Thursday, February 25, 2016

Celebrate Jackson Ward Festival to be Held May 20-22


Joined by First Lady of Virginia, Dorothy McAuliffe, Charles Samuels, Richmond City Council, 2nd District, Marilyn West, Chair of the Black History Museum, Dr. Levy Armwood, Jr., Pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church, and Steven Smith, Music Director of the Richmond Symphony, Mayor Dwight Jones announced on Thursday, Feb. 25 a special festival celebrating the people, places and history of Richmond’s historic Jackson Ward.  Celebrate Jackson Ward: Past Present and Future, to be held on May 20-22 in Abner Clay Park, will showcase the unique history of Jackson Ward. The festival will be anchored by the Richmond Symphony and will host performances from various individuals and organizations under the new “Big Tent”.

"I am pleased that we will again partner with the Richmond Symphony to highlight another part of our great city. The Jackson Ward Festival also provides the opportunity for more of the city’s musical and cultural groups to experience performing under the Big Tent, while the event itself will leave a lasting impression on future generations," says Mayor Dwight C. Jones. "Jackson Ward has had such a tremendous impact in the shaping of the Richmond region, and I’m happy the City can be a partner in a festival that will celebrate this historic neighborhood."

Celebrate Jackson Ward will kick off Friday, May 20 with ART 180's spring program celebration, The Really BIG Show. This celebration will spotlight artwork created by young people at a dozen ART 180 program sites this spring. Saturday, May 21 will feature a variety of performances including: a children’s performance from Virginia Repertory Theatre, the Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra, various local performing arts groups and storytellers, and will be anchored by a performance of the Richmond Symphony with Virginia Repertory Theatre and Elegba Folklore Society.  The festival will conclude on Sunday, May 22 with performances by local church choirs, liturgical dancers, and a mass ecumenical service representing several of Jackson Ward’s churches.

The festival is intended to attract thousands of people from throughout the region over the course of the weekend.  Local restaurants, craft beer, vendors, businesses and non-profits will also be featured.  Festival admittance is free and open to the public.

In addition to festival performances and activities, the event is designed to create a lasting and positive benefit in the Jackson Ward Neighborhood.  To that end, proceeds from the festival will benefit the Friends Association for Children, The Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia and G.W. Carver Elementary School. 

Sponsor, business partnership and individual support opportunities are also available.  For more information, please visit celebratejacksonwardrva.com or call 804-788-4717.