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PHOTOS: RVAHub Road Trip to Natural Chimneys Jousting Tournament

With the words, “Sir Knight of Possum Hollow! The rings are hung and the track is clear! Charge Sir Knight!” a horse carries a rider down an 80-yard track to attempt to catch three rings with a lance. 

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After dropping our only child at college we turned to the mountains and explored. Over the next week or so I’ll be sharing the sights that my wife (Page) and I captured. These won’t be in chronological order because that would make too much sense. The order can best be described as, “I want to edit these photos now”.

On Saturday went to Natural Chimney in Mt. Solon Virginia to check out a unique geological feature. The seven Natural Chimneys tower as much as 120 feet above the Shenandoah Valley. Viewed from one angle, the formations resemble enormous chimneys standing in bleak contrast to the greenery of the Valley. Take a few steps, though, and the chimneys are transformed into the massive turrets of a foreboding medieval castle.

 

 

We didn’t know about the Jousting Tournament hosted by the Natural Chimneys Jousting Club until we rolled up to the gate this past Saturday.

Natural Chimneys claims to be home to the nation’s oldest continuously held sporting event, the National Chimmneys Jousting Tournament. The first joust was held in 1821 and continues today. During the Civil War one of Stonewall Jackson’s generals, Turner Ashby, jousted. Talking with spectators we learned that one family was putting out their 5th generation of riders and 3-4 generations were common. If you google oldest continuous sporting event in the US you’ll be told the Kentucky Derby but it started in 1875 nearly 50 years after the first joust at Natural Chimneys.

This is not the jousting of medieval knights clashing against each other but rather with the words, “Sir Knight of Possum Hollow (or whatever moniker they go by)! The rings are hung and the track is clear! Charge Sir Knight!” a horse carries a rider down an 80-yard track to attempt to catch three rings with a lance.  The rings dangle from wooden arches that suspend the ring 6 feet 7 inches from the ground. Tournaments permit each rider three “charges” at a specified size ring to determine the winner. If two or more riders have a tie score, the ring size is reduced until a winner is determined. jousting clubs have “sets” of rings. They are graduated in size, the largest is 1 ¾”, then reducing in size by one-quarter inch increments to 1 ½”, 1 ¼”, 1″, ¾”, ½” and the smallest ¼”. The measurement is the inside diameter.

The arch with ring dangling down.

One of the larger but not largest rings.

Tournaments are divided into four classes; Novice, Amateur, Semi-Professional and Professional. Novice is where you’ll find the young knights and horses are led down the course. As you’d expect the speed picks up as you progress to Professional. Unfortunately, we only had time to catch the Novice and Professional rounds. That does mean we got to see the cutest and the quickest. The lances in the Novice group varied from custom-made to pool cue.

Concentration is key.

Unicorn face paint makes you do better. It’s scientifically proven.

Success.

This little one was not quite two years old. The loudest cheer we heard was when she got a ring on her last try.

There were three professional riders and their speed was impressive.













The event was a great gathering of a community that I knew nothing about. To learn more hit up National Jousting Association and Natural Chimneys Jousting Club.

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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.

Arts & Entertainment

Vendor Applications Open for Richmond Folk Festival

Want to get your arts, crafts, or food in front of thousands for 3 three days in a row? Apply now.

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What’s a Richmond Folk Festival without great food and crafts? Applications are now being accepted for both Food Vending (Due March 31) and for the Craft Marketplace (Due April 7). Spread the word!

FOOD VENDORS

We strive to bring the best in ethnic, regional and traditional foods to delight guests and showcase a wide variety of tempting foods to complement the spirit of the festival. From classic festival fare to exotic flavors from far-flung places around the globe, everyone is sure to find something to love. You’ll have a tough time deciding between Thai, German, Indian and much more. Download guidelines and applications here.

CRAFTS MARKETPLACE

The Marketplace features artisans selling handcrafted and traditional items. Subjects range from jewelry, specialty items, and original artwork. Download guidelines and applications here.

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We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

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Arts & Entertainment

RiverRock Announce Who Will Rock the River

Dominion Energy Riverrock, the nation’s premier outdoor sports and music festival, announced today the full list of music acts performing at this year’s festival

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Dominion Energy Riverrock, the nation’s premier outdoor sports and music festival, announced today the full list of music acts performing at this year’s festival. The 2023 lineup features national and regional talent taking the stage the weekend of May 19-21 as Dominion Energy Riverrock returns to Brown’s Island. The complete music and event schedule is now available at www.RiverrockRVA.com, and registration for participatory sporting events is open as well.

Dominion Energy Riverrock will open on Friday, May 19 with participatory sporting events, including the Belle Isle Blitz 5k-ish Trail Run and the MTB Time Trial ride. The fun continues Saturday with the Monsters of the James Fishing Tournament, James River Scramble (10kish), MTB Enduro ride, Kayak Boatercross, and SUP Cross. For the final day of the festival people can take part in the Bust the Banks Half Marathon or Down River Paddle. The Subaru Ultimate Air Dogs competition, Photo Contest, and Video Contest will take place throughout the weekend.

Kicking things off on stage at 6:30 p.m. Friday evening, May 19, will be The National Reserve, a beloved Brooklyn band whose music is a mix of R&B, New Orleans funk, rock, and soul. They will be followed by the Kitchen Dwellers, one of the festival’s headlining bands. The Montana quartet has amassed over five million streams and has been critically acclaimed nationally for their unique twist on bluegrass.

