Posts Tagged ‘West End’

In case you haven’t seen this week’s weather, the 100 degree days are back.  Air conditioners are collapsing under the stress everywhere and forget the lawn and flowers you worked so hard on in the Spring.  While a trip to Alaska might not be in your budget, indoor ice skating surely is.  There are 2 indoor ice skating rinks in the Richmond area, Skatenation Plus in the Short Pump area and Richmond Ice Zone in Midlothian. 

Both ice rinks have public skate times, usually every day.  There is usually a public skate around lunch time and another in the evening after work.  You can get the schedule for both rinks here.  You are looking at about $10/person for admission and skate rentals.  However, Skatenation has been doing a lot of public free skates lately with the hot weather (usually when its 100 degrees or hotter).  You can find out about these deals and more on their Facebook page.  If you do decide to attend a free skate (and lets face it in this economy you may have no other choice) just remember to get there early.  Hundreds of people show up to these and rentals go fast.  Skatenation also has $10 all you can play and skate on Friday and Saturday nights throughout the summer.  Your $10 includes skate admission, rentals, and laser tag.   

Don’t worry if you have little ones that haven’t skated before.  They have big  buckets that the kids (ok, and you) can lean on as they skate around the rink.  My kids love this because they can let go of the wall and really get out there. 

 You can get food and drinks at both rinks for additional cost.  Skatenation Plus has a bunch of other activities available if ice skating isn’t your thing including an arcade, indoor laser tag, and a climbing wall.  Those have extra costs as well. 

It is actually pretty cold inside the rinks, so pull those jeans out of storage and enjoy the cool air, at least for a couple of hours!  Try to stay cool!


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There are a lot of great early celebrations today, but I rarely get to feature Powhatan so I chose their celebration for today. Most importantly, there is still plenty of time for more celebration on the 4th. Who doesn’t love a weekend of fireworks anyway?

Powhatan Independance Day Celebration & Fireworks

The Powhatan Independence Day Celebration is sponsored by the Hugenot Fire Department. It is held at the Flat Rock at the Gits Farm located at 2693 Rocky Oak Road just off US Route 60. There will be plenty of the traditional festival fare: live music, kid’s activities, facepainting, food, and a bounce house. The bands will include Union Pacific (classic rock)and Neon Moon Band (country). Food will be provided by Gregory’s Grill, Turner’s BBQ, Papa Johns and Hot Diggity Dog Wagon and Cherry Hill Ice Cream.

There will also be some unique activities including a mechanical bull, classic car and fire engine show, and tons of firefighters. This is a fundraising event, so there is an admission cost. The cost will be $15/car load $10/car load with a canned food donation. I’m overlooking the cost because it is a good cause and I’m a sucker for fundraisers. The gates open at 5 p.m. and the main event, the fireworks start at dusk.

I apologize for the lack of photos, but I’m blogging on the go this weekend!!

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It’s finally here.  The festival your taste buds have been waiting for.  The Greek Festival starts tomorrow, June 3rd and runs through Sunday, June 6.  According to many Richmonders (all of you included) it has become a cherished Richmond tradition. The festival started 34 years ago as a way for the small church to supplement its budget.  It is now so big that most of the money goes to charities. 

Not surprisingly, there will be more than food at the festival.  Achilleas will provide live music and the Byzantio Hellenic Dance Troupe will demonstrate a sampling of the more than 200 Greek dances.  There will be lecture tours of the Sanctuary every half hour.  And Don’t forget the shopping!  There will also be plenty of vendors  in the “Agora” or Greek market.  You can expect to find Greek jewelry, leather, knick-knacks, videos, music, embroideries and rugs, t-shirts and other clothing, folk art, and icons.  

Ok, now that we have that out of the way, lets get to the food.  There are 2 ways to get food at the festival.  First, you can visit the festival and purchase food from different vendors to eat there.  You can expect to find everything from Souvlaki and Gyros to Calamari and Greek pastries.  The prices range from $1.50-$10.  There is also wine for purchase (by the glass or bottle), soft drinks, and water. 

If you don’t have time to linger at the festival or you are looking for something more substantial, try out the drive-thru.  There are 4 different drive-thru meals that include plenty of extras for $14.  If you aren’t looking for a full meal, you can also order just gyros, Greek salads, or Greek pastries.  Prices on those range from $3 to $10.  There is an drive-thru order form available here.  The festival accepts all credit cards both at the festival and in the drive-thru. 

