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The 2016 Summer Guide

Where to go and what to do between now and Labor Day.

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You’ll have about 80 days to make the most of Richmond’s unofficial summer season, which starts this weekend and wraps up by Labor Day. And you know when things get started with a 1,000-foot slip-and-slide downtown, set for this Saturday (, there’s no limit to the possibilities. You’ll be able to find things to do, food to taste, places to explore throughout the year in our weekly print edition and online in’s searchable calendar. But we’ve culled one idea per day to keep you inspired — and help the planning process begin.

DAY 1: Friday, June 17
Celebrate National Flip-Flop Day. Step into a pair, grab five bucks and head to Brown’s Island for Friday Cheers. The Houston-based 10-piece the Suffers bring the heat with a modern touch to ’60 soul, funk and R&B. Opening is Too Many Zooz. 6-9:30 p.m.

DAY 2: Saturday, June 18
Start Father’s Day weekend off right: pork, beer and live music on a football field. The Pigskin Pigout, a free festival at the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center, brings it together with plenty of barbecue and tailgate-style food for sale. You can check out the field before the Redskins arrive in Richmond on July 28. Noon-6 p.m.

DAY 3: Sunday, June 19
Find a perfect pairing with Dad: oysters and craft brew. Hardywood’s Father’s Day Keg ’n’ Oyster Fest puts it all together. Hardywood Oyster Stout made with Rappahannock Oysters, plus bivalves both raw and fried, with performances from Exebelle and the Rusted Cavalcade, Continental Clouds and River City Band. Noon-6 p.m.

DAY 4: Monday, June 20
Tee up for a good cause. The Rick Sharp Classic Auction and Golf Tournament, June 20-21, benefits the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund. Held in honor of the late Richmond executive of CarMax at the Independence Golf Club in Midlothian. The fundraiser includes a reception and auction on Monday night.

DAY 5: Tuesday, June 21
Reunite with a Drive-By Trucker. Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter and guitarist Jason Isbell, from Green Hill, Alabama, plays the Altria Theater. Get there early to check out Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls. 7:30 p.m.

DAY 6: Wednesday, June 22
Look for romance in the Devil’s Triangle. Not all connections are made on Speed dating is still a thing. Try the Summer Lovin’ speed dating social at Sheppard Street Tavern, formerly Caliente. 6:30 p.m. Free. And if things go well, or don’t, there’s always bar-hopping at Buddy’s and Bandito’s.

Four Days of Theater

DAY 8: Disirée Roots, Zuri Washington and Felicia Curry lead the cast of “Dreamgirls” at Virginia Rep. - JAY PAUL
  • Jay Paul
  • DAY 8: Disirée Roots, Zuri Washington and Felicia Curry lead the cast of “Dreamgirls” at Virginia Rep.

DAY 7: Thursday, June 23
Get rowdy with the ladies. The team that brought the popular “Dixie Swim Club” to life — Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten — have a new summer Southern comedy up their sleeves. “The Hallelujah Girls” runs June 9-July 23 at Swift Creek Mill.

DAY 8: Friday, June 24
Experience opening night. And I am telling you: Virginia Repertory Theatre is going to wring out as many laughs, tears and powerhouse vocals as possible from its summer musical, “Dreamgirls,” which opens this weekend. June 24-Aug. 7.

DAY 9: Saturday, June 25
Rock out. The punk rock opera that hit Broadway, created by Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong, opens at Firehouse Theatre. The talented Richmond cast of “Green Day’s American Idiot” does double-duty by playing instruments, too. They can act, they can rock. Runs through July 23.

DAY 10: Sunday, June 26
Meet your Broadway neighbors. Andrea Rivette is the host of “To Broadway and Beyond (and Back!)” at the Richmond Triangle Players. Hear interviews and songs from Broadway performers who have moved to Richmond. Featuring Matt Ferrell, Timothy A. Fitz-Gerald and Jody Ashworth.

DAY 11: RVA Burger Week, June 27-July 3.
  • DAY 11: RVA Burger Week, June 27-July 3.

