Gift giveaways, visits from Santa, live performances, and more are set to bring holiday cheer to Richmond’s downtown this Wednesday when the third annual Downtown Holiday Festival kicks off.
A collaboration between the East Bay Center of Performing Arts and the Richmond Main Street Initiative, the festival has the joint mission of bringing the community together for the holidays and revitalizing the city’s downtown corridor.
“We’re inviting families in the neighborhood to have that kind of magical memory making experience,” says Alicia Gallo of Richmond Main Street Initiative.
Performers from the East Bay Center will put on two shows of “The Nutcracker,” with an array of multicultural performances taking place between.
To Gallo, the Downtown Holiday Festival highlights the positive changes happening in the neighborhood.
“Events like this are part of the revitalization of downtown,” she says.
Beyond fostering a sense of community and pride in the downtown area, the Holiday Festival works to make a visual impact upon the neighborhood with its tree lighting ceremony. After the last performance of “The Nutcracker”, the audience will be led in a La Rama procession, a Latino tradition where participants carry decorated tree branches, outside for caroling before lights spanning Harbour Way to 16th Street will be illuminated.
The lights work to bring a holiday spirit to the neighborhood that will last after the events of the day come to a close, and they serve the double purpose of making the streets safer to walk on at night as well.
Over 400 families are anticipated to attend the Downtown Holiday Festival, with many of them hailing from the nearby Iron Triangle neighborhood. As the festival grows into a local tradition, Richmond Main Street Initiative and the East Bay Center expect the event continue spreading holiday cheer in the city’s downtown corridor.
What: The Downtown Holiday Festival
When: Wednesday, December 16, from 4 pm to 8 pm
Where: The East Bay Center for Performing Arts, 339 11th Street, Downtown Richmond
Click here to learn more
Photo: Ellen Gailing