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First-ever ‘Sports Backers Fitness Festival’ announced for September 18 in Chimborazo Park

The free festival will feature fitness stations, exercise demos, and local vendors.

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The first-ever Sports Backers Fitness Festival takes place on Saturday, September 18, Sports Backers announced today. The festival promotes the fitness and outdoor activity opportunities available in Richmond and runs from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. in Chimborazo Park at 3215 E. Broad Street. Participation in the Fitness Festival is free, but attendees are asked to register beforehand.

The free festival features classes and demos led by members of Sports Backers’ Fitness Warriors program. The community health initiative trains area residents who have talent, passion, and potential to be professional fitness instructors for Richmond’s communities with the highest rates of chronic disease. Fitness Warriors currently lead free classes six days a week throughout the Richmond region, both in person and virtually, and the classes are geared towards all levels of fitness.

Fitness Warriors will lead sessions during the Fitness Festival in a celebration of active living and to help encourage participants to make physical activity a daily habit. A variety of activities and modalities are available throughout the day, including yoga, Pilates, Zumba, resistance bands, and high intensity interval training. The festival also features local health and fitness vendors to help guide participants on their active living journey. A vendor application is available at www.tfaforms.com/4924659.

”The Sports Backers Fitness Festival brings together many of our region’s most enthusiastic and passionate fitness leaders for a day of high-energy fun,” said Tiffany Copeland, Director of Fitness Warriors for Sports Backers. “At Sports Backers, our mission is to inspire people from all corners of our community to live actively. The festival supports this mission by encouraging attendees to sample a wide variety of activities and learn innovative ways to add active living into their lifestyle on a daily basis.”

Sports Backers is partnering with several corporate and nonprofit sponsors, including the RVA Community Development Corp., to deliver the inaugural Fitness Festival. These partnerships build connections with a wide range of community members and share the message of the importance of active living.

“We’re excited to help sponsor this event because Fitness Warriors reflects our values of economic empowerment and community-based leadership,” said Elaine Summerfield, Board President of the RVA Community Development Corp., a nonprofit that is working to support and sustain community assets and economic opportunity, with a particular focus on Richmond’s East End.

Additional supporters of the Sports Backers Fitness Festival include Markel, Mutual Assurance of Virginia, and the Market @ 25th. More details on the Sports Backers Fitness Festival are available at www.sportsbackers.org/events/fitness-festival.

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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

Richmond Folk Festival Announces More Artists

Richmond Folk Festival has nine new artists for you to check out as we wait, with fingers crossed for the return of Folk Fest.

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The Richmond Folk Festival celebrates its 17th anniversary October 8-10, 2021 inviting fans to downtown Richmond’s riverfront to celebrate the roots, richness, and variety of American culture through music, dance, traditional crafts, storytelling, and food.

The free, three-day, outdoor event is presented by Venture Richmond Events in partnership with the National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA), the Center for Cultural Vibrancy, the Children’s Museum, and the City of Richmond.

Featuring six stages and showcasing music and dance from more than 30 artists from around the nation and the world, the Richmond Folk Festival today announces a second group of artists performing at this year’s festival—a program that will again be culturally diverse and artistically excellent, with some of the finest traditional artists performing throughout the weekend.

“We are proud to be back this year on Richmond’s beautiful downtown riverfront,” said Blaine Waide, associate director of the National Council for the Traditional Arts. “From returning favorites to up-and-coming artists making their Richmond debut to traditions like Sicilian traditional music
that we have never presented before, this year’s program lives up to the festival’s reputation for offering a dizzying variety of artistic expressions and experiences—all for free!”

Venture Richmond Events continues to closely monitor CDC and Virginia guidelines for COVID-19 protocols for large outdoor events. A commitment to safety and adherence to local, state, and federal ordinances and recommendations will guide all decisions regarding the festival.(see COVID-19 guidelines)

The nine newly announced artists to be featured at the 2021 Richmond Folk Festival include:

The Brotherhood Singers (African American a cappella gospel quartet singing)
Covington, Kentucky

Donny Broussard & the Louisiana Stars (Cajun)
Kaplan, Louisiana

Jasmine Bell & North Bear (Lakota hoop dance and Northern Plains drum)
Riverton, Wyoming

The Pedro Giraudo Tango Ensemble (Argentine tango)
New York, New York

Rosa Tatuata with Michela Musolino (Sicilian traditional music)
Clifton, New Jersey

Sugaray Rayford (blues)
Los Angeles, California

Taj Weekes (reggae)
St. Lucia by way of New York, New York

Tres en Punto (trío romántico)
Mission, Texas

The Western Flyers (western swing)
Burleson, Texas

The festival’s previously announced artists include:

Joanie Madden & Cherish the Ladies (Irish)
Yonkers, New York

Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper (bluegrass)
Charlestown, Indiana

Nava Persian Trio (Persian santour)
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Plena Es (bomba y plena)
Sunrise, Florida

Rare Essence (go-go)
Washington, D.C.

Sean Jones “Dizzy Spellz” feat. Brinae Ali (jazz, hip hop, and tap dance)
Baltimore, Maryland

Click here for extended artist bios, plus audio and video samples on our website.

Encore Performances on VPM

Every Saturday at 5:00pm, catch VPM broadcasts of favorite performances from the past 13 years of the Richmond Folk Festival, as well as the three years the city hosted the National Folk Festival (2005-07). Tune in to Richmond public radio VPM stations 107.3 FM & 93.1 FM for great musical memories. Add these shows to your calendar today:

Aug 28 Dale Ann Bradley
Sep 4 Lurie Bell, Andes Manta
Sept 11 Amargue Bachata Quintet with Andre Veloz
Sept 18 Ahava Raba with Yanky Lemmer
Sept 25 Sona Jobarteh
Oct 2 Maggie Ingram, Frank Newsome, The Paschall Brothers, Clinton Fearon

Interactive Scavenger Hunt

From now through Labor Day weekend, the Richmond Folk Festival is offering an interactive scavenger hunt. It takes about an hour or two to complete, and there are two routes from which to choose. The scavenger hunt presents opportunities to notice often-missed public art, learn about history and different cultures, and listen to relevant musical links along the way. Like the festival, both routes include hills, steps, and uneven ground. Those who successfully complete the festival’s scavenger hunt will be entered in drawings for prizes, with winners selected all summer long! The scavenger hunt runs through September 7.

For all details, please visit our website: https://www.richmondfolkfestival.org/scavhuntintro

More information on the festival and additional artists performing this year will follow soon. For
updates, visit www.richmondfolkfestival.org. #RVAFolkFest

To make a donation to the Richmond Folk Festival today, Text to Give! Text FOLK to 44321.

The Richmond Folk Festival is produced by Venture Richmond Events, in partnership with the
National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA), the Center for Cultural Vibrancy, the Children’s
Museum, and the City of Richmond.

The Richmond Folk Festival is sponsored by Altria, Dominion Energy, CoStar Group, CarMax,
NewMarket Corp., City of Richmond, WestRock, Brown Distributing, Community Foundation,
Amtrak, LIDL, Virginia Lottery, Atlantic Union Bank, NBC12 & CW Richmond, VPM,
SummitMedia, Hilton Downtown Richmond, ONE Casino + Resort, American Civil War Museum,
National Park Service, Virginia Humanities, JAMinc., Plan 9 Music, RMC Events, PD Brooks,
SmartBox, Virginia Housing, Wells Fargo, Winn Transportation, House of Hayes, TNT Auto
Rental, Federal Reserve Bank, and Virginia War Memorial

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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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