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Virginia's Leading Summer Extravaganza at the Carytown Watermelon Festival

Richmond is a top vacation destination in the state of Virginia due to its storied history, breathtaking scenery at every turn and a culture and style you won't find anywhere else.


The city is the epicenter for fun activities and attractions, from an unmatched culinary scene to historical buildings that date back to colonial times. If you're a foodie, get ready for the experience of a lifetime. The dining options here are diverse and have been recognized by National Geographic and Conde Nast for being among the nation's best. Try visiting locations such as Peter Chang China Cafe, L’Oppossum and Mama J’s. Richmond is steadily becoming a hub for craft breweries, wineries, cideries and the speciality bars that serve up the unique creations. Take a tour of local brewing facilities or just relax and enjoy a tasty beverage. Stop by Stone Brewing Co. Richmond, Hardywood, Center of the Universe, Garden Grove, and Triple Crossing and you’ll see why this is such a hotbed for craft brewing. Richmond is the ideal location for a great outdoor events and festivals like the Carytown Watermelon Festival.


The Carytown Watermelon Festival is one of Virginia's largest annual festivals with over 120,000 people expected in attendance. The festival has been the top family-centric event in the region for the past 33 years. Carytown is located in the heart of Richmond and features a vibrant atmosphere, great stores, renowned restaurants and more. During the event, Carytown explodes with activity, street vendors and performers, live music playing at multiple venues, and of course as much watermelon as you can handle. The festival is great for families, couples, singles, groups and friends. You can explore the shops, buy unique items, meet new people and sample delicious food. Make the journey to the Carytown Watermelon Festival; it will be an experience you won't forget! got the opportunity to interview Michael Garber, Director of Exhibitor & Vendor Services for Three One One Productions, LLC, to talk about the Carytown Watermelon Festival.


RAL: Tell me a little bit about the event.

MG: This is the 33rd year the Carytown Watermelon Festival. This year we are expecting a big turnout of between 120,000 and 150,000 people.


RAL: What is the typical demographic makeup of the event? Children? Families? Couples?

MG: The event attracts all demographics. It’s family-friendly with the inclusion of the Kid’s Area in Sponsor Row, located in the center of the festival. The event attracts millennials and young couples thanks to the variety of watermelon themed food and drink specials provided by a majority of the Carytown restaurants. Food Truck foodies will definitely be pleased with this year's selection of food vendors as well. We’re blessed with over 200 vendors, and the majority of them are artisans selling handmade jewelry, art, clothing, vases, and more. The variety of shopping is simply unparalleled.


RAL: What makes this event unique?

MG: The Carytown Watermelon Festival is the largest outdoor festival in Virginia, drawing between 120-150,000 people. There are roughly 200 vendors providing unique food, art, jewelry, etc. Each vendor is chosen based on their singularity. No two vendors will be selling the same thing, so we encourage all festival goers to check out every unique vendor. This is an event that raises money for the Carytown Merchants Association to help us keep Carytown the unique and amazing community it has grown into. We care for green spaces and the community as a whole here with the help of the Association. Also, the Shriners are able to raise a substantial amount through the sale of Watermelon to bolster Shriners Hospital.


RAL: What can attendees expect to find for activities?

MG: There are five stages, including the main stage, with around 50 local and national performers throughout the entire day. Last year, we did a beer garden for the first year, and we’re happy to announce its return as well as a wine garden (first time ever). The beer garden will again include selections from Carytown’s very own brewery: Garden Grove.


There will also be several activities in the kids area. We’re happy to provide face-painting, as well as many interactive rides from Jump Works. Jump Works is bringing their Spider Climb, Jungle Climb, and Flying Dragons ride in addition to multiple inflatables.


RAL: Tell me about the dining options.

MG: Aside from the variety of local food trucks and vendors, many of the Carytown Restaurants will be selling special items at the festival as a booth vendor and/or featuring several specials for festival goers at their actual storefront.


RAL: What is the overall environment like?

MG: Great food, music, entertainment, and all the watermelon you can eat!


RAL: Does this drive business to your local economy?

MG: This event draws lots of new people to local Carytown Merchants. With the influx visitors, our businesses are bound to see a boost. Many of our local stores, restaurants and businesses, really look forward to this time of year.


RAL: Why should people come to your event?

MG: The range and variety of vendors and merchants drives most people to come. Carytown on its own is a top destination for people who travel to Richmond. The shopping and dining is second to none and you won't have trouble finding things to do. Come out and join us, you’ll have a great time, meet new people and you get the chance to eat as much watermelon as possible

For more information about the Carytown Watermelon Festival, please visit their website.