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).
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.
Canoeing and kayaking enthusiasts soon will have a new access point to the Chickahominy River. VDOT, the James River Association and Henrico County Parks and Recreation are teaming up to establish a new site in Eastern Henrico.
The James River Association negotiated the deal with VDOT to procure official access to the area located just east of I-295 on North Airport Road in Sandston. The site includes a park-and-ride commuter lot bordering the Chickahominy River and has been an unofficial launch site used by paddlers for years. > Read more.
An eclectic array of events are taking place this weekend throughout the county. In the West End, we have the Richmond Wedding Expo, the Under the Stars Family Film Series and Henrico Theatre Company’s production of “Pump Boys and Dinettes.” In the eastern part of the county, we have a blood drive at the Eastern Henrico Recreation Center, Gallmeyer Farm’s annual Sweet Corn Festival and an origami workshop at Fairfield Library. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.
Charlottesville's Bella’s Restaurant recently opened a location in Short Pump Village, at 11408 West Broad Street. The restaurant is owned by Valeria Biesnti, a native of Rome who arrived in the U.S. at age 21 and later became a U.S. citizen. With her restaurants, Bisenti has sought to create an ambiance that welcomes diners in a casual setting, like her favorites from her hometown. > Read more.
A Henrico native will appear on the third episode of the Travel Channel's new grilling competition series “American Grilled.”
The episode, filmed in Charlottesville, will premier July 16 at 9 p.m. and feature Glen Allen-native Rex Holmes, a patent lawyer who operates http://SavoryReviews.com a blo,g centered around tasty recipes and BBQ.
The show features hardcore grilling enthusiasts from across the country going head-to-head for a chance to compete for a $10,000 cash prize and bragging rights when they are crowned the ultimate “grill master.” > Read more.
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