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Imagination Richmond brings family fun to Willow Lawn Saturday

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).
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

Film industry training program planned for this weekend

The Community College Workforce Alliance (CCWA), in partnership with the Virginia Film Office, will offer "Get Your Start in the Film Industry," a two-day seminar designed to prepare workers for film, television and commercial projects in Virginia. The course will be held Oct. 4-5 at the Workforce Development and Conference Center, 1651 Parham Road in Henrico, on the campus of J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College.

The training will be taught by Gary Romolo Fiorelli, an accomplished assistant director for film and television projects, which include the television series Sons of Anarchy and ABC’s current drama Mistresses. > Read more.

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.

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