A city is not glass and marble alone, but tradition and community. Developer A. Kemp Rowe, a former schoolteacher who worked his way through his Virginia Commonwealth University MBA program as an A&P butcher, joined Sidney Gunst's Innsbrook project soon after its 1979 inception. He encouraged camaraderie among the early Innsbrookers in 1981 by organizing a barbecue near the Jarvis building. This turned into an annual event. Though Kemp died at age 44 of complications from leukemia in 1988, his Friday socials continued, eventually becoming Innsbrook After Hours. The concerts were held where the Silver Diner is today, and the money benefited Easter Seals.
The owners' association later hired a special-events coordinator, Anne Joyner. She took a job elsewhere and approached the energetic Denise Kranich to be her successor. Kranich thought Joyner's job of organizing volleyball tournaments and other events looked like fun, and Gunst hired her in June 1993. Kranich's background included co-hosting Richmond's version of PM Magazine (her on-air partner? Matt Lauer), running a Carytown candle shop and working in marketing for the insurance firm Hilb, Rogal and Hamilton.
A stage stood for 12 years where the Innsbrook Hyatt is now, then there was one year when the concert series took place by the lake, and finally "it was dragged from Innsbrook North to make way for a new, assembled stage," Kranich says, which today is called the Snagajob.com Pavilion. Kranich took a few pieces of the old wooden stage as keepsakes. Over the years at Innsbrook After Hours, members of Fixx hugged her; Aaron Neville impressed her; and Joan Jett annoyed her by dropping "F-bombs." (It's a family show, after all.)
In addition to the concert series, the Innsbrook Corporate Games, which became the Richmond Corporate Games, pits company teams in jump-rope jive, summer skiing and the climactic tug-of-war. The event raises funds for the Special Olympics. Then there's the longtime Breakfast Club, volleyball and softball leagues, an annual golf tournament, and a growing roster of other activities.
Kranich is now the executive director of the Innsborok Foundation, which oversees the volunteers who each year organize some 100 events in and around Innsbrook. There's also a communications director and a park operations person. "We're sort of putting together a town administration to go with Innsbrook Next," she says.