In 2009, The New York Times named The Camel Richmond's "premier venue" for "up-and-coming Southern rock and bluegrass bands, acoustic singer-songwriters, and jazz and funk musicians." So far, nothing's changed: The Camel still hosts local and nationally touring acts such as Ben Kweller and James McCartney, who, unlike his father, has never toured with a band named after icky bugs. But even though it's lauded for providing live music seven nights a week, The Camel makes a space for all art, including occasional film screenings.
Like its entertainment lineup, The Camel's cuisine is an eclectic mix of American flavors. The culinary team, lead by executive chef Xavier Beverly, whips up gourmet vegan risottos, grills fresh seafood, and tops flatbreads with spinach, mushrooms, and hummus. But they also keep things casual with finger foods such as the popular sausage stars and housemade beef burgers crowned with horseradish mayo. Served until 2 a.m. nightly, each dish can be paired with local or craft beers, which fill the 28 taps lining The Camel's exposed brick wall.
The Camel is open for lunch Monday through Saturday, and brunch on Sunday.
Located in the historic Shockoe Bottom district, longtime venue Hat Factory plays host to an extensive variety of live entertainment. For 13 days in October, the club morphs into Fear Factory, a ghoulishly gleeful haunted house spotlighting themed events every night. Scare-seekers may glimpse the spirit of clown Thurman "Laughing Man" Ray, whose undeadness adds a chilling layer to a seemingly innocent profession. The eerie extravaganza commences on Tuesday, October 19 with a special Halloween edition of the club's popular RVAlution with Dave Nada, a study in social interaction co-chaired by live performers and professional DJs. The Massacre-ade Ball on Saturday, October 30 provides the perfect excuse to wear that plainclothes police officer costume you've been storing all these years. The visually inclined can experience the spine-tingling Fear Factory teaser video here.
Originally built in the 1760s, the 645-acre Belvedere Plantation hosts the yearly Harvest Festival each October, filling weekends with family-fun attractions ranging from pumpkin patches to hayrides. Eight acres of cornfield are sculpted into a NASA-themed maze, inspiring brave farmstronauts to venture into uncharted territory. Adrenaline pumps through the veins of onlookers observing pig races, and turbo-charged pedal tractors thrill speed seekers. A double slide stretches out to 100 feet, whisking human missiles through space and time as amiable goats, chickens, pigs, and turkeys look on with a been-there, done-that nonchalance.
At ComedySportz Improv Theatre, audience suggestions keep a family-friendly and fast-paced vortex of scenes, games, and songs spinning in competitive shows that pit two improv teams against each other. Inside the intimate, 100-seat theater, spontaneity rules as a referee moderates the all-ages-appropriate hilarity pitched between the Richmond Legends and Virginia Hams. At the end of each comedic duel, the audience votes for the winning team, sentencing the losers to feed the doves that live inside the winners' top hats. ComedySportz's laugh-masters also host regular workshops to teach aspiring yuksters the art of improvised hilarity and the essential virtues of spontaneity, risk taking, and engagement with the moment. Through scene work, ComedySportz games, and short- and long-form improv, students learn to keep audiences roaring in order to jump-start a career or become a more affable bank robber.
The first Funny Bone location opened in 1982 and has spread infectious laughter ever since. Established stars such as Drew Carey and Jerry Seinfeld have graced the stage, as well as up-and-coming talents with fresh faces, fresh routines, and that fresh pine scent. The venue also plays host to a full-service bar, where patrons may steep their sorrows in calming brews then ingest them triumphantly.
Considered by many to be the queen of Southern comfort food, Paula Deen is a best-selling author, television show host, retail mogul, and restaurateur. She brings her nourishment know-how to Richmond for a 2.5-hour cooking and chatting extravaganza sure to tickle eardrums and stir up jealousy in fellow chefs. Listen as Paula shares life stories alongside her husband, Michael Groover, and answers questions from the audience members—be they gastro-gurus or green-behind-the-ear gourmands. There will, of course, be some cooking demonstrations as well, so be prepared to potentially pick up some new recipes to try out at upcoming holiday dinners or social events.