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Carytown Watermelon Festival Visitor Tips

Photo Credit: Steve Evens, Wikimedia
The Carytown Watermelon Festival in August sells 3,000 watermelons and attracts 115,000 people, making it the largest one-day festival in the state of Virginia.

The festival takes place in Carytown, a popular shopping and dining district near downtown Richmond.

The official festival address is 3126 W. Cary St., although vendor booths and performer stages line the street for several blocks.

Richmond is in Central Virginia about an hour and 45 minute drive from Virginia Beach and just under two hours from Washington, D.C. From Roanoke, Richmond is about a three-hour drive.

Watermelon Festival Parking


The festival site along West Cary Street is closed to all traffic except for pedestrians.

Around West Cary, the best parking is available for early visitors to the festival. Late morning and early to mid afternoon are the worst times for parking.

Most visitors reach West Cary Street from I-195. They are usually directed off Cary and onto South Thompson Street to find an available space.

Most of the available spaces lie within four or five blocks north of Cary Street on residential streets.

Some visitors go from the I-195 exit northwest on Cary Street Road away from the festival to find parking among those residential streets.

A few store parking lots open their space for visitors to the festival, but they fill early. Residential street parking is the best option for almost everyone.

City Parking Deck


Early visitors can go from Thompson Street to right on Floyd Avenue, go about five blocks and take a right on South Sheppard Street.

They then take a left to reach a small city parking deck at 18 North Colonial Avenue. Note that Colonial goes only south and away from Cary.

Late morning and early afternoon visitors will find a spot on the parking deck only if they are lucky.



This map shows the normal route from I-195 to the city parking deck. On festival day, visitors must use Floyd Avenue instead of Cary Street.


Hours and Admission


The Carytown Watermelon Festival is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is free.

Visitors to the festival are advised to bring cash, as there are plenty of things to buy at the festival. Plenty of food and drink is available for purchase.

Only a few of the vendors at the festival accept credit cards.

Activities


The Carytown Watermelon Festival is mostly about vendors and plenty of live music. But of course it’s also about watermelons. Several watermelon stands sell refreshing samples of the fruit for only $1.

This fruit of the hour is served at various stands around the festival. All proceeds from watermelon sales will benefit the Shriner’s Children’s Hospital.

The festival hosts about 60 musicians and performers. Concerts and performances will take place throughout the day, providing a steady stream of entertainment. A handful of lone musicians will sit on the sidewalk and play for passers by.

The festival is attended by more than 100 exhibitors from Richmond and the state of Virginia. These exhibitors set up stands and information booths for visitors to the festival.

Vendors include arts and crafts, resale specialists, nonprofits and professional services.

Food vendors will also be on site at the festival, selling everything from samples and spices to fully cooked meals.

Alcohol is not sold at the festival, but several restaurants nearby do serve it. On the day of the festival, some restaurants even serve watermelon cocktails.

Kids’ Zone


The Carytown Watermelon Festival is dedicated to providing a fun experience for children. To do this, festival coordinators have developed one of the largest Kid’s Zone of any festival in the state.

The Kid’s Zone features bounce houses, games, face painting, and mazes.

The Carytown Watermelon Festival is fun and exciting way for a family to spend a summer day together.

Date(s): Sunday, Aug. 14 -
Hours: 10 a.m.- 6 p.m.
Location: Richmond
Address: 3126 W. Cary St, 23221
Web site: http://www.carytownrva.org/
Cost: Free admission
Latitude: 37.540725
Longitude: -77.436048
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