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Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen to Present ‘Illumina’

The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen will offer “Illumina,” a holiday exhibition of various traditional and non-traditional Christmas trees each with their own theme for families to enjoy starting Dec. 4 – Dec. 30.

The exhibit will showcase 16 trees on the first floor of the center, designed by Yvonne Hopkins, a local resident who offered to give her creations to the center for the public. The trees will have different colors, ornaments, lights and other items that make up a certain theme.

“This is our first time having something like this,” said Anita Waters, director of public relations and marketing for the center. “This event allows this woman to share her collection with the community, and it’s something everyone can enjoy.”

The exhibit will include a “Nostalgia Tree,” a multi-color rotating aluminum tree from the 1960s. A combination of music, clothing, sports, politics and other memorabilia will make up the tree to represent the time periods of the 1940s through the 60s.

A breast cancer awareness tree, called “The Hope Tree” will be on display as well. Families or individuals will have the opportunity to donate to the Cancer Foundation for Breast Cancer Research and receive a pink ribbon with their name, which will be hung on the tree.

A few other themes include “The Great Outdoors,” “True Colors,” a “Goodwill Tree,” a “Charlie Brown Tree” and “The Enchanted Tree,” which displays Disney characters.

“There are a wide variety of different themes, so there’s something for everybody,” Waters said.

The center usually draws about 500 people each Christmas for its annual Tree Lighting ceremony outside and other events, but this year officials hope attendees will stay for the exhibit.

“The county has a lot of Christmas holiday events, and so a lot of people will have the opportunity to see these trees,” said Waters.

Other traditional holiday exhibits, such as Chanukah and Kwanzaa will be on display in celebration of the event, a scavenger hunt will be held for children and families are asked to fill out a questionnaire and will be entered into a weekly prize drawing for the family with the most correct answers.

The event is free and will be held immediately following the tree lighting. The exhibition can be viewed from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays. The center will be closed Dec. 24 - 27.

For weekend times and additional information, call The Cultural Arts Center at 261-ARTS (2787) or visit http://www.artsglenallen.com
Community

Lions Club donates backpacks to elementary school

The Richmond West Breakfast Lions Club (based in western Henrico) recently donated 59 backpacks to the Westover Hills Elementary School on Jahnke Road.

Above, club members display some of the backpacks prior to their distribution. > Read more.

Glen Allen student to perform at Carnegie Hall

Thanks to a first-place win in The American Protege International Vocal Competition 2014, Glen Allen High School student Matija Tomas will travel to New York City to perform at Carnegie Hall in December.

At the first-place winners recital in Weill Hall, Matija will perform Giacomo Puccini’s opera aria, “Chi il bel sogna di doretta.” She will perform with other vocalists from around the world and have the opportunity to win other awards and scholarships.

Locally, Thomas has performed with Richmond’s renowned Glorious Christmas Nights, Christian Youth Theatre, and WEAG’s Urban Gospel Youth Choir. > Read more.

Gayton Baptist Church dedicates new outreach center


The John Rolfe YMCA and Gayton Baptist Church have partnered in an effort to bring greater health and wellness opportunities to the community.

Through this partnership, the John Rolfe Y will run Youth Winter Sports programs, including basketball and indoor soccer, in Gayton’s newly renovated $5.5 million outreach center that features a new gymnasium, youth and teen space, social space with café, meeting space and full service commercial kitchen. > Read more.

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Entertainment

The Boathouse to open at Short Pump Town Center

The Boathouse restaurant will open at Short Pump Town Center in the spring, its third location in the region.

“People have asked us to come to the West End for years,” said owner Kevin Healy. “When the opportunity arose, we knew had to jump on it.”

The new restaurant will be located in a 5,800-square-foot space under the Hyatt House Hotel at the town center and will include a large outdoor patio. > Read more.

Getting a ‘mouf’-ful

Boka Kantina exceeds its strong food truck reputation
Already a fan of Boka fare from outdoor events with the Tako Truck, I was delighted to learn of the new restaurant, and eager to see if its reputation held up after putting down brick-and-mortar roots.

Would the food lose its zest if I wasn’t enjoying it in the great outdoors? Would it seem pedestrian served from an ordinary kitchen instead of a truck?

Would the tacos be less satisfying as an antidote to normal lunch hunger – instead of being ingested to stave off desperate hunger after a long afternoon of crowds, sun, and tedious lines? > Read more.

Lakeside microbrewery beginning to take shape

Original Gravity gets the green light to move forward with relocation, expansion into larger space

A Lakeside home-brewing shop has felt the gravitational pull toward the booming craft beer scene.

Original Gravity, a shop that sells beer and wine kits for homebrewers, has just been given the green light to start work on a microbrewery.

Owner Tony Ammendolia is expanding his 1,000-square-foot shop in Lakeside Town Center to 5,000-square-foot digs a few doors down to add a brewery and expand his supplies.

Ammendolia opened the home-brew supply store in November 2011 and since then he said business has taken off.

“I think I outgrew this place in the first year,” Ammendolia said. “We’ve seen steady growth and I’ve been looking for a place to expand to move the shop to get more square footage.” > Read more.

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