Despite Richmond being one of the smallest cities in the lineup, attendance at last year’s Cultural Crawl — a people-of-color-centered bar crawl — rivaled that of other destinations like New York and Los Angeles.
Adanna Mbugo — a VCU graduate who founded the crawl — expects a similar crowd of about 500 or 600 people at this year’s event, to be held in Carytown on Aug. 25. Participants will receive a map of destinations, including Burger Bach, Garden Grove Brewing and Urban Winery, Greek on Cary, The Broken Tulip and Weezies Kitchen. Each destination will offer drink specials $5 and under, and food specials $10 and under.
At its root, Mbugo says, the crawl is designed to support local artists. The map given to participants will denote Carytown’s murals, and a portion of ticket sales will go to The CC Collective, the crawl’s organization dedicated to creating cultural change through art.
“I know a lot of the times — especially being an artist of color — it’s hard to get support, even if it’s from another artist,” Mbugo said.
The Cultural Crawl isn’t White-dominated like some other art events in Richmond, Mbugo says. While they don’t turn anyone away, they don’t hide the fact that the event is geared toward people of color. Mbugo advises planners of similar events not to be afraid to “speak up or speak out about what it is that you’re trying to do.”
“We wanted to create something, being of color, that enticed people to get up and try some new things, see some new art,” Mbugo said. “Stuff that we walk past every day and just don’t notice.”
After founding the Cultural Crawl with two friends, Mbugo selected Richmond as one of the destinations, given her knowledge of the area.
“I remembered Richmond has a lot of nice dive bars or small little local bars and restaurants that people don’t know about,” Mbugo said. “And I also remembered a lot of the time there being a dire need to find something to do.”
Mbugo said those who manage to attend all of the crawl’s destinations are usually organized, crossing off each bar or restaurant on a list and documenting the experience on social media. But almost everyone makes an effort to reach every stop before the event ends at 10 p.m.
The crawl is self-guided, meaning participants have the freedom of choosing their destinations without a set schedule.
“We like people to take their time and go where they want to go,” Mbugo said. “We don’t want to make someone do or try something that they wouldn’t want to.”
Cultural Crawl check-in is from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Burger Bach at 3426 W Cary St. The event spans from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. Early bird tickets are $15. The event is open to ages 21 and up.
Georgia Geen, Managing Editor