The Norwalk Area Arts Council (NAAC) puts the event together each year, bringing in local artists, musicians, businesses, vendors and family activity options for all to enjoy. In fact, an event organizer Lynn Berry said the festivities have gained popularity and notice from the surrounding communities as well.
“I know we have slowly grown and grown and grown. Slowly more committees and boards from different charity groups have come on. Different vendors have joined; they’ve reached out to me quite a bit,” she added.
“That tells me they’re looking forward to it and enjoy it. A lot of artists have blocked off the dates already. It’s their thing now. I see, across the board, artists are waiting for their chance in the Norwalk community, to come here and play. They just love it.”
But earning that recognition is understandable. Berry said “the district comes alive on Friday nights” — something many others have noticed.
“Our district sings. We really shine,” she said. “Great things are happening with Imagine. I have been able to gather several non-profits together to participate in Imagine. Before (it was) the song of the city coming alive; it is now our community singing.”
Berry said receiving several grants will help this year’s Imagine to “be the best one yet,” many favorites returning, along with a couple of new twists.
“(We’ll have) great things this summer with the help of grants and community support,” she said. “We will close each Imagine night in the park with a movie and popcorn. Buzz the Ave is back with car groups signing up.”
There also will be wine tastings, shopping, vendors, arts in the park and more.
Also new this year, each of the events will be themed in hopes of getting everyone involved in the fun, regardless of age.
The first Imagine of the season will take place June 1. To kick off the season, the community series will hold a luau-themed night.
“I think we’re going to go very much themed for each one,” she said.
“It gives everyone something to focus on in their own unique way, which shows their creativity. We’ll definitely be more themed this year. I see some 80s nights. That means 80s music, with a whole new look. I like to encourage not just the children, but the adults to join in on it. I think that will be really fun.”
Chris Castle organized and created the first Imagine Norwalk.
The NAAC also will select a charity to be featured each night of this year’s event. The first selected for June 1 is the Norwalk Area Food Bank. Those wishing to help are asked to bring a canned food item to benefit the charity.
“We have a lot of hands involved and that is just simply beautiful,” Berry said.
June 1 will kick start NAAC’s third season of leading the event, which will take place every other Friday through Oct. 26. Each event will begin at 5:30 p.m., with the “streets really coming alive” at 6.
Vendors, sponsors and artists interested in the June 1 or future events should email [email protected], call Berry at 419-706-1888 or contact via the Imagine Norwalk Facebook page. All are welcome to attend the next planning meeting at 6 p.m. June 9 at Berry’s Restaurant.
Here’s the Imagine Norwalk schedule for the upcoming season:
June 1 — Theme: Community luau; Charity: Norwalk Area Food Bank (bring a canned food item).
June 15 — Theme: Beach; Charity: Norwalk Park and Recreation Department’s Relay for Life.
June 29 — Theme: Military night; Charity: To benefit the veterans
July 13 — Theme: A car hop with a crowns and capes parade; Charity: To be determined
July 27 — Theme: Community barbecue; Charity: The fight against drugs.
Aug. 10 — Theme: Western night; Charity: The goal is to fill the school bus.
Aug. 24 — Theme: Dog days of summer; Charity: Huron County Humane Society.
Sept. 14 — Theme: Pet ‘n’ Pup Parade; Charity: To be determined.
Oct. 26 — Theme: Zombies on Main; Charity: To be determined.