January festivals: Richmond Jewish Food Festival, Freedom Classic, MLK

January is a tough month. The glow of the holidays has worn off, people head back to the grind, and the temperature plummets. Here are a few things to keep you out of the new year blues.

Photo by: Le Living and co

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Original — January 08, 2016

Harvest Ration New Vintage Release Party

A collaboration with Catoctin Creek Distilling Company, the Harvest Ration is promised to have less sweetness and more brandy than usual. Can you improve upon anything Blue Bee? It seems too good to be true. Bring your camp chairs and cornhole, enjoy folk music by the Whiskey Wells, bring your pets and your kids, even!

  • Saturday, January 16th • 12:00 – 7:00 PM
  • Blue Bee Cider, 212 W. 6th Street
  • Free to attend

Richmond Jewish Food Festival

Find your traditional Jewish and Israeli foods, including vegan and gluten free options. Handmade wares and grocery items are available for sale. The knishes and the specialty candy were my favorites last year. Free, pay only for your food.

  • Sunday, January 17th – Monday, January 18th • 11:30 AM – 7:30 PM
  • Weinstein Jewish Community Center, 5403 Monument Avenue
  • Free to attend, pay for what you eat!

Freedom Classic Festival

The annual matchup between Virginia’s two historically Black colleges comes with a days-long festival celebrating MLK and all the good stuff he did. It’s focused on mentoring, volunteering, stuff like that, but it is also a whole lot of fun, with drumline competitions, a gospel showcase, fine art sale, and, of course, the VUU vs. VSU basketball game.

  • Basketball game: Sunday, January 17th • 7:00 PM, see site for rest of schedule
  • Basketball game: Richmond Coliseum, 601 E. Leigh Street
  • $20 – $25 for the game

MLK, Jr. Day of Service

Make it a day on, not a day off. The Martin Luther King Junior federal holiday on Monday, January 18th is also a national day of service. There are nine community projects where you can sign up to volunteer and one DIY you can do at home, all coordinated by HandsOn Greater Richmond. A movie screening and discussion of Selma at the Byrd, is presented by HandsOn, the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities, and the University of Richmond’s Bonner Center for Civic Engagement for free at 3:00 PM on Sunday, January 17th (no advance registration required).

  • Monday, January 18th • Anytime you want!
  • Various places!
  • The cost of your time!

Afrikana Film Festival’s Evening with an Icon: Sonia Sanchez

We’re counting this as a festival, because it really is, just stretched over many dates and possibly many years? On January 23rd, the Afrikana Film Festival brings you the RVA premiere of BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez, a documentary about the groundbreaking educator and poet. They also bring you Sonia Sanchez herself, for a Q&A and meet-and-greet after the film! What! Neat!

  • Saturday, January 23rd • 7:00 PM
  • Grace Street Theatre, 934 W. Grace Street
  • $15 ($25 for 2) in advance, $20 at the door

Shiver in the River

Apparently 150 crazy people jumped in the James in January and 400 people participated in cleanups during the first year of this fund-raising event for Keep Virginia Beautiful. This year, they’re back for a second go-round, with cleanups, that icy plunge, a festival, and a 5K to benefit litter prevention, community outreach, education, recycling, and beautification. You can also express interest in volunteering as general event help or for the green team to monitor “eco-stations” and make sure that recycling, trash and composting are done right. Crazy people, sign up here.

  • Saturday, January 30th • 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Historic Tredegar, 500 Tredegar Street
  • Jump for free, run for $30 ($25 for kids), and raise a minimum of $75

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Sixth Annual Israeli Film Festival

It’s the season of film festivals at least! And here’s the coolest niche one we know of. Israeli films are up and coming, and you can see four films for $42 ($34 if you’re a member). Or, pay for the films one at a time if you hate saving money!

  • Thursday, January 7th and Sunday, January 10th • see site for schedule
  • Weinstein Jewish Community Center, 5403 Monument Avenue
  • $12 per film ($10 for members) or all four films for $42 ($34 for members)
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