Life After Dark

River City Magazine – September / October 2019

Sadly, the summer is over – although I doubt any of us are missing those triple-digit temps. School is back in session, but there are still great opportunities for entertainment! In this issue of Life After Dark, we’ll cover some of my picks for the best events in RVA for the Fall, before and after the sun goes down.

As children lament and parents rejoice that school is back in session, keep the learning going with Science After Dark at the Science Museum of Virginia (2500 West Broad Street, Richmond) on Friday, September 20. Pupils of all ages are welcome at this event! All of the Museum’s exhibits will be open, and there will be hands-on activities for the kids. In the Dome, there will be all-live Cosmic Expeditions showings at 6:30 and 7:15pm, followed by a showing of Goonies at 8pm. Come early – only the first 250 guests will be admitted. Afterwards, join the Richmond Astronomical Society outside for a bit of stargazing. Check out for more information and ticket prices.

Nashville is the mecca of live music, and I must say that seeing Stevie Wonder perform was one of my top 3 shows in the decade I lived there. Even though Stevie’s not rolling through the River City any time soon, we can still enjoy Broadberry Entertainment Group’s Natural Wonder – The Ultimate Stevie Wonder Experience, which will be Signed, Sealed, and Delivered to the Ashland Theatre (205 England Street) on Saturday, September 14th. While most wouldn’t dare try to imitate The Great Stevie Wonder, #1 Billboard-ranked vocalist Gabriel Bello and Natural Wonder do it brilliantly including the highly-necessary horn ensemble and tight rhythm section. Sing along to your favorite Stevie songs in the newly renovated Ashland Theatre. Doors open at 6:30pm, music begins at 7:30pm. Box seats are available for $45; general admission tickets are $20. Visit for more details.

Do you have the golden ticket? If not, go ahead to the Broadway in Richmond website ( to buy YOUR ticket to Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – The New Musical, showing at Richmond’s Altria Theater (6 North Laurel Street, Richmond). Relive those childhood movie memories of Charlie Bucket, Willie Wonka, the Oompa-Loompa’s – even the glass elevator! The whole family is invited to this show – although for your parental sanity, kindly note the 2 hour and 30 minute (with intermission) run time. Show dates are September 17 – 22, and tickets are available for purchase online, starting at $39.50.

“Come on down!” YOU could be the next contestant on The Price is Right Live™ - also on stage at Richmond’s Altria Theater. It’s happening at 7:30pm on Tuesday, September 24, and this is your opportunity watch live from the audience, or even register to play. Read the small print carefully – in order to register for your chance at being called to Spin the Big Wheel, you must arrive at the venue three hours prior to show time for registration. Complete details and ticket sales (starting at $38.50) available online at

RVA music lovers, mark your calendar: the 2019 Richmond Folk Festival, presented by Venture Richmond Events, is coming to town! This free three-day event on Richmond’s riverfront begins October 11, and features an array of various folk artists representing diverse cultures on seven stages. Entertainment includes music, dance, ethnic foods, festival merchandise, an art marketplace, interactive Family Area, and more. For more information, visit If you’re a longtime Richmond Folk Festival attendee, they have a treat for you! This year, the festival has released a unique compilation album to celebrate the Festival’s 15th anniversary which includes tracks recorded live over the years since the Festival first came to Richmond in 2005. The album can be pre-ordered online, can be found at Plan 9 and other local record stores, or purchased at the event in CD or vinyl form.

While images of warm beaches and bright sunshine fade into pumpkin patches and fall festivals, Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens (1800 Lakeside Avenue, Richmond) presents Goblins and Gourds – a harvest celebration for the whole family. The event features live music from the Sweet Potatoes, the Richmond Indigenous Gourd Orchestra (you gotta see it to believe it!), make-and-take pumpkin painting (while supplies last), story-telling, and more. It all takes place on Sunday, October 20, from 10:00am – 3:00pm. The event is covered by your Regular Garden Admission. See for more info. While you’re there, fly over to Butterflies LIVE!, presented by M&T Bank, in the Conservatory’s North Wing. The beautiful exhibit featuring hundreds of butterflies flying around you is perfect for all ages, and available until October 14. Details about all of these Lewis Ginter offerings and membership information can be found at

I don’t know if it’s the fact that I was born in the fall, but something about cooler temperatures, leaves changing colors, and putting on a warm sweater for an outdoor fall event just makes me happy. Add in live music and family fun – it just doesn’t get much better! If this sounds like the perfect autumn event to you, head out to Castle Glen Winery’s first annual Fall Harvest Festival on Saturday, October 26 from noon to 6pm. Tickets can be purchased online or at the gate. Bring the kids, dogs, lawn chairs and blankets for this rain or shine event. There will be live music under the big tent by The Kenzie Kincaid Band, as well as an array of vendors including four wineries (Castle Glen Winery, Lake Anna Winery, and Sassafras Shade Vineyards), a cidery (Cobbler Mountain), and multiple food trucks. If doing things for a good cause just kicks it up a notch for you, then enter one of the two 50/50 raffles – one for C.A.R.E. dog rescue, and the other for Restorations’ Tearing Down the Walls ministry. General admission tickets (purchased online or at the gate) include a Castle Glen Winery Tasting Glass and unlimited wine tastings. Cost is $40 per couple, $25 per single, $15 per Designated Driver (nice!), and free for 18 years and under.

That wraps up this fall edition of Life After Dark! As always, my live music schedule is on my website ( with this issue’s featured venue being The Iron Horse Restaurant (100 S. Railroad Avenue, Ashland), where I’ll be performing Saturday, October 19, with live music from 9pm – midnight with no cover. I hope to see you there!

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