Posts Tagged ‘Food’

This weekend is a busy weekend for holiday activities in the Richmond area.  You are probably best off doing the scheduled activities this weekend and saving the other ongoing favorites for during the week.  Just my humble opinion!  One of my family’s favorite activities, the James River Parade of Lights, will be held Saturday night, December 11, at 6pm.  The 18th annual parade begins in Richmond up by Libby Park and travels along the James River through Henrico and Chesterfield, ending at Henricus Historical Park.  There are several viewing sites along the route where you can find various fun activities to pass the time.  There are 5 main viewing sites:


Libby Hill Park (Corner of 28th and Franklin St)- 
Entertainment begins at 4:30 p.m.  There will be holiday music, hot cider and cocoa, hot dogs, roasting marshmallows, bonfire and a big count down to the lighting of the boats.  The actual parade doesn’t start until 6pm.

Intermediate Terminal Dock/Rockett’s Landing (Dock & Water St.)- You can also view the parade here at 6pm.


Osborne Park and Boat Landing – Entertainment begins at 5:30 and will include a bonfire, fire dancers (I have no idea what this is, but it sounds awesome), Jonathan Austin Juggling and Magic (if you have kids, you know him, he’s great and the kids love him), holiday music, and concessions.  Santa will also be there giving glow bracelets to the kids.  The parade is expected to arrive here between 7pm and 7:30pm. 


Dutch Gap Boat Landing – (441 Coxendale Rd) There are no planned activities at this location that I could find so if you are looking for a quick view this might be the place to go.  The parade is expected here between 7:30 and 7:45pm.  

Henricus Historical Park (251 Henricus Park Rd) – Entertainment here begins at 5:30pm with Zebo the Clown, face painting, arts & crafts for the kids, music and concessions.  There will also be complimentary cider and cookies. You can tour the 1611 Citie of Henricus and talk with the settlers about their lives and holidays in the 17th century.   The parade is expected here between 7:45 – 8:00 p.m.


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If you have already had your fill of apple pie, homemade apple sauce, Brunswick stew, and October beer this Fall, (unlikely, I know, but stay with me here), this Saturday, October 16 from 12-6pm is the Richmond Oystoberfest in Ginter Park.  There will be plenty of oysters, brats (no, not “brats,” we’re talking sausages here), and beer (see, I told you to stay with me, you still get beer) to feast on. You can get your oysters fried, grilled, or raw, however you like them.  There will be other grilled foods and refreshments available as well (none of which are known aphrodisiacs, sorry).


There will also be live entertainment, of course, from 12:30 to about 5pm.  You can find the lineup posted here.  Children and pets are welcome at this festival.  There will be a children’s area with slides, moonbounces, and the usual festival activities to keep them occupied.  There will not be a pet fun area so be sure to keep them on a leash.  Prizes will be raffled off periodically all day, including a brand new iPad. 


The festival will be held, rain or shine, at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, 3602 Hawthorne Ave.  You can find a map and directions here.  This is smack in the middle of historic Ginter Park, which is beautiful if you have never been there. This neighborhood was Richmond’s first suburb, connected to downtown by the electric trolley line.  Planned and developed by Lewis W. Ginter, Ginter Park was supposed to be a way that men could return to the “country” after work every day.  Today, Ginter Park features a variety of architectural styles ranging from smaller bungalows to large Colonial Revival mansions. Many of those can be found in the heart of Ginter Park on the historic Seminary Avenue.   

Admission to the festival is free, although there are additional fees for food and drinks.  Because all proceeds go to benefit St. Thomas Church, a $2 donation is suggested, but not required. 

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Fall is definitely in the air.  The weather has turned chilly, announcers at high school football games can be heard for miles on Friday nights, and the baseball playoffs are on TV.  All of this can only mean one thing.  Its time for the Richmond Folk Festival!  The Folk Festival is a beloved Richmond tradition and, at approximately 200,000 visitors every year, Central Virginia’s largest festival.  Surprisingly, this is only the third year for our Richmond Festival.  Prior to that the International Folk Festival was here.  Despite its short tenure, the Folk Festival has become a favorite in this region and has quickly made itself into a Richmond tradition.  This year the Festival starts Friday, October 8 and runs through Sunday, October 10.

