Why I love the city of Richmond

By Tom

Okay, so there are actually too many reasons to cover in just one post. I think I’ll probably be doing a series of posts this summer detailing why I love this city so much – and the phenomenal weekend I just had is a great place to start. Before I go there, though, let me tell you my own story.

I think it’s an unfortunate truth that students rarely pick the University of Richmond because of its proximity to the city for which it is named, though they tend to fall in love with the city after they arrive (and benefit significantly from its status as a center of politics, law, and business). That was certainly the case for me – I chose UR for its academic quality, campus feel, and financial aid, but not for its location near the city. During my first year of college, I had lots of opportunity to explore the city, and that’s when I fell in love. I regularly spent time off-campus throughout my four years at UR (though I lived on campus all four years), and when it came time to graduate, I just didn’t want to leave; I felt like there was still so much left unexplored. Luckily, I landed this job, and I’ve had the chance to live and work in Richmond for two years now. My love of the city has only grown with time.

One thing I love about Richmond are its festivals. With May comes the start of the summer festival cycle, and this weekend brought two excellent events, or a chance for myself and friends to double-fest, if you will. (Okay, that was corny, I acknowledge it.)

Friday night and Saturday was the Riverrock festival, held on Brown’s Island downtown by the James River. It’s an outdoorsy festival with numerous bands playing (Rusted Root headlined this year) and all sorts of activities, including a Mud Run, 10k trail race, mountain biking, rafting, kayaking, fly-fishing, freestyle bike competition, and competitive dog jumping. Lots of fun, whether you’re participating or watching – and it’s a free event, as are many of Richmond’s festivals. I met up with some friends (including coworker Ruth Marie!) on Friday night for Rusted Root, and went back on Saturday to hang out and enjoy the wonderful weather. Riverrock also kicks off the Friday Cheers concert series held on Brown’s Island – free concerts every Friday during May and June.

This weekend was also the annual Lebanese Food Festival, held at a Lebanese Maronite church in the West End of Richmond. This is the third year I’ve attended, and it’s some of the best food I eat all year. I went with friends on Saturday afternoon (ran into coworker Maria while there!) and stuffed myself with shawirma, falafel, cheese pies, and zalabia, as live Lebanese music wafted through the air. It’s a huge event, with thousands attending – probably one of the largest of Richmond’s many food festivals.

So there you have it: one reason I love the city of Richmond are its festivals. I’ll close out with a list of some of my favorites, starting in the summer and moving through the fall and spring:


  1. Maria
    Posted May 18, 2009 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Oh my goodness! Festival time is my favorite time of year, too. I look forward to the chance to get out and celebrate with friends and enjoy the beautiful Richmond weather.

    I’d add the Carytown Watermelon Festival to Tom’s list because of the fantastic street vendors and the abundance of tasty fruit. I love this city! Looking forward to reading your posts on the other festivals, Tom. See you ’round the office and at the Greek Festival for sure 😉


  2. Ruth-Marie
    Posted June 9, 2009 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    The river rock festival was a blast. The BMX bike course was really fun to watch.

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  1. […] is a great time in the River City. I already wrote a post about the many festivals that go on throughout the Richmond region; today I want to say a bit about […]

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