Richmond’s First Friday events invite the city to experience art, music, and community. Last night I had the BEST time exploring Manchester’s First Friday block party, the PLF Pyro Circus at Gallery5, and checking out the new Halloween pop-up bar at SWITCH. Richmond is the greatest and I’m constantly in awe of all of the amazing things to do in my city.
Manchester Manifest First Friday’s Southside
I’ve been to several First Friday events on 12th street in the Manchester neighborhood of Richmond. All of them have been wonderful, and last night was no exception. Truthfully, last night was one of the best ones I’ve been to in a long time! The street was alive with music, art, vendors, and food. Neighbors were out enjoying the beautiful (and thankfully cooler) weather together and that’s what First Fridays is all about. I discovered a kickass vintage shop – La Lolita Vintage – that drove up from Virginia Beach to be part of the event. I scored a PHENOMENAL PLAID BLAZER that’s straight out of Clueless and I couldn’t be more stoked. Check them out on Instagram: @lalolitavintage
PLF Pyro Circus Carnival of 5 Fires at Gallery 5
HOLY SHIT. This event absolutely punched me in the face with awesomeness. It was MAGNIFICENT for so many reasons. Party Liberation Front (PLF) has been doing incredibly cool things around the city for a long time. I went to their famous New Year’s Eve shindig at Diversity Richmond a few years ago and was hooked. They’ve been doing the Carnival of 5 Fires for the past 14 years. The live art event showcases fire performers, DJs, circus arts, dance and visual projections. It is beautiful and it is mesmerizing.
In addition to the fantastic music and fire performances, this year the event featured a live performance from SINISTERIA! If you’re a Richmonder who’s not familiar, Sinisteria is a Haunted House that started in the home of two tattoo artists but is now becoming a tattoo parlor/haunted house combo. Yes, a haunted house that’s operated inside of a tattoo parlor. Only in Richmond. I love it. (Read more about Sinisteria: https://richmondbizsense.com/2019/07/30/tattoo-parlor-haunted-house-combo-slated-downtown/ )
Sinisteria brought down the block with their creepy live performance of a witchy ritual / demon possession. It was spectacular.
Gallery5 is the perfect backdrop for this event and Richmond never feels cooler than this night. The stretch of Adams and Marshall Street feels like a completely different world. A community where everyone is free to express themselves and everyone appreciates the diverse performances. It is a must do. Highly recommended.
HAUNT Pop-Up Bar at SWITCH
SWITCH is Richmond’s first and only true pop-up bar. The popular spot on Broad Street opened in 2019 and has attracted a following largely thanks to their highly Instagrammable environment. SWITCH is a two story bar with different concepts on each level. The bar began with the upstairs being an Alice in Wonderland theme and the basement level being all about 1993 (complete with a Biggie Smalls mural that nearly everyone in Richmond has posted on social media).
SWITCH got into the spirit for Halloween and now the 1993 level has been replaced with HAUNT: a Halloween bar. I enjoyed the menu of fun, spooky cocktails (we chose the Jonestown Punch, so I guess you can say we drank the Kool-Aid). The excitement that Richmond has a dedicated Halloween bar trumps my wish that they had taken it even further. It’s truly awesome that this place exists. I just found myself wanting them to utilize every nook and cranny of their space to truly deck it out for Halloween. But I’m a little Halloween obsessed. I will say they did a terrific job of incorporating spooky props and a fun wall of “missing people”. They even had staff members dress up like deranged, bloody, spider-filled camp counselors who walked around scaring people. Like I said, I’m just thrilled this spot exists.
There’s so much to do in Richmond this October. Get out and explore if you’re in the area. A quick events search on Facebook or Google should give you plenty of options to choose from. This city is amazing – get out and support what’s going on!