DAY 11: Monday, June 27
Get your burger on. From now till July 3, participating Richmond restaurants will be offering specialty burgers for $5 during RVA Burger Week. The more adventurous among us have been known to try all of them. Don’t hold us responsible should you choose that path.

DAY 12: Tuesday, June 28
Explore the James on two wheels. The Valentine’s James Bicycle Tour runs 10 a.m. to noon, leading you along the Canal Walk and Capital Trail. You’ll get outdoors while learning about Richmond’s history and culture. The $40 ticket includes the tour, water, bike rental and helmet.

DAY 13: Wednesday, June 29
Get the kids out of the house. The high-energy children’s show, “Big Bang Boom,” takes over the stage at Henrico Theatre — and it’s free. 10 a.m.  652-1460.

DAY 14: Thursday, June 30
Get thee to the garden. The pet-friendly, little Friday social, Flowers After 5, offers outdoor entertainment, shopping and consumables every Thursday this summer at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. 5-9 p.m.

DAY 15: Friday, July 1
Start your holiday weekend downtown. The popular downtown culture event First Fridays Art Walk offers exhibits at more than 20 art galleries, alongside a variety of other participating venues and events. Adams and Broad streets, 5-9 p.m.

DAY 16: Saturday, July 2
Eat for the sake of the commonwealth. The all-things-Virginia holiday showcase, Taste of Virginia, goes down at Innsbrook Pavilion with indigenous beer, wine and food samples, performances from Three Sheets to the Wind and Jackass Flats, fireworks and children’s activities. Proceeds benefit FeedMore. 3:30-9:30 p.m. $8-$15.

My Noodle & Bar - ASH DANIEL
  • Ash Daniel
  • My Noodle & Bar

DAY 17: Sunday, July 3
Dine in a treehouse. There are such booth options — not to mention a porch-swing seating area — at My Noodle & Bar. After dinner, stay to sing your heart out at karaoke. 10:30 p.m.

DAY 18: Monday, July 4
Watch fireworks — or lasers. There’s the Richmond Flying Squirrels vs. Reading: Independence Day Fireworks Extravaganza at The Diamond. Gates open at 4:30. There are plenty of other options, too, including Byrd Park and Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. And, in an expanded and revised show, Henrico County and Genworth present Red, White and Lights — a show featuring the Richmond Symphony and a laser-light show at Meadow Farm Museum at Crump Park. Watch for details.

DAY 19: Tuesday, July 5
Try to spot the future Olympians. This is the real deal, where “legends are born,” promise the organizers of the 2016 USA Taekwondo National Championships, which run at the Greater Richmond Convention Center from July 4-10.

DAY 20: Wednesday, July 6
Get your classic summer fix. The Richmond Symphony kicks off its Summer Recital Series — a collaboration with the departments of music at the University of Richmond and Virginia Commonwealth University. Things start with UR’s new president, Ronald Crutcher, playing cello, with pianist Joanne Kong, performing works from Glazunov, Scriabin and Rachmaninoff. A casual, one-hour series. Libby S. Gottwald Playhouse, 6:30 p.m.

DAY 21: Thursday, July 7
Unleash your creative side. The Visual Arts Center of Richmond offers a big variety of classes for adults and youth designed to teach and inspire. You can explore the full summer schedule at

DAY 22: Friday, July 8
Get apocalyptic. It’s the last weekend to see Richmond actress McLean Jesse in a farewell performance of “Sadie’s Last Painting.” The play focuses on a woman who must survive while “holed-up in an art studio riddled with an assortment of essentials and discarded items from the road. In the darkness she stands silent, a blade at her side.” Runs June 23-July 9 at RVA Event Space at Plant Zero. $20.

DAY 23: Saturday, July 9
Glow in the dark. The family-friendly Maymont Glow is an after-hours walk and run designed to show the popular park in a new light. Participants get glow-in-the-dark items and are encouraged to dress in their best glow outfit.

DAY 24: Sunday, July 10
Join the punky party. Insubordination, the Gospel, Lost Love, Idiot Proof, Uncle Spudd and Frankie Moon play the Camel, starting at 7 p.m. $7.

