By Eileen Mellon, Special to the Citizen 05/17/12
Looking for a fun, family-oriented festival to attend this weekend? Imagination Richmond might be for you. The event will be held at The Shops at Willow Lawn May 19, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The event, now in its fourth year, began when Willow Lawn Marketing Manager Sarah North felt there was a need in the region for a family-friendly community event at which children could enjoy and explore their imagination through music, art, dance and other children activities.
The community embraced the event after its first year, North said, and it has grown and evolved as it moved from inside the mall to outside in the brand new Willow Lawn plaza, with a children’s play area and ample seating.
Imagination Richmond includes live music from acclaimed children’s bands such as Silly Bus, The Diggity Dudes and more. In addition, expect to see Nutzy the Flying Squirrel, juggling entertainers, clowns, a moon bounce, train rides, arts and crafts and other popular activities for children.
Along with the entertainment, there will be Willow Lawn merchant specials and free giveaways to benefit families in the community. The event is modeled after the Mommy & Me (& Daddy Too) program which occurs monthly from April-October and is designed to enhance parents' interaction with their children.
The event is unique, North said, because it appeals to a large audience with popular local entertainment and is family-based.
“It gives parents the opportunity to enjoy festive activities with their children while sampling what community partners in Richmond have to offer for children," she said. "Parents bring their children to this event and are then rewarded with shopping and dining discounts, promotions, samples and free giveaways from the Willow Lawn merchants."
This year’s event is particularly special because of the recent multi-million dollar renovation at The Shops at Willow Lawn, giving locals the opportunity to experience the new area as well as enjoy the festivities. About 2,000 people are expected to attend the event, which is free (though donations will be accepted to benefit the Richmond SPCA).
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden’s admission has increased by $1 across all categories. Admission is now $12 for adults; $11 for seniors ages 55 and older; and $8 for children ages 3–12. Admission remains free for children ages 3 and younger and for members.
The last price increase was in 2011, before the Garden consistently hosted Butterflies LIVE! (which is included with admission). > Read more.
The threat of bad weather didn’t keep visitors away from Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden July 10 for the facility’s weekly Flowers After 5 event (which pairs music and food with a chance to stroll the garden) and its monthly Fidos After 5 (which allows dog owners to bring their pets with them to enjoy the evening). > Read more.
Thanks in part to a $10,000 gift from the Western Henrico Rotary Club, another bright pink Jeep modified to travel extremely rough terrain has been delivered to Midwives For Haiti so that more pregnant women in the quake-ravaged country will have access to prenatal care and a greater chance of surviving childbirth.
The funds were raised at the annual casino night held in February, club president Adam Cherry said. The Rotary Club also helped purchase the Virginia-based charity’s first pink jeep three years ago. > Read more.
A finalist in the Bravo television show Top Chef is bringing one of his four restaurant chains to Henrico County.
Bryan Voltaggio, who was the runner-up of the sixth season of Top Chef, (finishing second to his brother, Michael) and his business partner, Hilda Staples, will open their third Family Meal restaurant, at Henrico's Willow Lawn shopping center. The restaurant is expected to open early next year. > Read more.
The United States Army Field Band will present a free public performance at Deep Run Park in Henrico on Sunday, Aug 3 at 3 p.m.
Members of the band are soldiers who also serve as “musical ambassadors of the Army” and perform for schools and communities nationwide.
The Concert Band will be performing along with the Soldiers’ Chorus. > Read more.
Get up and dance – square dance, that is – with the Tuckahoe Square Dance Club tonight! More musical events this weekend include family-friendly karaoke at Aunt Sarah’s Pancake House, the United States Army Field Band and Soldiers’ Chorus Concert and the Henrico Teen Theatre Company’s production of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.” For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.
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