We’ve had a bunch of beautiful weekends lately so we’ve been eating up as many summer-ish activities as possible before the weather turns. One such activity was Richmond’s 2013 Street Art Festival. We’d been to the inaugural festival last year, but this one certainly took it up a notch.
The site was an old bus depot that was once a repair station for Richmond’s 19th-century electric street car system (which was the first in the country, preceding the now famous San Francisco system). There were tons of old buildings not being used, so bravo to whomever thought up the idea of allowing local artists to cheer them up with a little paint.
It’s just another reason we love this city.
There was plenty of eye candy, like an appearance by our favorite wheeled bees by painter Matt Lively.
There was lots of interactive stuff that got people involved in the art taking place. This drip art mural invited kids to ride up in the lift to help drip paint down the wall. Had the line been a bit shorter and had Clara been a smidge older, we totally would’ve been up there.
They also debuted a mural called The Light of Human Kindness that was inspired by acts of kindness that people submitted online. It’s laced with LED lights that illuminate when people continue to post kind acts online (you can see more of the mural and read or submit stories here).
And as if this giant woodcut map wasn’t enough to get me excited…
It was actually a giant print that Studio Two Three was using to create a huge piece of art… using a STEAMROLLER. We were all pretty mesmerized by the process. Clara especially liked the “digger” (which is what she tends to call every piece of construction equipment these days).
Clara was also very much into any art that featured animals in it. Word.
Sherry was particularly fond of this small Escher-ish painting.
And I like just about anything with a president on it.
A president or bikes, I guess.
And beyond just being able to watch the artists at work, there was a pretty festive vibe this year. There were TONS of people and everywhere you looked there was something going on – usually with some bright paint involved, like this cheerful half pipe.
There were also a bunch of food trucks lined up (like most cities these days, food trucks are EVERYWHERE in Richmond). We skipped the traditional lunch and just got donuts instead. We’d heard awesome things about Mrs. Yoder’s and they did not disappoint. It’s like the biggest meltiest Krispy Kreme you ever did taste.
It’s events like this that make us feel very lucky to live in a city where there’s always something interesting and fun (not to mention 100% free) to help Clara experience the world. So thanks RVA!
Of course it begs the question. How are they going to top this next year?
On a last minute whim last weekend, we decided to participate in a local biking event called the Anthem Moonlight Ride. You may have even spotted this shot on Instagram from that evening.
We’d never done it (or any other organized bike ride) as a family before, but it was put on by the same organization that does the 10K that I run annually (amongst other things) so we knew it would be fun, well run, and safe (important since the whole event involved biking the streets of Richmond after dark). So with rain mostly out of the forecast, an evening without plans, and a hankering for some glow sticks, we loaded the bikes on the car and joined thousands of others in Richmond’s Northside.
We chose to do the 8 mile course (there was also a 17-mile option) and waited ’til the “Family” wave left so we didn’t have to worry about the speed at which we rode (or the amount of spandex we weren’t wearing). The event started at 8pm (Clara’s usual bedtime) but we didn’t pull out of the gate ’til about 8:45. Just as it started to drizzle…
The light rain was barely a bother, so it turned out to be just as much (if not more) fun than we expected. There were costumes and fun lights, plus it was just generally invigorating to be out with so many other riders on streets that had been closed off for the event. Being that it was dark and we only had the iPhone in my pocket, this is our best picture of the ride itself. Stellar photography, eh?
The Sportsbackers have a much better slideshow on their site if you wanna get a better idea of what the ride was like. This one below was from our favorite portion of the ride, which went through a park whose paths had been lined with glowsticks (the message below was spelled out with them as well).
The event photographer even caught this pic of Clara and I rounding one of the last few turns. You can barely see the glowsticks that we decked ourselves – and our bikes – out in (they also provided flashing safety lights for everyone too) but you can tell by my face that we were enjoying ourselves. And that I saw the photographer with enough notice to actually smile.
It took us a little less than an hour to finish, I think. The course was relatively flat, though there were a couple of hills that took some effort (okay, and maybe a bit of walking). The best part was that Clara managed to stay awake for the whole thing – even the ride home!
Last two photos courtesy of Richmond Sportsbackers