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Festival of the River Announces Saturday Programs Including River Cleanups, Back to the Bay, and Guided Walking Tours

M E D I A  A D V I S O R Y

May 3, 2018 – Richmond, Virginia: The Festival of the River is a three-day celebration of Music, Art, and Environment taking place on Brown’s Island June 8 -10, 2018. We are pleased to announce that the programming for Saturday, June 9th will include river cleanups, Back to the Bay, and guided walking tours.


Registration for pre-festival river cleanup activities will start at 11:00am, and cleanups will run from 11:30am to 1:30pm. Participants will meet at Tredegar Ramp and then disperse to three cleanup sites: Belle Isle, across the T. Tyler Potterfield Memorial Bridge, and east to Pipeline & 14 St. Bridge. A sign-up will go live via HandsOn Greater Richmond one month before the event. Learn more at: www.capitalregioncollaborative.com.


Brown’s Island will officially open for the Festival at 2:00pm with Back to the Bay! Guests can visit over 20 booths and participate in numerous hands-on activities. Environmental education activities begin at 2:00pm and end at 7:30pm as the Savion Glover performance with the Richmond Symphony begins in the Big Tent. Back to the Bay is the signature event of Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week, and is held annually the 2nd Saturday in June.


Back to the Bay provides opportunities to explore the lands and stories that make up the Chesapeake Bay watershed. There will be live animals, guided hikes, crafts and games to discover the Chesapeake Bay’s nature, history and culture, and learn what you can do every day to help keep our Bay clean.


Pick up your Back to the Bay Passport from any participating booth, participate in 10 different activities, get your Passport stamped after completing the activity, and then bring your stamped Passport to the Virginia State Parks tent and receive a parking pass for complimentary entry into any of the 37 Virginia State Parks.


Here are some of the many Back to the Bay activities:


  • Oyster shucking demonstration by Oyster Shucking Champions Deborah Pratt and Clementine Boyd (4:00pm on the Main Stage or visit Deborah and Clementine at the Big Island Aquaculture booth.)
  • Make turtles made from egg cartons with The Middle James Roundtable.
  • Learn how to test water quality on the James with the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay.
  • Color fish-shaped magnets with Keep Henrico Beautiful.
  • Paint rain barrels with the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and the City of Richmond.
  • Learn about the Pamunkey Indian Tribe’s history and Virginia’s waterways with Pamunkey Indian Museum and Cultural Center.
  • Enjoy a bird watching hike with the Richmond Audubon Society.
  • Encounter live animals with the Maymont Foundation.
  • Get a little wet discovering Water Wonders with the Department of Forestry.
  • Create ultra-violet bead bracelets with the Blue Sky Fund while learning about the sun’s impact on water cycles.
  • Kid-friendly storytelling with Virginia Canals and Navigation Society (3:00pm, 4:00pm and 5:00pm).
  • Walking tours of Belle Isle with the James River Park System.
  • Rock climbing with Peak Experiences.
  • Take a walk on the canal and learn about the canal’s history with The Valentine.
  • Screen-print tote bags and shirts with Studio Two Three.
  • Discover how people lived in the 1860s while enjoying a walking tour with the American Civil War Museum.


Back to the Bay is presented by the Chesapeake Bay Commission, the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, and the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay. Back to the Bay is made possible by generous sponsorship from Altria and Smithfield.

Guided Walking Tours will also be an offering on Saturday afternoon. Tours will begin at the Mill Workers Monument by the 5th Street Footbridge and will be provided by Capital Trees, The Valentine, American Civil War Museum, and the James River Park System – more details below.

Walking Tours Schedule:

    • 3:00pm – 4:15pm: Capital Trees – a walk to the Low Line (75 minutes)
    • 3:45pm – 4:30pm: The Valentine – family friendly canal walk (45 minutes)
    • 4:30pm – 5:15pm: American Civil War Museum – family friendly Brown’s Island walking tour (45 minutes)
    • 5:30pm – 6:30pm: James River Park System – Twilight Belle Isle Tour (60 minutes)


Accessibility is a main goal of the festival. While Saturday and Sunday will be ticketed, we ask participants to pay what they can/wish, as they are able. Tickets can be found at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/festival-of-the-river-tickets-45066569322


The Festival planning committee includes over 30 partner organizations (see full list below schedule) steered by a coalition between the City of Richmond, Venture Richmond, the Richmond Symphony, VCU Institute for Contemporary Art, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, 1708 Gallery, James River Association, and Capital Region Collaborative.


The Festival is made possible through generous support received to date from the City of Richmond, E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, Richard S. Reynolds Foundation, League of American Orchestras, National Endowment for the Arts, Virginia Commission for the Arts, Loveland Distributing, and Ballast Point Brewing Company.

The current general schedule of activities is as follows:

Friday, June 8, 2018 ($10/ticket)

Tickets: https://www.myticketstobuy.com/event/1277

  • Friday Cheers with Rhiannon Giddens and No BS! Brass in performances with the Richmond Symphony


Saturday, June 9, 2018

Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/festival-of-the-river-tickets-45066569322

  • Morning activities including region-wide cleanups along the James River and Chesapeake Bay Watershed
  • Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay presents Back to the Bay, family-friendly and educational activities in celebration of Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week
  • Guided Walking Tours (schedule below):
  • 3pm – 4:15pm: Capital Trees
  • 3:45pm – 4:30pm: The Valentine
  • 4:30pm – 5:15pm: American Civil War Museum
  • 5:30pm – 6:30pm: James River Park System
  • Performances by contemporary artists Hope Ginsburg, Paul Rucker, and Marinella Senatore are presented as part of VCU’s Institute for Contemporary Art’s opening exhibition Declaration, in collaboration with the Richmond Symphony and Sound Arts Richmond
  • Performances under the “Big Tent” throughout the day including tap-dancing phenomenon Savion Glover performing with the Richmond Symphony


Sunday, June 10, 2018

Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/festival-of-the-river-tickets-45066569322

  • All are invited to a daytime picnic to create a ‘Richmond Community Member Quilt’ on Brown’s Island
  • Family concert by the Richmond Symphony


Other activities and artists to be announced. Stay Tuned!


Current Festival of the River Partners Include:

1708 Gallery

Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay

American Civil War Museum

Art on Wheels


Blue Sky Fund

Capital Region Collaborative

Capital Trees

City of Richmond – Department of Public Utilities

City of Richmond – Department of Public Works

City of Richmond – Public Art Commission

Chesapeake Bay Commission

Chesapeake Bay Foundation

Chesapeake Climate Action Network

Children’s Museum of Richmond

James River Advisory Council

James River Association

James River Outdoor Coalition

James River Parks System

Junior League of Richmond

Keep Henrico Beautiful

Keep Virginia Beautiful

L.L. Bean Outdoor Discovery School

Maymont Foundation

Middle James Roundtable

Pamunkey Indian Museum & Cultural Center

Peak Experiences

Reedville Fisherman’s Museum


Richmond Aubudon Society

Richmond BridgePark Foundation

Richmond Region Tourism

Richmond Riverfront Plan

Richmond Symphony

Sound Arts Richmond

Studio Two Three

Tricycle Gardens

The Valentine

Venture Richmond

Virginia Canals and Navigation Society

VCU – Institute for Contemporary Art

VCU – Life Sciences Outreach

Virginia Conservation Network

Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation

Virginia Department of Environmental Quality

Virginia Department of Forestry Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries

The Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Virginia State Parks

Visual Arts Center

Vogt Oyster Co./Big Island Aquaculture

WCVE / The Community Idea Stations