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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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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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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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