DAY 25: Studio Two Three offers a variety of classes, including screenprinting. - ASH DANIEL
  • Ash Daniel
  • DAY 25: Studio Two Three offers a variety of classes, including screenprinting.

DAY 25: Monday, July 11
Step up your ink game. Studio Two Three offers an intermediate screen-printing class with Travis Robertson — the art director for Spacebomb Records and the owner of print shop Archaic Mess. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., $30. … And while you’re in an artistic frame of mind, check out the new oil, pastel and acrylic paintings as well as sculptures, ceramics and jewelry by local and regional artists on display at Gallery Flux. Through July 30.

DAY 26: Tuesday, July 12
Celebrate originality. Local songsmiths share the stage for the 13th season of the Songwriter Showdown at Ashland Coffee and Tea. Contestants pay $3 each to perform two songs for the chance at $50, and to continue in the finale at the end of the six-month series, in October. 7 p.m.

DAY 27: Wednesday, July 13
Visit a new local brewery. With the rate these are opening in Richmond, you can’t possibly have tried them all yet — have you? There are all kinds of beers to try, locals to meet, conversations to be had, scenery to be seen. Check out our local beer quarterly, RVA Growler, online at

DAY 28: Thursday, July 14$
Hear music under the stars. There are plenty of venues and series in the Richmond area. But have you been out to the Ruritan Cold Harbor Park to check out a laid-back, down-home scene? A bonus? The Hanover Concert Series (Also July 7, 21, 28) is free.

DAY 29: Friday, July 15
Have an artisan taco with that beer. The 2016 Capital Ale House National Beer Expo is in town (July 13-16), and tonight is the Taco Throwdown, presented by Style Weekly. Expanded in its third year, this culinary event features Richmond chefs creating a sampling of more than 16 tacos, along with more than 35 varieties of craft beer and cider, not to mention wines, from Virginia and elsewhere. 6-9 p.m., Greater Richmond Convention Center.

DAY 30: Saturday, July 16
Richmond Triangle Players is host to the mid-Atlantic debut of “The Boy from Oz,” starring Chris Hester as Peter Allen in the Broadway musical. Discovered by Judy Garland and later married to her daughter, Liza Minnelli, Allen led a fascinating life. This is your last chance to see the show, which runs June 15-July 16 — unless there’s an extension. What say you, RTP?

DAY 31: It‘s National Ice Cream day across town, including Sweet 95. - SCOTT ELMQUIST
  • Scott Elmquist
  • DAY 31: It‘s National Ice Cream day across town, including Sweet 95.

DAY 31: Sunday, July 17
Celebrate National Ice Cream Day. Is there a wrong way to do this? Only if it doesn’t feature ice cream. A few local favorite spots: the Dairy Bar. Gelati Celesti. Sweet 95. Bev’s Homemade Ice Cream. Boyer’s. And we hear Cook Out’s watermelon milkshake emerges this time of the year.

DAY 32: Monday, July 18
Think through the laughter. British comedian Eddie Izzard brings his surreal rambling narratives to the Carpenter Theatre. 8 p.m. $48-$58.

DAY 33: Tuesday, July 19
Change keys. Coming to the National, Black Keys guitarist Dan Auerbach plays with his new group the Arcs. 8 p.m. $28.

DAY 34: Wednesday, July 20
Make someone laugh — or die trying. Aspiring joke tellers take to the stage for the twice-monthly showcase of up-and-coming comedians, Comedy from Home, at Home Sweet Home in Carytown. Sign-ups begin at 9 p.m. before the show at 10. Free.

Joe Walsh, July 21
  • Joe Walsh, July 21

DAY 35: Thursday, July 21
Fly like a metaphorical eagle. Former James Gang and Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh proves that life continues to be good to him at Innsbrook After Hours. J.D. and the Straight Shot open. 6 p.m. $15-$375.

DAY 36: Friday, July 22
Pay homage to Homer. Could you piece together a “Simpsons” episode from memory, with a little help from your friends? What if you were one of the survivors of civilization’s collapse? That’s the premise behind “Mr. Burns: a Post-Electric Play,” directed by Deejay Gray. Opening tonight and running through Aug. 6, it’s TheatreLab’s final show of the season.

