to register, please visit www.richmondspca.org/dogjog.

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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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Arts & Entertainment

Experience some of Virginia’s best cultural, historic, and natural attractions online at home

While people are staying at home, Virginia museums, wildlife centers, theaters, and other tourism destinations are providing online educational opportunities to keep everyone learning. From interactive classes to puzzles and games to streaming services, here are some fun ways to virtually educate and entertain while social distancing.

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While people are staying at home, Virginia museums, wildlife centers, theaters, and other tourism destinations are providing online educational opportunities to keep everyone learning. From interactive classes to puzzles and games to streaming services, here are some fun ways to virtually educate and entertain while social distancing.

Educational Experiences with Museums and Historic Sites

  • Virginia residents and history lovers can access 400 years of Virginia history through the Virginia History Trails mobile app. Curated by the Library of Virginia and Virginia Humanities, the app contains more than 400 stories and more than 200 historic places. Users can immerse themselves in a themed trail that winds across the Commonwealth or employ the app’s GPS feature to find nearby historical sites and immediately transform their surroundings into a live history experience.
  • Colonial Williamsburg offers learners and other enthusiasts a new way to experience America’s shared story at home with the introduction of the Colonial Williamsburg streaming channel. The free new channel can be found in the “Educational” category on Amazon Fire TV and Roku TV, and offers a growing library of curated video content from the past and present in one easy-to-view location
  • Alexandria’s Carlyle House hosts “Discovery Through Trash” videos on its social media channels. Each video will reveal fragments of a centuries-old artifact found in the house’s trash pit. Viewers can try to guess the whole artifact, then be surprised as a box is lifted to reveal the object in its entirety.
  • The Jamestown Settlement and the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown is enhancing revolutionary history with interactive digital learning experiences like the Legacy Wall and the “How Revolutionary Are You?” quiz.

Discover Wildlife, Natural Wonders and Gardens From Home

  • The Virginia Zoo’s Augmented Reality Tour gives curious animal lovers the inside scoop with a virtual tour featuring 12 stops around the Zoo. The tour educates virtual visitors about the Zoo’s animal residents, conservation efforts for the species, provides behind-the-scenes videos and more.
  • Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden offers virtual visits and audio tours, online learning and activities for kids, recipes from the Garden Cafe and resources for families to learn about gardening at home.
  • Air and Space Anywhere offers videos and interactive activities for distance engagement with the Museum for virtual visitors of all ages, including the AirSpace podcast, virtual tours of the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, activities and games, 3D exploration of artifacts, pioneer stories and more.
  • The Science Museum of Virginia offers videos that teach about science words, the recipe for planetary habitability and more. Their “Experimental Musings” blog covers multiple STEM topics from the Keto diet to seasonal allergies for pets.

Virtual Activities for Kids With a Creative Side

  • The Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum is posting daily activities to continue their mission of engaging learning through play, including videos, hands on science projects, art projects, read aloud books, physical activities and more – all around a daily theme.
  • Explore More Children’s Museum launched Explore More at Home, a collection of curated activities that explore a variety of themes.
  • Roanoke’s Kids Square Children’s Museum airs live videos on Facebook featuring everything from science experiments, DIY activities, book reading and more.

Virtual Live Theater and Education Options

  • The American Shakespeare Center is bringing Blackfriars Playhouse online with cinema-quality streaming video of the complete 2020 Actors’ Renaissance and Tour Homecoming seasons.
  • The Grandin Theatre in Roanoke is offering movies to rent and watch from home on the theater’s streaming platform.
  • The Barter Theatre in Abingdon is offering its patrons the ability to stream productions from home. The theater’s current production of “Peter Pan” will be online to patrons as well as access special bonus features. The theater will also be providing coordinating educator resources, including lesson plans and a study guide.

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COVID-19 disrupts Virginia tourism ahead of peak season

Virginia’s tourism industry is losing money due to COVID-19. The industry brings billions of revenue into Virginia each year, according to the Virginia Tourism Corp. and travel spending plummeted in March.

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By Macy Pressley

Michael Moore has always enjoyed his job as wine trail guide with Top Shelf Transportation. He said the job is about more than wine.

“I get people anything they need,” Moore said. “I’m like a rolling concierge.”

Moore, 71, works in the Monticello Wine Trail region, which ecompasses parts of Albermarle and Nelson counties and contains about 35 wineries. It is widely considered to be one of Virginia’s top wine regions. Moore has worked in the industry for the past seven years, after he retired as a graphic designer. But, in mid-March, his tours were cancelled due to Gov. Ralph Northam’s order to close non-essential businesses and ban gatherings of 10 or more to combat the spread of COVID-19.

