The Richmond Folk Festival

As the dancers of the Zuni Olla Maidens entered the performance space, balancing decorated ceramic pots called Olla on their heads, they transformed their ancestors’ essential, life-giving work of carrying water from the river into an eloquent dance tradition. The dance originates from Zuni, New Mexico.
Photo Credit: Ali Merchant

The Richmond Folk Festival is one of Virginia’s largest events, drawing visitors from all over the country to downtown Richmond’s historic riverfront. The Festival is a free three-day event that got its start as the National Folk Festival held in Richmond from 2005-2007.

This year’s Richmond Folk Festival featured performing groups representing a diverse array of cultural traditions on seven stages.This year’s festival occurred from Friday, October 12 to Sunday, October 15th, 2018.

Many groups came from places such as Turkey, Indonesia, New Mexico, and different parts of the United States. The festival also featured many different cuisines such as traditional ramen and grilled alligator. 

“The alligator tastes kind of like teriyaki chicken,” said ICERV Volunteer Azim Ladhani. “I’ve been doing this for the past three years and I love it! The feeling I get from serving my community is incomparable to anything else.” This year, he volunteered on the green team, a group of people who walk around the nine-mile-long festival and clean up the trash that has been scattered around Brown’s Island.

Many vendors attended the Folk Festival and brought their special cuisine with them. Foods ranged from the classic Burger and Fries of America, to Dumplings from China, and even Chicken Masala and Samosas from India.
Photo Credit: Ali Merchant

The Folk Festival featured many voluntary service opportunities such as fundraising, merchandise sales, safety escorts, and the green team. The festival ran all day and the opportunities for service, food, and fun were endless, from trying new foods to listening to creative music.

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