The festival is held at Saints Constantine and Helen’s Greek Orthodox Cathedral on Malvern Ave in the near West end (not too far outside of Carytown).  The drive-thru entrance is located at Cary St. and Antrim Ave.  The festival runs Thursday through Sunday:

Thursday June 3: 11:00am – 9:30pm
Friday June 4: 11:00am – 10:00pm
Saturday June 5: 11:00am – 10:00pm
Sunday June 6: 12:00pm – 7:00pm

The drive thru is open during the festival hours until dusk.  Be careful going around lunchtime on Thursday and Friday.  Many people working downtown make the trek out for lunch and some of the larger businesses place large advance drive-thru orders.  Just plan to go before or after normal lunch times.   If you are too nervous to go because you aren’t sure about the food, or even how to pronounce things to order, there is a Festival Guide that will give you all the information you need to act like a regular. 

As if all of that isn’t enough, there will be 2 raffles this year.  One for a $1500 cash prize and the other for 2 roundtrip tickets to Athens, Greece so you can enjoy all the Greek Food you can eat!  I hope everyone gets a chance to get out and enjoy this wonderful Richmond tradition!

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I’m embarrassed to say that I did not know about the Lebanese Food Festival until all of you started making a point of it.  Maybe that is because back in the day Richmonder’s never left the city and definitely did not drive out to Short Pump because it didn’t exist.  Regardless, this very popular festival is now in its 26th year.  The festival started yesterday afternoon and runs through Sunday, May 15th. The festival usually gets about 20,000 visitors by the end of its three days and is the largest annual food festival in the West end.

If you are wondering what exactly Lebanese food is, think Middle Eastern food like stuffed grape leaves, hummus, kabobs, meat & spinich pies, baklava and more.  There will be tons of pastries and other desserts as well.  There are also vegetarian dishes including falafel, homus bi tahini, tabouli, baba ghanoush, and more.  If you have no idea what I just said, just trust us all when we say the food is delicious!!  Don’t worry about drinks, there will be plenty of Lebanese wine and beer to wash everything down.  Volunteers have been preparing these foods since February, but many of them will be prepared right in front of you.  You can dine ala carte outside in the covered pavilion or enjoy a sit-down dinner served inside (with air-conditioning).  You can even purchase complete dinners, boxed lunches, or fax/call in a take out order.  You can see the entire menu and prices here.         

In addition to the delicious food, there will, of course, be plenty of Lebanese culture.  At least twelve traditional Lebanese dances will be performed in addition to other folk dancing and lots of live music.  The Church campus is very large and includes a kid’s playground and shaded wooded areas.  The event is definitely family friendly, although I know I could never get my kids to sample the food. 

The Festival at held at St. Anthony Maronite Catholic Church, located at 4611 Sadler Rd., Glen Allen, VA, 23060.  Parking is free.  I hesitate to say the event is free, because the food costs money and would you really be going to skip the food?  But, there is no admission fee so, if you are going purely for the culture, you can leave your wallet at home (I wouldn’t recommend that, once you smell the food you probably won’t be able to resist).  There are a ton of activities going on in the city this weekend, but you definitely don’t want to miss this one.

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It wouldn’t be summer in Richmond without outdoor concerts and most of them start this week.  One of the most popular series is Innsbrook After Hours.  These concerts offer music by famous bands (for the most part), outside on the lawn, with a family friendly atmosphere.  All concerts are held at the Snagajob.com pavilion at Innsbrook and the schedule starts on Wednesday, May 5th.

This year there are some pretty good bands on the schedule including Counting Crows, Chicago, Barenaked Ladies, and Heart.  You can see the whole Schedule here.    

There are two seating areas available.  The “Gold Circle” area is a roped off seating area of 400-600 seats (depending on how they set it up) close to the stage.  There are no assigned seats, the ticket just guarantees you’ll get into that area.  In this area everyone ages 2 years and up needs a ticket.  The other option is sitting on the lawn.  Again, no spaces are assigned, its first come first serve.  You can bring blankets and/or lawn chairs, but no outside food or drinks (so no baskets, coolers, or anything else you would carry food in).  If you plan on picnicking, you’ll have to buy your food once you get in.  Alcohol is sold inside as well so don’t plan on bringing that either.  Although you will be sitting outside, no pets are allowed.  Tip:  Concerts are held rain or shine and the lawn is uncovered, so keep your eye on the weather report — there are no refunds.   