“I guess I’m out of a job,” Moore said. “The whole industry has come to a screeching halt.”

Moore is not alone, and COVID-19 has not just impacted jobs in the state’s tourism industry. Since Northam’s order, there has been a sharp spike in unemployment rates, with 306,143 Virginians filing for unemployment insurance in the past three weeks.

Moore is not worried about his finances, but many people in the tourism industry are not as lucky.

“It’s tough,” he said. “Some of the bigger wineries, they’ve got a cushion, but their workers are out of work. And it’s all part-time workers.”

Travel spending in Virginia plummeted after stay-at-home orders were announced around the country, according to the U.S. Travel Association. Spending was $521 million in Virginia the first week of March, but dipped to $119 million by the end of the month. Compared to last year’s numbers, travel spending in the state was down 78% the last week in March. Tourism is a major source of revenue for Virginia, pulling in $26 billion in 2018, according to the Virginia Tourism Corp. The industry accounted for 234,000 jobs that year.

Andrew Cothern, communications manager for VTC, said Virginia attracts so many tourists because it has something for everyone.

“Virginia has a lot of different travel opportunities, whether the traveler’s interested in history or outdoor recreation or dining,” Cothern said. “There’s a lot of different reasons why people want to come to Virginia.”

Cothern said that COVID-19 has changed everything.

“With the COVID-19 crisis going on, a lot of people are not traveling, obviously, and it’s closed down a lot of business,” Cothern said.

The businesses hardest hit will be the ones that usually attract large crowds, he said. This might include museums, theaters, parks, restaurants and wineries. VTC, and others in the tourism industry, are working to make some of these experiences virtual and earn a little revenue. For example, the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton is streaming recorded versions of the troupe’s 2020 performances. Tickets start at $10.

Moore, however, cannot work from home. He said companies like the one he works for may be in jeopardy.

“There will be some wine tour companies that will go out of business,” he said. “They’ve all got leases and cars and insurance they still have to pay for, even when they’re not touring.”

Large scale events have been affected, like the ones produced by Venture Richmond, a nonprofit that organizes events in downtown Richmond. Venture Richmond canceled Dominion Riverock, one of its largest festivals held on Brown’s Island. Stephen Lecky, director of events for the organization, said losing the festival was a disappointment to everyone, including vendors. Lecky said the festival draws 100,000 to 150,000 people annually and they contract with hundreds of musicians, athletes and other vendors.

“All these folks, food vendors and traveling vendors included, will not have this event and it will impact them financially,” Lecky said.

Lecky said that once a festival is cancelled potential revenue is gone.

“That’s $2 to $3 million that we won’t be seeing,” he said, meaning the city, musicians and vendors.

Lecky also is concerned about Friday Cheers, a weekly concert series that Venture Richmond organizes. The event typically draws 3,000 to 5,000 people to Belle Isle between May and June, Lecky said. Venture Richmond has cancelled events through May and hopes to reschedule those musicians for later in the summer, but Lecky is worried people will be weary of large crowds.

“If a vaccine is not available to people by September, October–will people truly feel safe and comfortable in large crowds and events like this?” Lecky said.

Lecky said in the future, event coordinators will have to be more careful.

“Events are going to have to be more proactive on ways they are doing things,” he said. “Do events go cashless? Are employees wearing gloves? Are you sanitizing more frequently? I think attendees are going to want to see these kinds of changes now.”

 Though more people are turning to outdoor recreation during the coronavirus outbreak, Virginia state and national parks are closing. The Rappahannock Rapidan Health District of the Virginia Department of Health recommended on April 8 the full closure of Shenandoah National Park, which has over 500 miles of hiking trails. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy on April 3 formally requested permission to close the 2,193-mile trail through the end of the month. A long stretch of it winds through the state.

Virginia State Parks have also taken a hit from COVID-19. The 38 parks attract 11 million visitors annually, with 45% of park spending coming from out-of-state visitors, according to Dave Neudeck, communications and marketing director for the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. Neudeck said the parks have canceled campground and cabin reservations through June 10. They have also closed visitor centers.

“It’s definitely going to hit our budget because the revenues generated from our overnight facilities and our merchandise sales in our visitor centers are significant,” Neudeck said.

Neudeck is optimistic about the future of the parks and said this crisis might make people more appreciative of nature.

