You might think it’s too hot for festivals, but, as happens to all of us from time to time, you’re wrong. There are SO MANY festivals, because Richmonders do not squander a summer.
Photo by: Photos By Clark
Some people are into green grass, some into pink. Myself, I prefer the bluest of blue. Preferably a deep sea blue that I can stare into while the twangs surround me. Hardywood gives me this opportunity for the second year running. Their Richmond Bluegrass Festival features many hours of bluegrass excitement with the Hot Seats, the Whiskey Rebellion, River City Band, East of Afton, and the Ragged Mountain String Band. That’s a lot of mountain references in one lineup!
- Saturday, August 22nd • 2:00 PM
- Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, 2408 Ownby Lane
- Free to attend!
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I love, love, love that cosplay exists. I mean, why NOT dress up as your favorite characters? We did it when we were kids, and why should kids get all the fun? They’re so SHORT and contribute SO LITTLE, jeez. Anyway, Comic Con is of course not just about cosplay-there’s a ton of collectibles, famous/important people from the fantasy/sci-fi/comic/horror/videogame worlds. Basically, if you have even a shred of geek in you, you’ll find something to love. Comic Con begins in July BUT ENDS IN AUGUST! Like magic!
- Friday, July 31st – Sunday, August 2nd • see site for times
- Greater Richmond Convention Center, 403 N. 3rd Street
- $75 for a three-day pass, $35 for Friday, $45 for Saturday, $40 for Sunday
Are you ready for some FOOTBALL!? No, seriously, it’s time for possibly the only football I can stomach: Electric football! If you’re not convinced, check out Nathan Cushing’s piece from 2013 and then continue. Basically, it’s a bunch of people who seriously love a thing who have found a place in which their seriously-loved thing is cherished by all. You should go experience it.
- Friday, July 31st – Sunday, August 2nd
- Four Points Sheraton, 4700 South Laburnum
- See site for schedule!
I enjoy any festival that allows me to gaze at the river without making me feel bad for not getting IN said river. And gaze I will at the huge canoes decked out in traditional Chinese dragon garb. This is a really neat thing to see, and I suggest you do so, as they compete for your favor! And also to see who is fastest!
- Saturday, August 1st • 8:45 AM – 3:00 PM
- Rocketts Landing, 5000 Old Osborne Turnpike
- Free to attend!
Loveland teams up with the Kickers to bring you a festival focused on a thing we in Richmond like to call “craft beer.” It’s a beverage said to be invented by a Richmonder named Mrs. Sally Faldonia, who was growing hops and barley in her Franklin Street backyard and one day decided “What would happen if I fermented these and made them into a beverage, one that Richmond could claim for its very own!” After a few weeks of selling the result, which she named “Beere,” a contraction of “Be here,” she had a very loyal customer, one Josiah Craft. After their wedding, the little beer brewery fell to Craft, who immediately became the most popular man in town. Legend has it that you can still hear Sally on a winter night, cheerfully whistling as she taps a keg and sends out Facebook invites to each release party of her favorite brew. (Sorry, Kickers–this festival will involve “Over 20 craft beers and ciders[…] such as Stone, Lagunitas, Bells, Founders, Champion, Smartmouth, Wild Wolf, DuClaw, Lost Rhino, SweetWater, Foothills, Anderson Valley and Boulevard as well as small batch specialty selections from Sam Adams and Sierra Nevada.” And they’ll buy the first one for ya! Don’t forget, also, that there is a game (against the Harrisburg City Islanders) to watch!)
- Saturday, August 1st • 5:30 PM
- Richmond City Stadium, 3201 Maplewood Avenue
- $12 for 1 ticket + 1 beer + 1 Kickers cup!
St. Elizabeth’s Church pulls out all the stops for their fifth go-round of jazz, food, families, fun, you know…the important things. Quickly becoming a Highland Park staple, the festival promises “summertime food and beverages,” which are literally the best foods and beverages, as well as traditional and contemporary jazz.
- Saturday, August 1st • 12:00 PM – 7:30 PM
- St. Elizabeth Catholic Church, 2nd Avenue & Victor Street
- $5 donation
If you’re from the Philippines, or if you’ve been to the Philippines and really miss the cuisine, or if you want to discover the Philippines but don’t have the green to get you there–this is your jam. Check out this list of foods that will be available: BBQ, pansit, lumpia, adobo, halo-halo, lechon, empanada, and leche flan. Dancing, singing, etc., provided you can hear over your own chewing.
- Friday, August 7th – Saturday, August 8th • 5:00 PM – 10:00 PM (Friday), 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM (Saturday)
- Our Lady of Lourdes Church, 8200 Woodman Drive
- Free to attend!
Jazz: if you get it, you get it. If you don’t, it’s like a mysterious puzzle that maybe you should think seriously about getting. Maymont is the place to be for serious jazz and roots music immersion. Actually you don’t have to be that serious about it, you can just wing it. Sources say you are destined to enjoy New Edition, Lauryn Hill, Macy Gray, Natalie Cole, and a ton more.
- Friday, August 7th – Saturday, August 8th • you’re going to want to look at the intense schedule
- Maymont, 1700 Hampton Street
This is it. This is where it all gets real. This is the festival which Richmonders look forward to with an uncanny mixture of excitement and dread. This is the one where you find yourself crouched on some steps, eating spring rolls from Thai Diner Too, ready to jam a piece of juicy watermelon into your mouth, before you go back into the fray to secure your spot at the Melon Stage, ready to view one of the 80 musicians who have braved the heat to entertain you. It’s magical, it’s sticky, it’s…the Watermelon Festival. And it can’t be stopped.
- Sunday, August 9th • I couldn’t find a start time online because the Watermelon Festival just seems to be there until it isn’t anymore, like Brigadoon
- Carytown–the entirety of it. Find parking wherever you can and start walking in that general direction until you see the gutters literally begin to run with watermelon juice.
- Free to attend!
Rejected names: RVA BarbeBrew, RVA BBBrew, RVA BBCuteRoastedPigs, BRBVQA, RVA Best Buds Quaffing (Delicious Ales), RVA Meatsweats, Rich-in-craft-beers-and-barbecue-mond. Just go mill about and consume meat and fermented hop juice like our middle-ages ancestors would want us to. Proceeds benefit Enrichmond Foundation, so we can have more cool festivals and Earth Day hijinx. UPDATE: Now that the 17th Street Farmers Market is, let’s just say it, being torn down, the RVA Burbequest will be held “adjacent to it.” Just head to that area and hope for the best.
- Sunday, August 16th • 12:00 – 5:00 PM
- ADJACENT TO 17th Street Farmers Market, 17th and Main Streets
- Free to attend!