Bomb squad responds to Chesterfield neighborhood

Ajay Brewer hopes to expand businesses, give artists platform with ‘Manchester Manifest’

RICHMOND, Va. -- Every first Friday, hundreds pack Richmond’s Manchester neighborhood for "Manchester Manifest," a festival meant to give artists and business owners the platform to be expressive and successful.

One of those business owners and organizers of the event is Ajay Brewer, owner of Brewer’s Café in Manchester.

Brewer said the mission of the festival is to help expand businesses, artists, and communities south of the James River.

“Since Richmond, especially Manchester is so diverse in the arts community, we wanted to make sure that they knew that on the southside, you had something to do. Somewhere to hang out, somewhere to hear good music,” said Brewer.

Ajay Brewer

The free and family-friendly event features live bands, DJs, live painters, vendors selling original pieces, jewelry, and food vendors.

Manchester Manifest started out as a festival three years ago, but organizers Ajay Brewer and Rosetta of Crenius decided to make it a monthly event on each first Friday during the summer and fall.

“I have a son here and I want my son to grow up in a neighborhood thriving, that is a beautiful neighborhood, that is a safe neighborhood, that is a fun neighborhood. So, that starts with opening a business. Then from opening a business, you want to support the community,” Brewer added.

The event is located near Brewer’s Café, between Bainbridge and Porter Streets, with 12th Street closed off to vehicle traffic. Brewer said he expects hundreds in attendance.

Brewer's Cafe

“I live here with my son and my family. A lot of the people who work here, we live in this community. We want to have stuff to do here, not just go to sleep,” explained Brewer.

Manchester Manifest has been a summer fall event over the last year, but that could change due to a new partnership with Dogtown Dance Theatre.

“We may even be able to push it into the winter months, with Dogtown, being able to go inside the dance theatre. So hopefully we will be able to have it all year around,” Brewer said.

Manchester Manifest will be held Friday, September 7 from 5:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. and on the first Friday of every month.