“What we are seeing right now is that more people are looking to parks and state parks to get outside and get that fresh air and get some exercise when they can,” he said. “Therefore, we are seeing a lot of first time visitors to our parks. The hope is that we’ll continue beyond when everything turns back to normal.”

For now, many are making the best of the crisis. Moore is making masks for health care professionals. Lecky is attempting to rebook vendors for later festivals. Cothern said VTC will increase promotional materials once people are allowed to travel freely. All agreed that the tourism industry is resilient and people will come back to Virginia.

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Community

Coronavirus Support List

An ongoing list of resources and businesses that are helping the Richmond community in this time of crisis.

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Infection Updates

Social Distancing

Social distancing is the term used to describe certain actions recommended by health officials to disrupt the chain of contagion in a pandemic.  This involves steps such as: keeping 3-6 feet from others, avoiding public gatherings, and limiting face to face contact with others.

Food

  • Richmond Public Schools has begun meal distribution for ALL RPS families that starts today, Monday, March 16th. Please visit one of our food distribution sites 9:30 am-12:30 pm to receive shelf sustainable food for your family during the break! Sites will be open Monday-Friday.

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Housing

  • Greater Richmond Continuum (GRCoC) is providing emergency shelter alternatives and coordinated plans to aid the homeless in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak.

    The GRCoC partners need donations to meet the needs of the homeless population:

    – $10 gift cards for gas stations and food for shelter residents and unsheltered individuals;

    – Cleaning supplies, including soap, hand sanitizers that contain at least 60% alcohol, tissues, trash masks, and disposable face masks;

    – Thermometers;

    – Canned food; and

    – Bus tickets for residents.

    If you’re interested in donating, please contact Michael Rogers of Homeward at [email protected] or via phone at 804-343-2045, extension 22. If you’d like to donate directly, click here.

Education

  • Attention RPS Families! If you need a computer and/or internet access for any RPS students in your care, click here and complete this survey: www.rvaschools.net/tech-survey.
  • Visual Arts Center is offering a way to nurture your creative spirit without leaving home this week? Our friend Michael-Birch Pierce is this month’s Creative Mornings speaker and registration just opened online! The event will be hosted 100% digitally this Friday, March 20, and it will explore the theme of identity. Michael-Birch Pierce is a fiber artist and fashion designer who has embroidered portraits at the Oscars, the Super Bowl, Design/Miami, SXSW, and even embroidered Christmas decorations for the Obama White House. Read more and shop their work at michaelbirchpierce.com. More info here.
  • Scholastic set up a ‘Learn From Home’ website with four categories: PreK and Kindergarten, Grades 1 and 2, Grades 3-5, and Grades 6+. Each section is already equipped with one week of content for students with 15 additional days on the way.
  • Comcast is offering free internet for low income families. Go to InternetEssentials.com or call 855-846-8376 for English or call 855-765-6995 for Spanish. All new customers will receive “a free self-install kit” with no shipping fee.
  • Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems! (free video series) 📚 Join the Kennedy Center Education Artist-in-Residence at Home as Mo Willems invites YOU into his studio every weekday at 1 p.m. Eastern Time to draw, doodle and explore new ways of writing—starting today, March 16th. Learn more kennedy-center.org/education/mo-willems
  • Compiled list of education companies offering free subscriptions due to school closings amazingeducationalresources.com
  • List of coloring books/pages from museums from around the world. Some are experiencing difficulty due to heavy traffic.
  • Richmond Public Schools learning resources (English and Spanish) can be found at https://www.rpstech.org/parents.html and https://www.rpstech.org/ell.html.
  • Virginia Museum of History & Culture offering FREE Online Resources and Digital Programming
  • VPM.org/resources is a hub for news, educational materials and entertainment for our audience. There you’ll find links to:
    • Continuing local news coverage from VPM News
    • Access to the VPM PBS KIDS 24/7 channel video stream (also available for free, over the air)
    • Educational games from PBS KIDS, plus a daily newsletter for parents
    • VPM PBS Learning Media platform for educators and caregivers of pre-K – 12 students
    • Plus easy access to the VPM Music stream, Passport video streaming platform and television guide to keep audiences engaged and connected
  • Richmond’s LGBTQ Chamber is offering a Relief Fund available in Mid April to members of the Chamber experiencing personal and/or financial hardship. If you find yourself in need please email them at [email protected] Funds are limited so they ask if you can to please donate to the Relief Fund and help other business owners and professionals in the community.

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