Life After Dark

How can it be May already? And yet it is… which means that many will “celebrate” Cinco de Mayo. You know - the holiday where many Americans eat Mexican food, have a margarita, and wonder what Cinco de Mayo is actually about. Cinco de Mayo (the fifth of May) is a holiday that celebrates Mexico’s victory over France in 1862. Oddly, although it isn’t considered a major holiday in Mexico, it has – much like St. Patrick’s Day – grown to be a holiday that many Americans celebrate, especially in areas with high Mexican-American populations. The annual ¿Qué Pasa? Festival, sponsored by the Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, is a perfect opportunity to celebrate Virginia’s Latin America’s communities and culture. Held Saturday, May 4 from 11am – 7pm on Richmond’s Canal Walk (Canal Walk & Virginia Street), the festival features a market, a beer garden, Latin food trucks, educational displays, boat rides, and entertainment on the Canal Stage. The festival is free, and the perfect way to celebrate Virginia’s vibrant Latin community and merchants this Cinco de Mayo weekend! Visit for more information.

Are you searching for a unique Mother’s Day experience? I can think of nothing better than Mother’s Day Brunch at Dover Hall (1500 Manakin Road, Manakin-Sabot, VA) - the 38,000 square-foot stunning “castle” located just minutes from Short Pump. The event will feature a brunch prepared by Executive Chef Lee Hendrickson, featuring eggs benedict, shrimp and grits, tenderloin and salmon carving stations, Belgian waffles and much more – including kid-friendly options. Perfect for mothers and children of all ages! Visit Dover Hall’s Facebook page for a link to purchase tickets, which range in price from $30 (for children ages 3-12) to $60 (for adults). Children 2 and under are free. Brunch buffet opens at 11:30am, and seating is communal-style. Finally, capture the special day with a family portrait in the beautiful Grand Ballroom. Mom won’t soon forget this Mother’s Day present!

Would you like to meet some of the River City Magazine staff? Come meet the crew at River City Magazine Night at The Wine Loft in Short Pump on Thursday, May 16 from 8 – 10pm. There will be live music from Kari Smith (yours truly!), bar specials, giveaways, and a chance to pick up your copy of the May / June issue of River City Magazine. We can’t wait to meet you!

You know it’s officially time for outdoor live music when Richmond’s Friday Cheers is back in session! This year marks the 35th anniversary of the event, which showcases national and regional acts. The summer concert series draws thousands of people to Richmond’s beautiful, park-like Brown’s Island (470 Tredegar Street, Richmond) every Friday from 6:00 – 9:30pm in May and June. The family-friendly event offers $5 or $10 tickets for adults, and children under 12 are admitted free of charge. Visit for a complete lineup of this year’s artists. The season kicks off with Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real with Landon Elliot, who was featured in RiverCity Magazine’s March / April feature in Backstage with Davy Jones. Tickets available at

Richmond’s own Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens has been ranked among the best botanical gardens in the country, and now is the perfect time to visit. Between April 1 and June 1, the Gardens are celebrating A Million Blooms. On May’s bloom calendar: peonies, iris, azaleas, and pitcher plants; in June: lotuses and roses. Among activities in those months are Mother’s Day Weekend, Spring PlantFest, Butterflies LIVE!, and many activities in the Children’s Gardens. Children’s activities include a 13-foot wheelchair-accessible tree house to climb, the Adventure Pathway, WaterPlay, the Farm Garden, the Discovery Breezeway, the Garden Keeper’s Cottage, and many more. Annual family memberships available – whether you have children, or would like to gift a membership to someone with kids, this is the perfect way to keep those little ones off the couch, and out from behind those screens this summer! For more details, visit their website ( or visit the Botanical Gardens (1800 Lakeside Avenue, Richmond) daily from 9am – 5pm.

Ya vienen Las Ardillas Voladoras! And what, pray tell, does that mean? Well, it means that Richmond’s beloved Flying Squirrels are joining Minor League Baseball’s initiative Copa de la Diversión (Fun Cup) for each of the 11 Friday home games during the 2019 season! This initiative aims to engage with fans in order to build outreach into Hispanic communities and honor Latin culture in the Richmond area. During each of these games, the Ardillas Voladoras (Flying Squirrels) players will sport their Latin-alter-ego green and blue uniforms and logos. Music, food, entertainment, and giveaways will all have Latin themes during these nights. Giveaways include wrestling socks and capes, soccer scarfs, and luchador masks. Even Squirrels’ mascot Nutzy gets in on the action, with a snazzy new lucha libre uniform! Fans can also purchase Ardillas-themed t-shirts, hats, and hoodies on the team’s website. A dual-language website has been newly launched (, enabling both English- and Spanish-speaking fans can buy tickets. Tickets are also available in person before each game at The Diamond (3001 N. Arthur Ashe Boulevard, Richmond.) I’m also honored to announce that RiverCity Magazine’s own staff writer, yours truly ( will be singing the National Anthem to open the June 12 Flying Squirrels game at 6:35pm. I hope to see you there!

If you’re feeling up for a trip off the beaten path, and you’re a Beatles fan, you’re in for a treat! The Broadberry Entertainment Group presents Britishmania: A Beatles Tribute at the newly remodeled Ashland Theatre (205 England Street, Ashland, VA) on Friday, May 17. Doors open at 6:30pm, the show begins at 7:30pm, and tickets range from $30 - $50. The band has performed at hundreds of venues, and walks you through the career of the Beatles, including their well-known hits and some B-sides. The newly renovated Theatre features state of the art lighting and audio, and a limited number of box seats. Book early for the best ticket selection! Visit for details and ticket sales.

That wraps up this edition of Life After Dark! As always, my live music schedule is on my website ( with this month’s featured venue being The Wine Loft (4035 Whittall Way, Glen Allen). I’ll be there every Thursday in May and June, with live music weekly from 8 - 10pm.

Kari Smith is a professional musician and writer whose winding path has led her through Nashville for a decade, and now back to her native Richmond, Virginia. Follow Kari’s writing adventures at, or