RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The City of Richmond is kicking off the holiday season with two big events Friday night!
The city has taken over the production of the Grand Illumination which was held at the James Center. It will now be called “RVA Illuminates” and take place at Kanawha Plaza.
However, that 34 year old tradition now enters it’s 35th year with a new addition.
“That new addition will be Shockoe Illuminates which will be held at the 17th Street Farmers Market,” said Priscilla Wright, city-wide special events coordinator for Richmond Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities. "Our goal is to remind people that the Bottom is open, ready for business.
Since the major revamp of the farmers market, the city has been looking for ways to get more visitors to the area.
"People are really excited to come downtown,” said Alex Palma, an employee at Carmela’s Pizza. “I think Richmond has needed an area like this."
Palma works at Carmela’s Pizza, a restaurant that’s been open in Shockoe Bottom since June. He said the restaurant, as well as others in the area, are ready for Shockoe Illuminates.
“It’s exciting,” he said. “To bring life down here like that - it’s exciting for all the businesses to be able to share with all of Richmond something new!”
On Friday from 4 p.m. – 9 p.m., you’ll be able to get a holiday experience in the market.
"It's definitely going to have a whole holiday vibe from Paris or Germany or wherever you felt the most holiday market experience from, but with a Richmond twist," Wright said. "Santa, holiday vendors… you'll be able to get your holiday shopping started, grab a wreath, in addition to enjoying the restaurants and bars that are a huge part of this event.”
Speaking of bars - you'll be able to carry those beverages around with you… outside!
“Basically, you can buy a drink at Rosie’s or Hot Chick and then come out and enjoy the event while enjoying your holiday beverage,” Wright said.
According to Wright, the Shockoe Bottom Neighborhood Association obtained the first-ever open container permit in the state, allowing this opportunity to happen for Shockoe Illuminates.
“We’ll have some drink specials, some food specials,” Palma said.
The event will also have free horse carriage rides provided by Venture Richmond. That group will hold other carriage rides throughout the month of December, but for a cost.
As for “RVA Illuminates,” that event is from 5:45 p.m. – 7 p.m. over at Kanawha Plaza. Plenty of food trucks, performances from the Miles Jones Elementary School Hand Bell Choir, No BS! Brass Band and City Dance Theatre will take place at that new location.
Mayor Levar Stoney will also flip the switch at 6 p.m., lighting up the downtown skyline.
Several other events are expected to take place across RVA throughout the month of December, including the Richmond Night Market and the Richmond Boat Parade of Lights on Dec. 14.
For a list of more events taking place across RVA, click here!
NBC12 will have live coverage of RVA Illuminates and Shockoe Illuminates on Friday, Dec. 6 starting at 4 p.m.
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