Had you been on the Fine Foods present that kicked off the Saturday of the ultimate Best Friends weekend, you’d have been surrounded by individuals sporting T-shirts studying “American by birth, hardcore by choice,” “Dead since 1991” and “Cloak and Dagger.”

You’d even have heard a loud, quick and brief set by Night Birds, a punk band that thrashed arduous for about half an hour within the car parking zone earlier than individuals started climbing aboard the To the Bottom and Back buses to move out to Hadad’s for a day of enjoyable within the pool and sunshine.

Best Friends Day, a weekend occasion held in Richmond close to summer time’s finish from 2001 by means of 2011, started as a small get-together of 40 individuals at Hadad’s Lake in Varina. Over the years, it morphed right into a four-day-long music fest that introduced in bands and followers from everywhere in the world. By its last yr, it attracted 6,000 individuals to venues throughout the town.

For many previous attendees, the occasion remains to be thought-about to be one of many weirdest and wildest Richmond has ever produced.

Conceived of through the summer time of 2001 by Anna Virginia and Shelley Callahan, the occasion was their manner of commemorating the tip of summer time by gathering associates collectively.

“[Virginia] had been to Hadad’s Lake for the first time earlier that summer and suggested that it would be the perfect place to host our party,” Callahan recollects. “We had so much fun that the next year, Anna suggested we do it again and add a show at a local bowling alley. From there, it just took over each year.”

Within a decade, it had gotten so massive that to proceed to carry the occasion at Hadad’s Lake, further safety and allowing from the county would have been required.

“We knew that if we changed how we did things to be allowed to have it at that scale, it wouldn’t be the same event anymore,” Callahan explains. “As organizers, we wanted to quit while we were ahead, and 10 years was a good run. We’d rather have the good memories than watch Best Friends Day change into something we didn’t really have control over anymore.”

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It was the pandemic that acquired Virginia, Callahan and her sister Erin Briggs interested by these recollections. During weekly Zoom calls to remain related, the three realized that 2021 was 10 years because the final Best Friends Day and 20 years because the first one. They determined it could be enjoyable to spend quarantine time archiving previous photos and artwork from the occasion.

“It started with just the three of us collecting and organizing photos, then we started asking close friends for more and found that people were really willing to dig through old hard drives to send in pictures and that was so exciting,” Callahan says.

Soon she was reaching out to individuals she didn’t know to ask for images.

“It just ballooned until I thought that this should be a book that comes out for the 10-year anniversary.” They determined to name it the Best Friends Day Yearbook, riffing on how the theme for the ultimate social gathering in 2011 had been “the graduation,” a sendoff given in order that they’d by no means maintain the occasion once more.

Choosing which images to incorporate was based mostly on the standard for printing in addition to the variety of occasions displaying the wildness of Best Friends Day.

“Remember, this was a long time ago, so no one had cell phones and as organizers, we never asked anyone to take pictures because we didn’t think about what a special event it was at the time, we were just trying to have fun,” Callahan says. “We also wanted to show as much of the amazing art and merch created during that time so anyone who never got to Best Friends Day could see the yearbook and really see what an amazing event it was.”

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The official Best Friends Day Yearbook launch takes place at Tiny Space in Church Hill on June 25 all day with a particular outside film displaying at 8:30 p.m. For those that cannot attend, the yearbook, together with commemorative T-shirts, koozies and prints – made by artists who’d made occasion artwork for merch and posters previously, can be out there on-line on the web site.

As for its legacy, Callahan sees it as about having enjoyable with previous associates and making new ones. “It really was all about hugs and high-fives and just having a blast to celebrate the best of what Richmond has to offer. Really highlighting why our city is so great.”

The Best Friends Day Yearbook launch can be held Friday, June 25, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Tiny Space in Church Hill, 2708 E Marshall St. Also out there on-line at bestfriendsdayrichmondva.com.

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