Richmond Summer Traditions: Discover Some RVA Favorites

richmond summer traditions

Long-time Richmonders know that there is always something to do in our city. Cultural, historical, outdoor, and other events abound in RVA all year round. Summer is always a particularly exciting time for events in Richmond, with new events each year bringing more exciting opportunities to our city. New isn’t always better, though. There are a number of summer events in Richmond that have stood the test of time, with scores of people attending each year from the Richmond area and beyond. We’ll take a look below at some popular Richmond summer traditions returning in 2016 that you won’t want to miss.


Richmond Shakespeare Festival at Agecroft Hall

If you’re looking for tradition, you won’t do much better than the Bard. The Richmond Shakespeare Festival produces two Shakespeare plays each year, which are performed outside in the courtyard of Agecroft Hall, a traditional Tudor-era manor transported to Virginia in the 1920s. 2016 marks the 18th year of the festival, which is produced by Quill Theatre.

This year’s plays are Twelfth Night and The Merchant of Venice. Twelfth Night is playing now through June 26. The Merchant of Venice will open July 7 and run through July 31. Visit Agecroft Hall’s website for tickets and more information.


Richmond Jazz Festival

A (relatively) new addition, the Richmond Jazz Festival has quickly become a staple of the summer season. The seventh annual festival, which takes place at Maymont, will bring over two dozen world-renowned jazz, blues, and funk artists to Richmond along with thousands of spectators from far beyond the city.

The Richmond Jazz Festival will take place August 11 – 14. Visit the festival website for the full artist lineup, to purchase tickets, and for more information.

Innsbrook After Hours

Innsbrook After Hours at the Innsbrook Pavilion celebrates its 31st year in 2016. This summer concert series brings a wide variety of artists to Glen Allen, from today’s chart toppers to beloved legacy acts. This year’s acts include the Band Perry, TLC, Blues Traveler, and many more.

Innsbrook After Hours 2016 continues through September 29. For a full listing of concerts and to purchase tickets, visit the Innsbrook After Hours website.


Butterflies LIVE! at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens

The popular butterfly exhibit returns to the Botanical Gardens for another year in 2016. Butterflies LIVE! features hundreds of tropical butterflies. The exhibit is located indoors at the garden’s Conservatory, and all ages are encouraged to attend to admire the beauty of butterflies and to learn more about their life cycle and ecosystem.

Butterflies LIVE! is open now through October 9 and is included with regular admission to the Botanical Gardens. Visit for more information.


17th Street Farmers Market

This often unassuming Richmond staple has a long history that may surprise you. The General Assembly first established a market in that area of the city in 1780, and some kind of market has operated there ever since. The current incarnation of the Market is operated by local non-profit Enrichmond.

Visit the Market’s Facebook page for information on dates and hours for 2016.

Watermelon Festival

The Watermelon Festival is eagerly awaited every summer. This street festival is held in Carytown each year and will celebrate its 33rd annual event in 2016. After all, nothing says summer like a slice of sweet, juicy watermelon. The festival offers much more than just watermelon, though. This family-friendly event features live music and entertainment, a wide variety of craft and food vendors, face painting, and more.

This year’s festival takes place Sunday, August 14th. Visit the Watermelon Festival website for more information.


Baseball at the Diamond

The Richmond Braves may be no more, but baseball lives on at the Diamond on Boulevard. Since 2010 the Flying Squirrels have called Richmond home, and the official American pastime has thrived once again in RVA.

This year’s baseball season continues through September 5. Be sure to catch a home game this summer. Visit the Flying Squirrels’ website for tickets and more information.


Liberty or Death Reenactment at Historic St. John’s Church

St. John’s Church Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving historic St. John’s Church on Broad Street in downtown Richmond. St. John’s Church is the original location of Patrick Henry’s iconic “Give me liberty or give me death” speech in 1775. St. John’s is also the burial place of several prominent Virginians, including Declaration of Independence signee George Wythe, Chief Justice John Marshall, and Henry Clay.

Each Sunday between Memorial Day and Labor Day, the Foundation stages reenactments of Patrick Henry’s famous speech to the Second Virginia Convention. Doors open each Sunday afternoon at 1:15 p.m. Reenactments are free with a suggested donation of $5 per person. For further information and to purchase reserved seats, please visit the Foundation website.

What’s your favorite Richmond summer tradition? Don’t forget to like and share with friends and family!

Photo: Eli Christman


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