DAY 37: Saturday, July 23
Get high on hair. It’s the battle of hairstyles at Diversity Richmond for RVA’s Hair Battle Royale Part III. Such a tease. 1-9 p.m.

DAY 38: Sunday, July 24
Learn the Lindy. The gyrations of the swing era come to the Greater Richmond Convention Center. Today wraps up three days of learning, teaching and performing during the Process. July 22-24.

DAY 39: Garbage at the National.
  • DAY 39: Garbage at the National.

DAY 39: Monday, July 25
Go back in time for your alt rock. The ’90s hit-makers of Garbage play at the National. 8 p.m. $34.50.

DAY 40: Tuesday, July 26
Visit Hollywood while you’re above ground. Learn things about Hollywood Cemetery that you never knew. It’s part of Richmond History Tours, presented by the Valentine. 10-11:30 a.m. $5-$15.

DAY 41: Wednesday, July 27
Revel in melodic angst. Post-everything curmudgeons the Swans return to Richmond for a night at the Broadberry. Noise merchant Okkyung Lee opens. Buy your tickets soon. The group’s show last year sold out in a matter of hours. 8 p.m. $25-$30.

DAY 42: Thursday, July 28
Up your ocean understanding. The 2013 documentary film, “Ocean Frontiers II: a New England Story for Sustaining the Sea,” hits the big screen at the Virginia Historical Society. Panel discussion follows. 5:30 p.m. Free.

Electric Football World Championships and Convention, July 29-31.
  • Electric Football World Championships and Convention, July 29-31.

DAY 43: Friday, July 29
Shrink your football, not your obsession. Electric Football enthusiasts gather in Richmond for the Electric Football World Championships and Convention from July 29-31 at the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel. Sponsored by Tudor Games and the Miniature Football Coaches Association, this is the only place on earth where this many people will be playing what arguably was the most disappointing game of the 20th century. You’ll be amazed by how far it’s come. See the documentary of last year’s convention filmed by Richmond’s Porter Street Films at

DAY 44: Saturday, July 30
Reflect on days gone by. Watch Neil Simon’s semi-autobiographical comedy of the 1930s era, “Brighton Beach Memoirs,” at Hanover Tavern (July 15-Aug. 28). Direction by Steve Perigard.

DAY 45: Sunday, July 31
Watch creativity under pressure. The 48 Hour Film Project challenges small teams with minimal, but mandatory elements to include in a short film, which must be created and shot in 48 hours. All that work’s done. But now you can watch the competition’s best-of screening at the Byrd Theatre.

DAY 46: Butterflies Live at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden.
  • DAY 46: Butterflies Live at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden.

DAY 46: Monday, Aug. 1
Commune with the butterflies. Did we forget to mention that June 20-26 was National Pollinator Week? No matter, you can visit Butterflies Live at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden from April 15-Oct. 9. The exhibit’s open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

DAY 47: Tuesday, Aug. 2
Meet your neighbor. National Night Out is “an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer, better places to live.” Come on out and keep the porch lights on.

DAY 48: Wednesday, Aug. 3
Let art start a conversation. If you haven’t seen the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts’ big summer exhibit, “Kehinde Wiley: a New Republic,” what are you waiting for? The young artist’s work, some 60 paintings and sculptures, portray black men and women through the lens of the masters.

DAY 48: “Kehinde Wiley: a New Republic” at VMFA.
  • DAY 48: “Kehinde Wiley: a New Republic” at VMFA.

DAY 49: Thursday, Aug. 4
Do some browsing. “Loosely Loaded,” works by Philadelphia-based textile painter Emily E. Erb, are on display at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond. Through Aug. 28.

DAY 50: Friday, Aug. 5
Get a musical head start. The folk festival comes early to Richmond with two shows at Balliceaux. Internationally acclaimed booty-shakers Meschiya Lake and the Little Big Horns hit the back-room stage at 10 p.m. About 24 hours later, Mamadou Kelly, Malian calabash player and original member of Ali Farka Toure’s group, ignites the classic Sahelian dance party on the same stage. $10 per show. 355-3008.

