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Lakeside Farmers’ Market voted No. 1 in Va.

The Lakeside Farmers’ Market was voted the No. 1 farmers’ market in Virginia by patrons who participated in a national contest during the past several months.

The America Farmland Trust’s “America’s Favorite Farmers’ Market Contest” sought feedback and votes from readers nationwide for their favorite markets from among the 7,000-plus in the nation.

Lakeside Farmers’ Market earned 1,393 votes, placing it first among the more than 100 markets in Virginia and third nationally in the “Small Markets” category for markets with 16 to 30 vendors.

In Virginia, Lakeside Farmers’ Market finished ahead of markets in Falls Church, Williamsburg, Powhatan and Charlottesville to claim the honor.

“It’s something that has brought a lot of pride and raises the level of recognition of the market, the vendors and the community itself,” said Peter Francisco, who along with his wife, Sharon, started the market in 2008. The Franciscos decided to actively promote the contest to vendors and customers this year – both in person during market times, through print advertising and online, hoping to win that recognition for the market and the Lakeside region. Now, the market’s supporters are excited about the results, Francisco said.

“They’re proud that they’re associated with the market that won.”

During its peak season (July and August), the market regularly attracted upwards of 1,500 visitors during its four-hour Saturday session, Francisco said. Wednesday sessions draw fewer people but still pull in steady crowds, he said. This year, the Farmers Market Too (an indoor area adjacent to the outdoor market)opened and has attracted another dozen or so food and craft vendors.

“We’re going to have to turn vendors away for the winter season” because the indoor space has nearly reached capacity, he said. Francisco and his wife have enjoyed watching the market grow each year and bring more visitors to Lakeside at the same time, but Francisco also has a practical reason for looking forward to market days.

“I enjoy the food too,” he said, with a laugh. “It’s a real disappointment when things go out of season and I have to go to the grocery store to buy them.”

The Lakeside Farmers’ Market, 6110 Lakeside Avenue, operates on Wednesdays from dawn to dusk and on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon. For details, visit http://www.lakesidefarmersmarket.net
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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