The lineup on Saturday, May 20 showcases several local Richmond artists. Willie DE starts the afternoon entertainment at 1:00 p.m. Flight Club then takes the stage at 2:00 p.m. with a mix of the music they grew up on, gritty blues, classic rock, and punk. Pharaoh Sistare brings back a style reminiscent of James Brown and Prince at 3:15 p.m and Erin & the Wildfire will treat festival goers to their brand of soul and indie-pop at 4:30 p.m. Sierra Hull will be the first headliner on Saturday. Hull made her Grand Ole Opry debut at age 10 and has continued to break records and earn accolades throughout the bluegrass community. She will take the stage at 6:15 p.m. followed by Neal Francis at 8:00 p.m. Francis’ new album Sentimental Garbage has him touring across the country showcasing his alternative indie hits. Sunday performances include Justin Golden, Cosmic Collective, and will wrap up with some high-octane Appalachian folk from 49 Winchester. All performances at Dominion Energy Riverrock are free and open to the public.

“We’re very excited about this year’s musical line up for Dominion Energy Riverrock,” said Stephen Lecky, Director of Events for Venture Richmond. “We feel that this year has a rich mix of not only local and national acts, but a variety of styles that are guaranteed to appeal to all music fans. We have no doubt that these artists will enhance the outdoor atmosphere along the James River and are sure to be a highlight of the festival.”

Dominion Energy Riverrock Music Lineup

Friday, May 19

Time – Band
6:30 p.m. The National Reserve
8:00 p.m. Kitchen Dwellers

Saturday, May 20

Time – Band
1:00 p.m. Willie DE
2:00 p.m. Flight Club
3:15 p.m. Pharaoh Sistare
4:30 p.m. Erin & the Wildfire
6:15 p.m. Sierra Hull
8:00 p.m. Neal Francis

Sunday, May 21

Time – Band
1:00 p.m. Justin Golden
2:20 p.m. Cosmic Collective
3:40 p.m. 49 Winchester

Dominion Energy Riverrock is open to the public and is free to all spectators. For event registration and further information about Dominion Energy Riverrock 2023, please visit www.riverrockrva.com.

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Arts & Entertainment

Weinstein JCC hosts 14th annual Israeli & Jewish Film Festival January 19-29

This popular film festival is dedicated to fostering an understanding of Israeli and Jewish culture as well as introducing viewers to Israel’s young but thriving film industry.

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The Weinstein JCC is set to host the 14th Annual Israeli & Jewish Film Festival from January 19-29, 2023, as part of the 2022-2023 Arts + Ideas Season. This popular film festival is dedicated to fostering an understanding of Israeli and Jewish culture as well as introducing viewers to Israel’s young but thriving film industry.

Leslie McGuigan, Director of Cultural Arts for Weinstein JCC, noted that the festival features films based upon various considerations such as awards and nominations, timely subject matter, and input from the film community. “In 2023, five films can be screened in person and two enjoyed virtually,” she said. The schedule of films with a brief synopsis and viewing times, along with information about purchasing tickets for the screenings, can be found here.

A highlight of the festival is the Jan. 22 screening of The Levys of Monticello, a documentary film directed and produced by Steven Pressman. The film focuses on the story of the Levy family’s 89-year ownership and preservation of Monticello and also tells a broader story about anti-Semitism that runs throughout the course of American history, right up to the present day. The film addresses the pivotal role that enslaved people played at Monticello, during both Thomas Jefferson’s and Uriah Levy’s years as owners. There will be a post-film discussion with filmmaker Steven Pressman, who will be joined by Phyllis K. Leffler, Emerita Professor in the Department of History at the University of Virginia.

IN PERSON SCREENINGS

Film: Fiddler’s Journey to the Big Screen

  • Date: Thurs., Jan. 19 at 6pm [dinner reception and film screening]
  • Location: Weinstein JCC, 5403 Monument Ave.
  • Price: $30 member/$35 nonmember includes pre-show dinner reception

Film: Perfect Strangers

  • Date: Sat., Jan. 21 at 7:30pm
  • Location: Weinstein JCC, 5403 Monument Ave.
  • Price: $10 member/$12 nonmember

Film: The Levys of Monticello

  • Date: Sun., Jan. 22 at 2pm
  • Location: Virginia Museum of History and Culture 428 N. Arthur Ashe Boulevard
  • Price: $10 Weinstein JCC and VMHC member/ $12 nonmember

Film: Cinema Sabaya

  • Date: Tues., Jan. 24 at 6:30pm
  • Location: The Byrd Theatre, 2908 W. Cary St.
  • Price: $10 member/$12 nonmember

Film: Valiant Hearts (in partnership with the Virginia Holocaust Museum)

  • Date: Sun., Jan. 29 at 2pm
  • Location: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, 200 N. Arthur Ashe Boulevard
  • Price: $10 Weinstein JCC, VHM and VMFA member/$12 nonmember

VIRTUAL SCREENINGS

Film: Berenshtein

  • Film Viewing Window: Jan. 19-29
  • Price per household: $10 member/$12 nonmember

Film: America

  • Film Viewing Window: Jan. 19-29
  • Price per household: $10 member/$12 nonmember

For more information about Arts + Ideas programs and to purchase subscription or individual tickets, click here or contact Leslie McGuigan, [email protected].

Will you help support independent, local journalism?

We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

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