DAY 51: Saturday, Aug. 6
Join the bicycle squad. The Anthem Moonlight Ride gets family and friends together on a 15- or 8-mile course. The summer evening community ride starts and finishes at Sports Backers Stadium, where the night ends with pizza, ice cream, beer and live music.

DAY 52: Sunday, Aug. 7
Take a break from the election season. And go back to when patriotism was truly rowdy. St. John’s Church offers its popular re-enactment of Patrick Henry’s infamous Give Me Liberty or Death speech on Church Hill, 1:15 p.m. $5.

DAY 53: Monday, Aug. 8
Get your head in the game. You can join chess battles at all levels of play at the Richmond Public Library. 6 p.m. Free.

DAY 54: Tuesday, Aug. 9
Fire up your synapses. The Camel is host to a showcase of Richmond electronic sound manipulators with Rec Room: Live Local Beats. 8 p.m. Free.

DAY 55: Wednesday, Aug. 10
Travel back in recent melodic time. There are two ways today: The MY2K Tour, featuring 98 Degrees with O-Town, Dream and Ryan Cabrera, playing Innsbrook After Hours, 6 p.m. And at the National, it’s the resurrection of ’90s grunge rockers Bush.

DAY 56: Thursday, Aug. 11
Multiply your music. Richmond gallery owner, musician and all-round good guy B.J. Kocen celebrates the release of his double album, “Searching for Signal / Old Lake.” 8 p.m.

The 11th Filipino Festival is Aug. 12.
  • The 11th Filipino Festival is Aug. 12.

DAY 57: Friday, Aug. 12
Expand your cultural boundaries. The 11th Filipino Festival takes over Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church for two days of food, entertainment, shopping and activities. Free.

DAY 58: Saturday, Aug. 13
Jazz it up. The Richmond Jazz Festival is underway (Aug. 11-14), featuring the Roots, Herbie Hancock and Morris Day among many artists.

DAY 59: Sunday, Aug. 14
Keep your seeds to yourself. A summer tradition, the Carytown Watermelon Festival has everything you need to spend a day eating, drinking, listening, exploring and shopping — and yes, eating watermelon. 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

DAY 60: Monday, Aug. 15
Keep a poker face. If you’ve been practicing, this may be the time to test your skills. Baja Bean Co. is host to a Texas Hold’em poker tournament every Monday, 6 and 8 p.m. Free.

DAY 61: Tuesday, Aug. 16
Rock out. The National hosts the modern rock offerings of O.A.R. 8 p.m.

DAY 62: Junior Brown at the Tin Pan.
  • DAY 62: Junior Brown at the Tin Pan.

DAY 62: Wednesday, Aug. 17
Have dinner with your show. Consummate showman Junior Brown shreds his Roy Clark-meets-Devo six-string at the Tin Pan. 8 p.m.

DAY 63: Thursday, Aug. 18
Power down and have a pint. The local solo acoustic music showcase unfolds at Garden Grove. 7 p.m. Free.

DAY 64: Friday, Aug. 19
Listen while you shop. It’s the last night of the Short Pump Town Center Summer Concert Series (also June 14 with Charlie Puth; July 22 with the Willis Family). Tonight’s artist hadn’t been announced at press time, but it’s bound to be solid. Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant is on hand with wine tastings, to benefit the Rotary Club of Innsbrook. The concert is free.

DAY 65: Saturday, Aug. 20
Add some sizzle to your summer. The Latin Jazz and Salsa Festival at Dogwood Dell — organized by WCLM-AM 1450 radio show host Luis Hidalgo — features performances by Luisito Rosario, Melina “La Muñeca de La Salsa,” Izis “La Enfermera de La Salsa,” Frankely Fernandez, Allen Hidalgo, Edwin Zoa’s Zabor Dance group, Orquesta Curare and DJ Eddy Mayorga. 3-8 p.m. Free.

