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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

Varina Ruritans honor students

The Varina Ruritan Club hosted the winners of its 2014 Environmental Essay contest at its monthly meeting March 11 in Varina.

The contest, in its eighth year, was for the first time open to students in grades 3-5 at Varina Elementary School. (It previously was open to Sandston Elementary School students.)

The meeting included the winners, parents of the winners, Varina Elementary principal Mark Tyler and several teachers who were in charge of the contest at the school. > Read more.

Baseball game to benefit Glen Allen Buddy Ball


For the fifth consecutive year, St. Christopher’s and Benedictine will play a varsity baseball game at Glen Allen's RF&P Park as part of a fundraising effort for the River City Buddy Ball program.

The game will take place Saturday, April 12, at 7 p.m., and the teams hope to raise $3,000 through donations, raffles and other efforts. Admission to the game is free, but fans who attend are asked to donate funds for the Glen Allen Youth Athletic Association's Buddy Ball program, which enables disabled children and teens to play baseball. > Read more.

Highland Springs field to be dedicated in honor of longtime coach Spears

The Henrico Division of Recreation and Parks will dedicate the Highland Springs Little League Majors Field in memory and honor of Rev. Robert “Bob” L. Spears, Jr., on April 12 with a ceremony at the field at 8 a.m.

Spears served the league as a coach and volunteer for 30 years and was praised as a pioneer for equality. His “Finish strong” motto embodied ethical perseverance on the field and in life. > Read more.

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Entertainment

Weekend Top 10


Do the Bunny Hop over to Meadow Farm on Saturday for an introduction to all the farm animals there! An introduction to “Global Sounds” – featuring Japanese, Indonesian, West African, Indian, and Brazilian music and dance performances – can be found at the University of Richmond. The University of Richmond will also host the annual Spider spring game, as well as the inaugural Spiders Easter Egg Hunt. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

Restaurant watch

Find out how your favorite dining establishments fared during their most recent inspections by the Virginia Department of Health. > Read more.

A fun, fuzzy ride

‘Muppets Most Wanted’ worthy of its franchise

Do Muppets sleep? It’s hard to say.

They don’t really eat (or breathe, as far as anyone can tell). And only occasionally do they have visible, functioning legs.

As far as anyone knows, sleeping might be off the table. And that makes it very hard to accuse the Muppets of sleepwalking through their latest feature, Muppets Most Wanted – even if that’s exactly what’s going on.

Jim Henson’s beloved creations were back in a big way after 2011’s The Muppets, with fame and fortune and even an Oscar, a first for the group (“Rainbow Connection” was nominated, yet somehow failed to collect at the ’79 ceremony). > Read more.

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