Top 5 Family-Friendly FREE Festivals in RVA and One to Get a Babysitter For


One of the things I love most about Richmond is that there’s something going on nearly every weekend. Starting around St. Patrick’s Day that means lots of festivals!

We’ve made the rounds with our two little ones so I’ve rounded up my picks for most family-friendly festivals… and one you can’t miss but you might want to get a babysitter for. While all of the festivals I picked are free to get into, be prepared to pay for food, etc.

Lebanese Food Festival

May 18 – 20, 2018 | 10am – 10pm (8pm on Sunday)| St. Anthony’s Maronite Catholic Church, 4611 Sadler Rd., Glen Allen, VA 23060

Parking is a breeze since this festival is out in the Innsbrook area with a huge lot in front. There’s tons of shade and a playground my kids love. There’s always a lot of kids and families. Oh, and did I mention the amazing food? It’s seriously delicious.

Bring a blanket for a picnic under the trees or snag a table in the pavilion so you can watch the dancing. This is a great one to do with your friends and their kids as there’s plenty of room for the kids to run and play while you relax. We didn’t need the stroller but sometimes it’s nice to keep our stuff in so we can be a little more mobile. 

Dominion Energy River Rock

May 18 – 20, 2018 | Brown’s Island

Parking is the worst part about this event since it’s on Brown’s Island, but the setting is perfect.

Be prepared to walk and bring a stroller.

Once you’re there, the festival is big and exciting for kids. My daughter and I took a kayak ride (for FREE!) in the canal. She loved watching the slackline and the Air Dogs competition where dogs jump as far as they can into a pool of water. There’re lots of demos you and the kids can try.

It’s on Brown’s Island so the kids can run around pretty easily. Last year we took a stroll across the Potterfield Pedestrian Bridge before heading home. 

Richmond Vegetarian Festival

Saturday, June 23, 2018 | Noon – 6pm | Azalea Gardens in Bryan Park

Held in the Azalea Gardens of Bryan Park this is another shady spot the kids seem to love. There are lots of yummy food trucks and booths to visit along with a stage. I think the venue is what sells this one. We bring the stroller and a blanket to relax and enjoy the surroundings.

Carytown Watermelon Festival

Sunday, August 21, 2018 | 10am – 6pm |Carytown

One of my favorites is the Carytown Watermelon Festival. The watermelon is cheap, there’s a huge section with kids activities that cost a little extra but was money well spent. Parking can be a bit of a hassle near Carytown, but we’ve always found a spot somewhat close and have had no problems taking the stroller.

It’s usually in August, so it’s nice to duck into the air-conditioned stores of Carytown for a little break from the heat.

St. Paddy’s Palooza 

Stay tuned for 2019 dates! | Innsbrook Pavilion 

This is one to put on the calendar for next year. There’s a stage and a HUGE kids area. Think pony rides, petting zoo, bounce house, etc. This year they even had a hot air balloon cave which is basically a hot air balloon half blown up on it’s side on the ground with a ball pit inside. Parking at the Innsbrook pavilion is easy, there are a ton of food trucks and lots of activities for the kids.

Get a babysitter: RVA Greek Festival

Thursday, May 31 – June 3, 2018 | Sts. Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 30 Malvern Ave., Richmond

This is hands down my favorite food festival. I dream about the moussaka. Seriously. But the food lines tend to get long.

Parking in the Near West End is tight and so is the space. I’ve taken a stroller and it’s not fun. Super hard to navigate and nowhere to put it if you’re lucky enough to find a table to sit under the tent and eat.

My advice – get a sitter and a few friends and go at night. It’s cooler, you can get some of the most delicious food you’ll find in Richmond and enjoy a bottle of wine with the traditional Greek entertainment. 

General tips for RVA festival going:

  • Bring a water bottle. Richmond gets hot in the summer and waiting in line while your kid is thirsty is no fun.
  • Be patient about parking. All of these festivals are popular and draw a big crowd. We rarely, if ever, pay for parking. A stroller helps. So does patience.
  • If your child is picky or has food allergies, bring food with you. There are lots of available options at all of the festivals but sometimes with little ones who have specific needs, it’s less time consuming and easier to pack a little with you.