The main focus of the Folk Festival is, of course, the music.  This year the Festival promises 20+ new performers.  There are seven stages and performances do overlap so be sure to map out your favorites ahead of time to avoid missing anyone. You can get information on the different performers and sample their music here.  A full schedule of events is available here.  Types of music will vary from Salsa & Chicago Blues to Andean, Haitian, and Gospel.  With all that music, you’d be crazy to not get out there and dance, at least a little.  Be sure to visit the dance pavilion and let loose.

The Folk Festival is definitely family friendly so don’t leave the kids at home.  Genworth is sponsoring a children’s area where the kids can do arts & crafts, make a sculpture, and see exotic birds.  There will also be vintage games and demonstrations.  Most of these activities are run/organized by the Children’s Museum so they will be top-notch.  There will also be music in this area and the best part of all, a harmonica giveaway (they only have 200 to give, so get there early).

During the festival, don’t miss the Documentary Film Series that will be showing at the Civil War Visitors Center.  Click here for a schedule of films slated to play.

Of course this is a Richmond festival so there will be plenty of food.  If you are all sugared out from the State Fair, be sure to check out some of the more unique dishes offered like alligator bites.  There will also be beer and this year you will be able to drink everywhere at the festival, so enjoy (responsibly of course)!

The marketplace is where you will find all the authentic crafts and artisan demonstrations.  Remember, crafts cost extra so bring your wallet.  It’s never too early for holiday shopping.

The Festival is large so be sure to study a map and bring it with you for your visit.  It is located downtown between 7th street, 2nd street, Byrd street, and the American Civil War Center at Tredegar (they are offering free admission on Saturday and Sunday) with spillover onto Brown’s Island.  You can see a full map here.  There is also a pocket map available and if technology is your thing, they even have an iPhone app this year.

There are multiple ways to coordinate travel to the event. There will be parking available in the surrounding parking garages (for around a $5 fee).  However, if you wish to avoid the traffic crowds, you can take advantage of  free parking and shuttle service leaving from The Diamond and Spring Rock Green on Midlothian Turnpike..

The Festival will go on rain or shine.  The bad weather kept the attendance down to approximately 160,000 last year so most people will not be deterred by the weather.  There are four tented stages so if it does rain (and come on, how likely is that these days) head over to the tented areas to continue enjoying the music.  Hours for the festival are:  Friday, Oct. 8:  6-10:30pm; Saturday Oct. 9: 12-10:30pm; and Sunday, October 10: 12-6pm.  No pets are allowed.

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Well, we finally got rain after one of the worst water shortages in recent history so that can only mean one thing.  Its time for the Virginia State Fair.  The Fair is a guarantee every year for a good rain storm.  This year the fair runs until October 3rd so there is still time to enjoy it.  This is the second year the Fair is being held at Meadow Event Park next to Kings Dominion. You can find directions and maps here.

The Fair is huge and there is a Map and Daily Guide with show times  provided.  Make sure you take one so you can get around to see everything.  Each area also has a different “theme” of food provided — another great reason to make sure you visit every area!

In the “Livestock Loop” you can see farm animals, tractors, farm equipment and even lumberjacks.  Here you can also  fill up on fried catfish, barbecue, kettle corn, and sno cones.

Next you can head over to the “Media General Trail” where in addition to some shopping, you can watch magic shows and musicians on the theater stage.  If you are still hungry this is where you are going to find pizza and dippin dots (what the heck are those things anyway?).

You can see the racing pigs and high-flying K-9s at the “South Festival Loop.”  Make sure you leave some room for funnel cakes, fried ice cream, gourmet soups, chinese food, and more.

The “North Festival Loop” has the best food in my opinion.  Here you will find burgers, crab cakes, shrimp creole, cinnamon buns, and hot apple dumplings.  While you are stuffing your face (or at least I was) you can see the firefighter training show and check out the quilt show and some of the craft vendors.

What would a fair be without scary looking rides that your kids cry and scream for?  You’ll find the rides at the “Kidway and Midway.”  All the classic rides are there including the Himalaya (definitely do this ride BEFORE you eat), Scrambler, Tea cups, Ferris wheel, and the Carousel. You will also find a circus show and millions of ways to spend money and hopefully win stuffed animals to please those crying kids.