DAY 66: Gwar-B-Q runs Aug. 19-21.
  • DAY 66: Gwar-B-Q runs Aug. 19-21.

DAY 66: Sunday, Aug. 21
On the third day, rest. The seventh annual Gwar-B-Q (Aug. 19-21) started Friday at the National and moved to Hadad’s Lake on Saturday with a musical lineup including Gwar. And on Sunday, there’s the Morning After Chill, a showcase at GwarBar for Richmond bands from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Featuring what’s being billed as a Brutal Brunch from Chef BälSäc.

DAY 67: Monday, Aug. 22
Don’t bag your lunch. RVA Sandwich Week kicks off today, with $5 deals on specialty sandwiches by a variety of participating Richmond restaurants.

Five Days of Outdoor Exploration

DAY 68: Tuesday, Aug. 23
Explore the James River with a rafting guide.

DAY 69: Wednesday, Aug. 24
Try your hand at the Mortar the Merrier, Bolts from Heaven and Proctologist rock-climbing routes, among others, under the Manchester Bridge. You may need professional guidance on this, but you can get started at

DAY 70: Thursday, Aug. 25
Kayak to a post-Fall Line island downtown and set up shop for the day. Find trip-planning guides at

DAY 71: A new kind of yoga from Riverside Outfitters. - RIVERSIDE OUTFITTERS
  • Riverside Outfitters
  • DAY 71: A new kind of yoga from Riverside Outfitters.

DAY 71: Friday, Aug. 26
Take a class in yoga on the water.

DAY 72: Saturday, Aug. 27
Play a round of disc golf at Gillies Creek Park, 4425 Williamsburg Ave., then head across the way to Stone Brewing, 4300 Williamsburg Ave.

DAY 73: Sunday, Aug. 28
Be chauffeured to your next glass. The Richmond brewery bus tours take you to three local breweries, include a tour of one, flights at all and snacks along the way.

DAY 74: Monday, Aug. 29
Share a scare. It’s movie night at Fallout in Shockoe Bottom, where they’re showing a double feature of horror movies and cult classics. Take a friend — it’s free.

DAY 75: Tuesday, Aug. 30
Get medieval. The Society for Creative Anachronism, Fighter Practice and Arts and Sciences Night is happening at Battery Park Christian Church, 4201 Brook Road. 7 p.m. Check out the scene of medieval armored combat, fencing, dance and more.

DAY 76: Wednesday, Aug. 31
Escape — if you can. Take a group or join one there, but bring a sharp mind. Because Richmond’s first escape room will require lots of clever riddle-solving and keen observations before you’ll be able to get out. OK, they may give you some hints along the way. But that’s for wimps.

DAY 77: Thursday, Sept. 1
Play pickleball. A few years ago, Linda Scott and her husband, Dave, were roaming the country looking for potential retirement spots. They were curious that Florida center had 160 courts of pickleball, a fast-growing racquet sport favored by middle-aged people and retirees but attracting younger people. The game has features of tennis, badminton and ping pong — “It’s sort of like playing ping pong while standing on a table,” Scott says. The couple convinced Chesterfield County to start pickleball at Rockwood Park, and there are now more than 2,000 players throughout the area.

DAY 78: First Fridays Art Walk.
  • DAY 78: First Fridays Art Walk.

DAY 78: Friday, Sept. 2
Take a mind-expanding stroll. First Fridays Art Walk runs 5-9 p.m. downtown. Adams and Broad streets, 5-9 p.m.

DAY 79: Saturday, Sept. 3
Have a picnic with some bluegrass. The Blue Bee Cider Summer Concert Series wraps up tonight with Scattered, Smothered, and Covered. The outdoor concerts run 3-6 p.m. at the Manchester site.

DAY 80: Sunday, Sept. 4
Root for the home team. It’s the next to last day for the Richmond Flying Squirrels, playing Altoona and featuring In Your Face Fireworks and Breakfast for Dinner promotions. Gates open at 5 p.m.

DAY 80: The Richmond Flying Squirrels start to wrap up their season.
  • DAY 80: The Richmond Flying Squirrels start to wrap up their season.


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