Column – Downtown bustles with activities every weekend

Published 6:01 pm Tuesday, October 4, 2022

That’s right. With all the revitalization going on, it’s a good time to be in downtown Suffolk again, especially from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturdays, (until Nov. 19).

Know why?

There’s the iconic and legendary Mr. Peanut to welcome you at the Suffolk Farmers Market at Suffolk Visitor Center and Pavilion. Be sure to always stop by at the Visitor’s Center for more information. They’re open on Saturdays, too, and have a copy of City of Suffolk’s Program Guide, Sep-Dec 2022.


Email newsletter signup

You’re also lucky if you can see Black Bear there. But, of course, it’s always a good time to be in Suffolk where it is rich in history, tradition and culture. And, bargains, too, and more surprises for everyone, young and old.

By the way, let’s welcome the cool of autumn with gratefulness, a sweet smile, good faith, hope, love, and optimism. Thank God, we’re alive and well, having been here in Hampton Roads for almost three decades (in my case), specifically in historic and progressive Suffolk.

At the farmers market you can buy locally grown-produce, such as fresh vegetables and fruits, along with eggs, baked goodies and homemade cakes, homemade soaps, honey, pickled vegetables, jams and jellies, plants and flowers, arts and crafts and jewelry. There also are healthy organic products, informative educational materials available, in addition to books by published romance writers in the Hampton Roads area. Likewise, on the first Saturdays of every month, there’s live music, family activities and entertainment.

We have been there several times before and during COVID-19. It was always good to be there downtown to buy stuff, eat and enjoy local food while patronizing our local farmers and vendors. On another visit, we were so delighted to see and pet different farm animals, such as a goat, a sheep, a pony, a horse and a llama. A local male performer was singing while playing with his guitar. And, as always, we dined out in one of the restaurants there, after driving around the historic area.

We spent almost the whole Saturday there, which culminated in our Mass attendance and participation at St. Mary of the Presentation Catholic Church.

Last Saturday, guess where were we? You betcha. My wife, sis-in-law, a friend and neighbor, and I went to the farmers market. We didn’t expect to be treated to music and be entertained by a group of young and talented local musicians, while we were shopping there. I don’t know about you but there’s that feeling of good vibes and contentment each time I hear sweet music in the air. It helps make you stop and listen.

Mind you, we also saw a cute and quiet pet dog, on a leash, with her owner busy buying something. As usual, we bought homemade fruit and nut cakes, vegetables and raw peanuts. Before we left the farmers market, we stopped by the visitor center for some reading materials. They’re free and available on the shelves, by the way. Likewise we went to use their clean restroom.

As always, we didn’t go home with an empty stomach. We ate lunch there. This time, we had Mexican food at Moe’s Southwest Grill. You know what, kids and friends? Even if Halloween is more than a month away, there’s that feeling of it already. At the checkout counter they’re giving away Halloween goodies — pretzels (Bats and Jacks), Tootsie Rolls and Pops, and candies of various kinds, colors and sizes.

Sunday, after attending our church, and eating buffet lunch at a Chinese restaurant, my wife and I watched a $1 each person “family-fun” movie. You heard me loud and clear: $1 per person movie at Birdsong Theater at Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts.

Know what? I haven’t really been a fan of animated movies. But after watching the funny and entertaining musically-filled “Sing 2,” I’ve come to like them. I’m going back definitely to the popular, yet historic cultural arts center building, which I just recently learned used to be Suffolk High School. This building looks elegant, strong and sturdy, with, of course, lots of effort, volunteerism, and money involved in restoring it. Call (757) 923-9200 or search for Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts online.

Thanks to all the donors, patrons and sponsors, and volunteer staff-personnel, and board of directors who are behind this cultural edifice, which was fortunate and proud to host the world-famous Ukraine’s Kyiv City Ballet for a number of shows and performances, including the ever-popular Swan Lake. Kudos to all of you for making cultural arts alive and well in Suffolk.

Certainly, it’s a good time to be in Suffolk, especially in historic downtown, where there’s always something going on there.

For October events, there’s the 44th annual Suffolk Peanut Festival Oct. 6-9; Poetry, Prose and Pizza at the Suffolk Art Gallery Oct. 13; Family 2 Mile Fun Run at Lake Meade Park, CarPool Cinema and the Hurrah Players present The Lion King Oct. 15; the 29 annual Driver Days Fall Festival Oct. 15-16; Storytime at the Station Oct. 18; Friday Night Frights playing “Pet Sematary” and “Friday the 13th” Oct. 14 and 21, respectively; Haunting at Chuckatuck: Haunted House Adventure Oct. 22; National Senior Health and Fitness Day Event Oct. 26; Friday Night Frights playing “The Ring” and “Let’s Dance (Vamos a bailar);” Suffolk Public Library Fall Dance Oct. 28; Touch a Truck, Train and Trick or Treat, Chris Mike Magic at the Suffolk Center, Fall Festival and Trunk or Treat/Fright Night, and Dia de Muertos: Marigolds, Sugar Skulls, and Mexican Hot Chocolate Oct. 29.

A host of other activities are planned for November and December. See the full list at

While the COVID-19 pandemic appears to be a thing of the past (hopefully and prayerfully), we continue to take precautions, take care of ourselves, and stay safe.

And, again, as we welcome the fall season with our family and friends, with faith, hope, positivity and optimism, let’s do our best to live and enjoy a normal life. It’s a good time again to explore, discover and enjoy Suffolk with its unique charm, beauty and simplicity, yet rich in history, tradition and culture.

So whether you’re a history buff, adventurer, nature lover, art and performing arts enthusiast, Suffolk has definitely lots to offer for you. Mind you, it’s truly “a wonderful place to work, live, play, visit,” as our city manager, Albert S. Moor II, P.E., noted. As always, welcome and see you around, folks! For more information, google


Chris A. Quilpa, a retired U.S. Navy veteran, lives in Suffolk and Chesapeake. Email him at