The main shows are held at the Horse Complex and Festival Stage.  In addition to nightly concerts, you will also find bull riding, rodeos, horse shows, and other animal shows. You can find the daily concert schedule here.  Concerts are included in your general admission.  There are no seats so make sure to bring blankets or chairs to sit on or you can rent a folding chair for $5.

Other activities you can see daily at the Fair include cow milking, soap making, violin making, masters of the chainsaw, and pumpkin carving.

The fair is open daily at 10am, although most of the shows, events, and activities don’t open until 11am.  Tonight the fair is open to 1am, Saturday until midnight, and Sunday until 10pm.  Admission is usually the most confusing part of the Fair, so I’ll do my best to explain.  General admission fees range from $10-$15 per person.  Rides are not included with general admission.  Each ride requires a specific number of tickets (a few cost money at the ride).  Tickets needed for rides range from 3-6 tickets per ride.  You can find the list of tickets needed here.  Tickets cost $1 each or $20 for 25.  There are supposedly coupons floating around out there at McDonalds that will give you 30 tickets for $20.  You can also purchase a combo ticket which will give you admission and 40 ride tickets for $30.  This is probably your best bet if you plan on riding a lot of rides.  In case I did a terrible job explaining that, you can get ticket information and prices here.

Don’t be dissuaded by the fact that this is the last weekend.  There is still plenty of time to enjoy the State Fair.

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It may be Fall, but the festivals continue.  In fact, Richmond has their own Fall Festival season, much like we have our Spring Festival Season.  It really started last week (I’m so sorry I missed it!) with the Armenian Food Festival and others.  Hopefully you got out to enjoy some of them.  It continues this weekend with several more festivals and it is going to continue throughout October so keep an open stomach!!  Tomorrow, Saturday, from 10am-5pm is the 19th annual 43rd Street Festival of the Arts.  This Festival is going to take you South of the River to the beautiful and historical Forest Hill neighborhood.  The intersection of 43rd Street and Forest Hill Avenue to be exact.

The focus of this Festival is art — it features about 65 of the Richmond region’s finest artisans and their crafts. Don’t worry, there will also be local musicians, including Susan Greenbaum, Blue Line Hwy, OminOtagO, Bluz Catz and Rachel Leyco,  and of course, plenty of festival food.  The festival is also for a good cause of course, with funds going to help the  Freedom House, a local homeless shelter.

Admission to the festival is free, but food and any arts and crafts purchases will cost money so, as I always say, don’t leave your wallet at home.  The weather this weekend (unlike the past couple of days) is supposed to be beautiful and autumn-like so this is a great time to get out and explore some of Richmond’s Fall Festivals.  Make sure to put this one your list.

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Today I went to the grocery store and they had pumpkins out all ready!  I think it’s just wrong to be selling pumpkins when  it’s still 80 degrees but Fall is coming and we can’t stop it.  What that really means is that I’m running out of time to write about all the awesome summer activities there are in Richmond.  This past weekend,  one of those traditional activities began, the Chesterfield County Fair.

The first Chesterfield County fair was held in 1911 and it has been held every year since, except for 2 years during WWII.  It came about because local farmers wanted a place to get together, see each other, and display what they had raised that year.  The fair was held at the Chesterfield County courthouse until 1987.  It moved to the airport in 1988 before it landed at what is now the Chesterfield County fairgrounds in 1989.  The fair began as a 2-day event and slowly grew to its 9-day length today.

Some of the more nostalgic activities scheduled include several seed-spitting contests, a hot dog eating contest, a sack race, and horseshoe tournaments.  There are also daily activities including barrel trains rides, a chain saw artist, antique tractor display, balloon sculptures, clowns, model train displays, pony rides, and more.  You can always expect to see animals at the fair.  This year there will be a petting farm, chickens, pigeons, ponies, camel rides and more.  One new show for this year is the Star Family Circus.  Circus performances will include acrobats, performing dogs, jugglers, and crazy motorcycle riders in a metal cage (think Barnum & Bailey). There will also be live music performances at the grandstand every day.

