We talk about Richmond a lot. It’s the Capital of Virginia, and also our home base for Keep Virginia Beautiful. It’s a great area, rich in history, with an amazing blend of people, and opportunities to touch the great outdoors quite literally at our fingertips.
The Hollywood Rapids on the James River in Downtown Richmond is the best urban whitewater in North America. Thought you should know that.
Richmond also has several neighborhoods with distinct character. It’s somewhat akin to the Boroughs of New York. Church Hill, the Fan, the Museum District, Scott’s Addition, Jackson Ward, all bring a certain flair, and seem to unite Richmond by bringing a diversity of people, architecture, food, and more.
One of those neighborhoods is Carytown. This barely-mile-long strip of shops and restaurants has something for everyone. While there are some national retailers who call Carytown home, the majority a private businesses, mom & pop shops, bringing their own eclectic flair to clothing, jewelry, records and CDs, toys, and everything else under the sun. The merchants of Carytown help to sponsor a few great events every year, like a Sidewalk Chalk Art Day, and an annual Zombie Walk. But their signature event is the annual Watermelon Festival.
The Watermelon Festival is a partnership between Carytown, Publix, and The Shriners. Money raised by selling watermelons and slices of the delicious fruit (is watermelon a fruit?) goes towards the Shriners Hospitals for Children. There is music, jugglers, vendors, and all of the local merchants throw open their doors for the thousands who come each year.
Carytown isn’t the only group in town that has great partners. We do too.
The Richmond City Councilman for Carytown is Parker Agelasto. He is also a big supporter of Keep Virginia Beautiful, and is a booster for any sort of cleanup that takes place around Richmond. He worked with us and our fabulous supporters, Capital One, to organize a cleanup and beautification project in Carytown just prior to the Watermelon Festival. Virginia State Senator Jennifer McClellan came to show her support and offer some words of encouragement. Capital One sent a team of around 110 volunteers to pick up litter, remove graffiti, scrape stickers from signs, and more. The fine folks at Scotts Miracle-Gro teamed up with our long-time partners at Lowe’s Home Improvement to donate a ton of mulch to line the tree beds along Cary Street. The Richmond Community ToolBank helped, as did RVA Clean Sweep and Keep Virginia Cozy. Our volunteers picked up over 9,000 cigarette butts, and we’re now working with the Carytown merchants to offer cigarette receptacles as part of a long-term solution.
With the help of all of these amazing supporters, who – combined – gave hundreds of hours of volunteer time, we were able to make a tremendous impact on Carytown. The people who came to enjoy that slice of Virginia – and a slice of watermelon – experienced the best our Commonwealth has to offer.