September Festivals: The State Fair of Virginia

This is the time of year when festivals get a little more serious: oysters, beer, barbecue…you’ve gotta put some meat on those bones. Winter is a’comin’.

State Fair of Virginia

IT’S STATE FAIR TIME. This year: deep-fried butter. Next year: deep-fried water. 2017: deep-fried heritage not hate. 2018: deep-fried quinoa. 2019: deep-fried fry oil. 2020: kale smoothies for everyone!

  • Friday, September 25th – Sunday, October 4th • see site for hours
  • Meadow Event Park, 13191 Dawn Boulevard, Doswell
  • $9 – $15 (“walkaround” passes, passes that include rides, passes that include cholesterol medicine, etc.)

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Tattoo Arts and Film Festival

If I worked at the VMFA, I’d kick back in my seat, swing my legs up onto my desk, place my hands behind my head, and say, “Nailed it,” to whomever was sitting on the other side of my desk. Because this series of events looks frigging rad–that is, if you find tattoos, Japan, movies, taiko drums, and stories interesting. (Also, if you do, may we hang?) Four films, including Utamaro and his Five Women (Mizoguchi, 1946) and Eastern Promises (Cronenberg, 2007); the River City Taiko Drummers (taiko drumming is, no joke, one of my favorite things to watch); Secretly Y’all, talks and chats and gallery tours and even more cool things.

  • Friday, September 4th – Saturday, September 5th • see site for schedule
  • Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, 200 N. Boulevard
  • Much of it is free, some of the things cost monies (like the films), you can get a festival pass for $25

St. James Armenian Food Festival

One thing I’ve figured out about our food festivals here is that they have a disproportionate number of hard-to-get URLs (way to nab before the other ones all over the world, theoretically, did!). The other thing is that some people I trust swear that this one is the best. Not too crowded, reasonable prices, fantastic food (lahmajoon and bulgur salad are favorites in my house), and those cookies! Plus, last time I stopped in at a booth and learned a whole lot about Armenian history! Success all around!

  • Friday, September 11th – Sunday, September 13th • see site for times
  • St. James Armenian Church, 834 Pepper Avenue
  • Prices a la carte!

South African Food and Wine Festival

See what I mean? Really great URL nabbing, South African Food and Wine Festival! Or should I say “” Food from this region cannot be described in just a couple of words, unless those two words are “really eclectic.” You got your Dutch influences, your Indian influences, your French influences…there’s almost certainly something for everyone. Oh, and wine. That’s certainly something for a lot of people.

  • Saturday, September 12th – Sunday, September 13th • 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Grayhaven Winery, 4675 E. Gray Fox Circle, Gum Spring
  • $20 – $25, kids get in free!

Wine & Beer Classic at Maymont

The Dooley Noted Society celebrates the fact that they have the best society name in town (and also they celebrate the end of summer, which I can’t figure out why anyone would celebrate). Beers and wines, bourbons and ‘shines, all while the cows and goats look on. This year, it begins with a three-mile fun run that begins at Maymont and goes into Carytown and back–free to festival ticketholders.

  • Friday, September 11th • 7:30 – 10:30 PM
  • Maymont, Children’s Farm Lawn, 1700 Hampton Street
  • $30 with various discounts available

PrideFest 2015

Hopefully Browns Island won’t decide it goes against its religion to do its chosen job, which is to be ground upon which fun festivals happen. PrideFest is all about love and togetherness and, this year, a whole lotta victory. It even has its own Youth Pride Village, which sounds like a good place for LBGTQ kids to hang, or really for anyone to hang.

  • Saturday, September 12th • 12:00 – 8:00 PM
  • Browns Island
  • Free!

RVA Peace Festival

No matter your faith, your denomination, your race, your culture, or your creed, the peace festival would like you to come and do a bunch of peace-y things! If peace is your vibe (and please, let it be your vibe, because the alternative is just troubling), this festival may be your bag. Expect multicultural exhibitions and information from a lot of different faiths.

  • Saturday, September 12th • 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • 7th St. Christian Church, 4101 Grove Avenue
  • Free!

11th Annual Recovery Fest / 6th Annual State Championship BBQ Cookoff

The McShin Foundation, which has been helping addicts turn their lives around for more than a decade, is also committed to excellent barbecue (and celebrating triumph over addiction). They’ve turned this festival into one that’s about “Smokin’ meat, not drugs,” which I find charming. Live music by Evan Barlow, an award presentation to Henrico County Sheriff Mike Wade, and possible addresses by politicians, who may or may not amuse you by later covering themselves in sauce. If you’ve got a loved one that’s suffered from addiction (or you have yourself), you know it’s no joke at all. Here’s a good way to give back and encourage. Aaaaaaand…a good way to win actual cash in a cornhole contest.

  • Saturday, September 12th • 12:00 – 5:00 PM
  • Hatcher Memorial Baptist Church, 2300 Dumbarton Road
  • Free to attend!

Shockoe on the Half-Shell

Shockoe on the half-shell! Shockoe power! Do your oyster thing at 17th Street Farmers Market…but will it be the new improved? Or the temporary hosting spot in the adjacent parking lot? Who can know? The Ninja Shockoes can. They’ll be serving up oysters in every possible way they can think of, which means that at least one RVANews staffer will definitely be there, eating more oysters than you could have believed she could fit in her body. Believe us, we’ve seen it.

  • Sunday, September 13th • 12:00 – 5:00 PM
  • 17th Street Farmers Market, 100 N. 17th Street
  • Free to attend!

Photo by: sermarr erGuiri

St. Benedict’s Oktoberfest

If you like a ton of people milling about, sitting at long tables, drinking many beers, eating giant pretzels, and listening to accordions, this is for you. If you live in the Museum District and you like parking your car near your house, get over it.

  • Friday, September 18th – Sunday, September 20th • see site for times
  • St. Benedict’s Catholic Church, 300 N. Sheppard Street
  • Free to attend (drink tickets cost ya)

Know Good Beer

You know what they say. No good beer, no peace. Know good beer, know peace. This one-day fest on Browns Island involves the musical stylings of Blitzen Trapper, Those Darlins, and Sleepwalkers, and the alcoholic stylings of four billion breweries. Guys, what if every business just became a brewery instead of whatever other useless services and/or goods we all provide? It’s what the people want! Proceeds benefit WNRN.

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Susan Howson

Susan Howson is managing editor for this very website. She writes THE BEST bios.

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