Finally don’t forget to stop by the Farm Crop exhibit to see the largest pumpkin, watermelon, and sunflower among other things.  If you have more of a sweet tooth (like me) then stop by the food exhibits to see the cakes, cookies, and pies.  There are also exhibits for arts & crafts, photography, flowers, and quilts.

Then there are the rides.  All those carnival rides you hate to love, the games, and plenty of vendors selling cotton candy and funnel cakes.  The rides are an extra cost at around $3-$5.  This can get pricey so look into the $20 for unlimited rides option.  That might be more cost effective depending on how many rides are there this year and how much you want to ride them.

This year the Fair runs from August 27 to September 4.  The hours are Monday-Friday 4-11pm, Saturday 11am-11pm, and Sunday 1-11pm.  Admission is reasonably priced at $7 for Adults, $3 for kids ages 6-12 are $3, and free admission for kids 5 and under. Go out and enjoy some home grown fun!

(Thanks to Richmond.com for the great pics!)

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Don’t get too excited Richmonders, I’m not talking about pet dogs, just hot dogs.  I’m almost embarrassed to say I didn’t know this place existed until about a month ago when I was dragged there for lunch with some co-workers.  Hot dogs for lunch?  My mind strayed to a recent episode of “How Its Made” but I’m adventurous so I tagged along.  We went to the original location in Shockoe (there is now one in the Fan as well).  Its located at 1316 East Cary Street, not too far from the Tobacco Company.  I was expecting hotdogs, ketchup, buns, and paper trays — boy was I surprised.

These are not your average backyard hotdogs.  The menu takes you on a trip through American culture with the Chicago Dog (mustard, onions, relish, pickle, tomato slices, peppers, poppy seed bun), Coney Island Dog (chili, mustard, onions, cheese), Boston Dog (sauerkraut, bacon, relish), Carolina Dog (Pork bbq and cole slaw), Miami Dog (homemade salsa, cheddar cheese), and Santa Fe Dog (homemade salsa, cheese, jalapenos, guacamole, and tortilla chips).  Don’t worry, there is more, but I didn’t want to torture your taste buds.  The corn dog nuggets (what I ordered) were fantastic and should definitely be considered when you look at the menu.  In summary, be prepared for a few strange looks if you order a plain hot dog!

There are also sandwiches, burgers, chicken, etc for the more cautious diner, but whatever you do, don’t pass on the french fries and/or onion rings.  You will definitely be missing out. If meat isn’t your thing, don’t stop reading yet, there are vegetarian and vegan options available on the menu as well.  Oh, and of course, what is a hot dog without beer?  There is a full bar at both locations.

If you stick with the hot dogs, prices are about $4 with a couple extra dollars for fries or rings.  Servings are large so the prices aren’t bad.  This place is casual, affordable, family friendly, and has a great atmosphere.   But remember, you are at a hot dog  joint.  This is not 4-star dining.  Sports and news are playing on the TV and loud music is playing.  The kitchen is open and they cook the food right in front of you.  At lunch time (when I arrived) it is crowded, loud, and the lines can be out onto the sidewalk.  But take that as evidence of the great experience inside.  I’ve read my fair share of reviews that complain about the service, but I have to say I was pleasantly surprised.  I arrived at the height of the lunch rush with 10 other people, no reservation, and a 30 minute time limit.  After they realized we weren’t joking, they had us seated, fed, paid, and back out the door in 30 minutes flat.  I was impressed.

They open daily at 11am and close at midnight.  On weekends (Fri-Sat) they are open until 3am, perfect for a late night snack and beer at the bar.  The Shockoe location has already taken off and has expanded into the basement space with extra seating, a small game room, and sports bar.  The Fan location is located at 1309 W. Main St, close to the Monroe Park campus.  It has live music, game room, outdoor patio, and full bar.  I wish I could give you a link to their website, but I was shocked to find out they didn’t have one.  To be as popular as they are, with no Internet presence?  It’s almost unheard of and just goes to show how good the food and experience are.  Don’t be scared off by stories about bad service.  Some of the best places in Richmond (Mama Zu’s, Kuba Kuba, Carytown Burgers and Fries) have been known to suffer from service issues, but the food is still great.  Don’t confuse this place with the Jefferson and you’ll be fine.  Go hungry!

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