by Cesca Janece Waterfield
October around Richmond begins in the streets, showcasing and celebrating the personalities of several area neighborhoods.
Old Towne Petersburg
425 Cockade Alley
As Petersburg continues to refresh its vision and downtown streets, it celebrates Nostalgiafest 2008. Last year’s festival drew more than 14, 000 tourists. Organizers have worked to make this year’s event even more fun for the whole family.
Nostalgiafest 2008 gets off to a running start literally, with the 10 K race and 4 K Run/Walk taking off from Old Towne, Friday at 5 p.m. The entire neighborhood joins the celebration and shops, boutiques, galleries, and restaurants will remain open throughout the evening. The first of twenty bands starts at 5:30 on the Main Stage. Bands and musical acts will entertain there and at the Old Towne Civic Center through Sunday afternoon.
“Nostalgiafest is a family-oriented event and we’re trying to tell Petersburg’s story,” says Anne Thomas, of the Petersburg Department of Tourism, who helped organize this year’s festival. “We have several entertainers walking the streets. I’m a native of Petersburg and I came back about seven years ago. It’s remarkable how many people have come from other states. It makes for an eclectic city. To see people come together, you can feel it when you’re walking the streets of Old Towne, you can feel the energy.”
Saturday’s festivities begin at 11 a.m. and continue until midnight. Shop and enjoy crafters, artists, antiques, historic walking tours, classic cars, and vendors lining the streets. Explore unique art galleries, antique and specialty shops, restaurants, and coffee houses. For children of all ages, Nostalgiafest will feature clowns, magicians, rides, a petting zoo, and prizes in the Free Kids Zone.
Sunday events take place from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. Jonathan Austin will captivate audiences with a magic show on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. on the Main Stage. Presented by the City of Petersburg. Admission is free.
2nd Street Festival
On Friday, Oct. 3, time turns back to when the heart of African American living and commerce for much of the South met in Jackson Ward near 2nd Street. This year marks the nineteenth “Two Street Festival,” and once again, nearly 45,000 visitors will stroll, dance, and dine in Historic Jackson Ward as live music fills the air surrounding four stages. And with restaurants like those Jackson Ward boasts, you better believe the food is delicious! There are also children’s activities, vendors, art, crafts, and old friends.
“We are excited. Last year was a beautiful event so we know this year is going to be even better,” says Sharon Bassard, Events and Booking Manager of Venture Richmond. “We’re excited about having Pieces of a Dream. That’s our national headliner on Saturday. We’re going to have lots of delicious food.”
In addition to several Jackson Ward restaurants who will be represented, there will be thirteen food vendors to tempt palates at Two Street, including Ray Taylor of Dogs r Us, who will be serving at his eighteenth Two Street Festival. Ray is regularly invited back not only for his delicious hot dogs. “Ray can move a line,” laughs Sharon. “And you don’t feel like you’ve been hurried through when you’re with Ray,” Mavis adds. Rounding out Two Street will be merchandise vendors and six artists in Artist’s Row, as well as five motorcycle clubs to showcase their bikes and to answer any questions. Capital One Kidz Zone at Jackson Center Lot on 2nd Street between Clay and Leigh Sts.
The Festival kicks off Friday at 6 p.m. with Johnny Houston and the Legends. As First Friday fills the nearby streets, head to the Metropolitan Business League to see a painting by Larry “Poncho” Brown commissioned just for this event. Reproductions of Brown’s painting will be for sale. The fun continues Saturday, Oct. 4, 12 noon to 10 p.m. That night, be sure and catch Philadelphia’s Pieces of a Dream, an R&B/Jazz fusion group.
Events continue Sunday, Oct. 5, 1 to 5 p.m. Performances include VCU’s Black Awakening Gospel Choir on the Waverly Stage.
The Entertainment Schedule is so packed, it requires four stages: Waverly R. Crawley Main Stage at 2nd and Marshall Sts; Joe Kennedy Jr. Stage at 3rd and Clay Sts; Bistro Stage at 1st and Clay Sts; Community Stage at 2nd and Leigh Sts. Info 788-6466 or www.VentureRichmond.com.
5th Annual Carytown Food and Wine Festival
Cary Court, 3126 W. Cary St.
Get “A Taste of Carytown” when the Carytown Merchants Association hosts the 5th Annual Carytown Food & Wine Festival Sunday, Oct. 5, 12 noon to 6 p.m.
Carytown is the hub of more than 300 locally owned businesses, including boutiques, bistros, coffee shops, specialty shops, and a wide variety of restaurants. Many of those restaurants will be at the Festival, sharing the best of their menus. “A Taste of Carytown” is appropriately named, since you’ll also find wine samples from some of Virginia’s best wineries for enjoyment and education.
Area charities will benefit from your family’s feasting: the Carytown Merchant’s Association is donating a portion of their proceeds. The cost of a ticket includes a souvenir wine glass. Designated driver tickets, $10. Children six and under get in free with a paid adult. $15 in advance, $20 at the gate, Children and pets welcome. Tickets can be purchased in advance at www.TicketsToBuy.com, Babe’s Restaurant, 3166 W. Cary St.; Plan 9 Music 3012 W. Cary St.; River City Cellars 2931 W. Cary St.