For the past 23 years, Richmonders have gathered in the Historic Jackson Ward District for the annual 2nd Street Festival. This year is no different. The weekend of Oct. 6-7, festival goers will enjoy four blocks of entertainment, food, socializing and fun sponsored by Venture Richmond.
The 2nd Street Festival started as a one night block party to introduce the film – 2 Street – produced by The Valentine Richmond History Center, celebrating the history of the 2nd Street as the Harlem of the South. Once revered as one of the top entertainment and business districts for African-Americans, Jackson Ward still houses some of the landmarks that made the area so famous, such as the Hippodrome and Maggie L. Walker House.
“This is a way to give a relevant reminder of the history of Jackson Ward,” said Sharon Bassard, events and booking manager, Venture Richmond. “It’s our way of celebrating the rich history of the ’20s, ’30s and ’40s.”
This year there will be 35 performers, 18 merchandise vendors and 10 food vendors on hand. Venture Richmond is excited about some of the new attractions added to the festival’s lineup.
“We’re looking forward for everyone to see Saturday’s headlining act – The Ohio Players,” said Mavis Wynn, event operations manager, Venture Richmond. “We have also partnered with the nonprofit, Arts in the Alley, to apply touch up paint and murals to buildings that have been boarded up in the area. We encourage volunteers to stop by and help.”
Along with food and performances, there will be entertainment for the whole family to enjoy. The Children’s Museum of Richmond will produce a special children’s area where kids can enjoy seeing Seymour the dinosaur, face paintings, balloon artistry and many other activities.
Whether you’re looking to enjoy musical acts, try some delicious food or reunite with some people you haven’t seen in a while, Richmond 2nd Street Festival is the place to enjoy the culture of the past and present.
“This is a reunion for a lot of people,” said Wynn. “Some people come into town just for this event. Jackson Ward was the place for African-Americans to be.”