James River Park manager Ralph White wanted to make something quaint and unique for Richmond to celebrate the summer solstice, so he encouraged people to come out to the Canal Walk, make a wish, light a candle and watch it float down the canal. He said he expected about 15 people but was very surprised and […]
James River Park manager Ralph White wanted to make something quaint and unique for Richmond to celebrate the summer solstice, so he encouraged people to come out to the Canal Walk, make a wish, light a candle and watch it float down the canal.
He said he expected about 15 people but was very surprised and happy to see about 50 welcome the solstice, including a handful of children up way past their bedtime. The candles were small votives taped down to a paper plate, and although many had trouble staying lit as they floated down the breezy canal from the Turning Basin, there were a couple that stayed lit all the way to the Floodwall, under the Interstate 95 Bridge.
The event began at 9 p.m. and lasted less than a half hour for most well-wishers, but the effort to chase down and collect the candles lasted until about 10:30. Two candles got past the fishing nets of the crack staff, leading Ralph White to ponder a midnight vigil at Great Shiplock Park.
There was a separate crowd gathering for a night at the Hat Factory and many walked by and wondered what the group was doing along the canal. Several marveled at the sentiment and this celebration may have sparked many young minds to consider the Canal Walk in a new light, just the way the rallies for the University of Richmond and Virginia Commonweath University basketball teams did — making use of the Canal Walk as a place to celebrate and giving it a purpose as a civic gathering place. I wrote about several ideas this past August for Richmond.com.
White would love to make this a new tradition on the canal, he said, and he has plenty of ideas to help make it better. Among them, vendors (drinks, ice cream, coffee, etc.), music, better candles, better “canal fishing nets,” etc., and welcomed suggestions. Please post them here.
UPDATE: I was able to recover a couple of shots, though the quality is not great. Although it was dark and tough to shoot good photos, the images were my main focus of the evening. I got about 10 useful and meaningful shots. However, due to my overzealous efficiency, I deleted all my good ones and was left with the one cell phone camera shot of my son, Mitchell, as he helped clean up the candles from the canal at the end of the event. I’m very sad and frustrated by this and if anyone has good photos, please share them on the James River News Hub facebook page. Thank you.