VCU to Celebrate 40th Anniversary with Monroe Park Festival

Virginia Commonwealth University will celebrate its 40th anniversary with a family-friendly campus and community festival at Monroe Park that will feature live performances from popular local bands, a recreation area, a variety of food vendors, cultural activities and health screening areas.

The Monroe Park Festival takes place on Saturday, Oct. 25, from noon to 5 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

"We wanted to create a festival that celebrates the university's relationship with the greater community," said Sue Ann Messmer, VCU’s vice president for university relations and chair of the anniversary celebration committee.  "Monroe Park is the perfect place for students and the community to come together to celebrate VCU's anniversary." 

Located in the heart of VCU’s Monroe Park Campus, the historic site will become a collection of villages. Cathy Howard, vice provost for community engagement and chair of the festival committee, said the villages will set a tone of collaboration.

“The Community Village will showcase the unique features and contributions of the neighborhoods that surround the Monroe Park and MCV campuses, and the VCU Village will focus on the university’s partnerships with surrounding communities,” Howard said.

The VCU Village will include a health fair and “Every day, a new discovery,” featuring exhibits from the VCU Health System, VCU Life Sciences, the School of Engineering and the Brandcenter.

"The International Village brings together exhibits, vendors and entertainment from the many multicultural organizations that were so popular in the former Grace Street festivals," Howard said.

There also will be a revival of the VCU Ask It Booth, which in the 1970s and 1980s was located to the right of the Shafer Street Playhouse on Shafer Court. Student workers in the booth provided directions to campus buildings and information on school topics and campus activities.

Bryan Brown, lead university organizer of the festival's entertainment, said an online poll was initiated to select bands to perform during the festival.

“The band poll Web site was a lot of fun for local bands and their fans,” he said. “More than 90,000 votes were cast for 273 bands representing many different musical genres."

The top bands by genre that will perform during the festival are:

The Taters – pop/top 40
Unheard Concept – hard rock/heavy metal/punk rock
Becky Taylor & Open Fire – bluegrass/country
Earthtone - hip hop/rap 
Antero – reggae/Caribbean

Students will enjoy a variety of activities, including a climbing wall and recreational games.  A children’s fair will offer face painting, balloon animals and inflatable games. Food vendors reflect a variety of cuisines and classics, including Greek, African, hot dogs, ice cream and espresso.

The Monroe Park Festival is one of a series of events taking place in conjunction with the university’s 40 th anniversary, including the unveiling of historic markers on both campuses, a university celebration at the Stuart C. Siegel Center, Fall Fest and the announcement of VCU’s “40 Acts of Caring,” which highlight university-community partnerships. 

A listing of VCU 40 th anniversary events may be found here.

About VCU and VCU Medical Center

Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 226 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Sixty-seven of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 13 schools and one college. MCV Hospitals and the health sciences schools of Virginia Commonwealth University comprise VCU Medical Center, one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers. For more, see