Ticket prices are fairly reasonable.  General admission tickets (lawn seating) range from $12.50-$27.00 in advance and $15.00-$35.00 at the gate.  Kids 10 years and younger do not need tickets to sit on the lawn.  Gold Circle tickets range from $30.00-$50.00.  Remember, kids ages 2 years and up DO need a ticket to sit in this area.  Tip:  These concerts rarely sell out and tickets are available to buy at the door.  Sometimes its worth it to wait and buy at the door.  That way you know the weather for sure and you avoid the service charges.  If you do want to buy tickets in advance, you can purchase them here

Gates for all concerts open at 6pm.  There is usually an opening act at 6:30 and the main act at 8pm.  Most of the concerts are on Wednesdays and Sundays.  Although this is definitely a family friendly event, an 8pm concert on a school night might not work for you, so be sure to check the date of the concert.  Parking for the most part is free, although you can pay $3 to get a spot up front.  Innsbrook does not allow tailgating so don’t plan on eating by the car before the concert.

All in all, these concerts are a great family activity, reasonably priced, and a fun Richmond tradition!

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A short post today, there is just too much to do around Richmond this weekend!  The very popular 19th annual James River Wine Festival is all weekend at the Innsbrook Pavilion.  The festival will have live jazz music, food, arts and crafts, and of course, plenty of wine.  This year’s participating wineries include:  Amrhein Wine Cellars, Cooper Vineyards, Grayhaven Winery, Hill Top Berry Farm & Winery, Horton Winery, James River Cellars, Lake Anna Winery, Peaks of Otter Winery, Philip Carter Winery, Rebec Winery, Rockbridge Vineyards, and Veritas Vineyards & Winery.  The festival will be held on Saturday from 12-7pm and Sunday 12-6pm.  Tickets are $20 at the door and that includes a wine glass and tasting. 

There isn’t too much to say about this event.  Its outside, with live music, and tons of wine.  And, just when you think it couldn’t get better than that, it all benefits charity.  All proceeds from the festival benefit Diversity Thrift.  That should be enough justification to forego the yard work one day and go support a good cause. 

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The Shops at Libbie & Grove is the “Carytown” of the West End.  The shops are located right where you would expect, at the intersection of Libbie Ave. and Grove Ave.  The quaint shopping district is made up of locally-owned boutiques, restaurants, antique stores, art galleries, jewelry stores, a movie theater, and other small businesses.  For a complete list of businesses and stores, click here.

This Saturday is a fantastic reason to visit the Shops at Libbie & Grove and support the SPCA.  Saturday from 10-3pm is the annual Paws on the Avenue event.  There will be pet adoptions, activities for kids and shopping of course.  Participating merchants (look for the blue and green balloons) will donate up to 10% of sales to the Richmond SPCA.  For a complete list of participating merchants, click here

Waggles the Richmond SPCA Humane Education mascot will be leading crafts and other activities for kids in the SunTrust parking lot at Maple and Grove.  If you or your kids go soft when homeless animals are around, then watch out for the Tail Wag’N adoption vehicle which will be there in an attempt to find new homes for all their adorable pets.  Doody Calls and Aussie Mobile Pet Grooming will also be there collecting pet food, blanket, and toy donations near Hampton House.  

Many of the shops will be selling special items for the event:  Carreras Jewelers will have animal-themed charms and bracelets, Pearl’s Cupcake Shoppe will sell homemade dog biscuits, and Levy’s will have a “fashion show” of their “Amore Dei Cani” (Love of Dogs) Spring accessory line. 

The best part about this event, aside from the shopping of course, is the pets.  I don’t need to tell you how much Richmonders love their pets.  Pets will be welcome on Saturday on the sidewalks, restaurant patios, and inside many of the participating merchants.  Go, Shop, and support a great cause!  The event is rain or shine, and there is a possibility of rain, so don’t forget the umbrella. 

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