Delightful Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

Delightful Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
Delightful Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
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There’s no doubt about it: Richmonders are beyond frugal – we’re downright cheap. We love to get quality entertainment and recreation without forking up for it and, lucky for us, there’s a packed list of priceless (in all senses of the word) examples of no-money-needed amenities available year-round.


On this edition of the Sevens, we look at the life on the cheap in River City. You don’t need to be broke to live here and have fun, but it helps.


1. The Richmond Folk Festival

The 3-day riverfront event in October features first-rate musical and cultural entertainment from across the globe — from bluegrass and funk to Celtic music and Tuvan Throat Singing (?). Yeah, I’m on the local programming committee and, accordingly, you should take this blurb with a grain of salt… but since the event is now the best-attended folk music festival in the nation, I should be forgiven my hubris.


Richmond Folk Festival


2. Dogwood Dell

Every summer for 57 years, the outdoor stage at Dogwood Dell has come alive with free entertainment, professionally-mounted plays and musicals (like “Footloose,” scheduled for July 26-28), kid’s shows, juggling, dance exhibitions and more. There’s a lot to complain about in Richmond politics, but the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation — especially in their efforts here – can be something to celebrate.


3. First Fridays

You can argue that this popular downtown stroll is not what it once was (a neighborhood association now runs it rather than its founding arts administrator), but this monthly self-guided tour of the Broad Street arts galleries still offers up prime people-watching and, occasionally, even some noteworthy art.


4. Richmond City Pools

Hot child in the city? Not only are 10 free swimming pools scattered across Richmond — seven outdoor, three indoor — they are currently being upgraded with mini-water parks and fountains and renovated facilities. The wet look is in, no money down.





5. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

You wouldn’t think I would have to mention this, but there’s a perception out there that there is an admission fee to get into the VMFA, one of the 10 greatest art museums in the country and a swell public space besides. There isn’t an admission fee, folks. Although some of the special traveling exhibits do come at a price, like the current Tom Westermann Pop Art exhibit (well worth the ticket), you can still view the museum’s own amazing collections for free. For instance, did you know that the VMFA) has one of the world’s best collection of art deco artifacts available for view, for free? Read my recent feature story in Virginia Living and find out more:


6. Silent Music Revival

This bi-monthly event (usually presented at the downtown Gallery5) isn’t just a swell time for cinephiles, it’s also a prime way to get exposed to great local music. Here, under the care of curator Jameson Price, you get to watch a classic silent movie reworked with a brand new soundtrack by a local Richmond performer or band. Post-modern deconstruction was never so much fun, or so cheap (all screenings are free).

Silent Music Revival-The-Mechanical-Man

Silent no more


7. The James River

Spend a day at Belle Isle, it’s good for you. Just don’t paint on the rocks, please. Not every city has a free river running through it – it’s just one more reason we’re so spoiled and why we expect to get the good stuff for nothing.

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