It’s spring, so here are some ideas to ‘put a spring in your step’

(Southside Daily file photo/Courtesy of Pixabay)
(Southside Daily file photo/Courtesy of Pixabay)

VIRGINIA BEACH – The city’s Beach Parks & Recreation has released a lineup of family-friendly events for April and May.

Here’s a quick rundown:

Les Mills Launch Week and Free Fitness Preview (April 1 -7 | various times and recreation center locations). Free fitness previews and more – a recreation center membership is not required for these select classes. For the full schedule of free classes, go to

Annual Cherry Blossom Festival 
(April 6, rain date April 7 | 12 to 4 p.m. | Red Wing Park). Celebrate spring, peace, and goodwill during the blossom season with Virginia Beach’s sister city Miyazaki, Japan. Featuring diverse and creative programs, traditional Japanese music, arts, and culture while promoting natural beauty and community spirit. Concessions will be available for purchase. Admission and parking are free.

April Pool’s Day 
(April 6 and 7 | 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. or 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. | Williams Farm, Kempsville, and Bow Creek Recreation Centers | ages 5 to 14). Raise awareness on drowning with free water safety instruction. Children will participate in a swimming lesson, learn pool and beach safety, and perform basic water rescues. Sponsored by the Water Safety Council and USA Swimming, this event is free and open to the public, but space is limited and registration is required.

Once Upon a Prom Dress Giveaway 
(April 6 | 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. | Bayside Recreation Center | Virginia Beach teens with valid school IDs). Bayside Recreation Center has been accepting donations of new and gently used prom/evening dresses and has over 500 to giveaway to local teens. The event is free and open to all teens with a valid school ID. Students should stop by the rec center to pick out the dress of their dreams. Dresses will be given on a first-come, first-served basis while supplies last.

Earth Day Recycle Zone 
(April 13 | 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. | Mount Trashmore Park). Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation, in partnership with Virginia Beach Waste Management Division and the Clean Community Commission, are celebrating Earth Day this year with a drive-thru recycling event. All recycling will take place in Parking Lot 1, located near the YMCA and participants are asked to enter from South Boulevard. Items being recycled include electronics, hazardous household items, metal, document shredding, and prescription medications (provided by the Virginia Beach Police Department.) For more details on acceptable items, visit

Arbor Day Ceremony 
(April 26 | 4 to 5 p.m. | Bayside Recreation Center). Guests are welcome to come celebrate as Virginia Beach receives its 39th consecutive “Tree City USA” award from the Virginia Department of Forestry. The “Tree City USA” award identifies the city as a community that has a proven commitment to an ongoing community forestry program. City leadership along with representatives from the Council of Garden Clubs of Virginia Beach, Virginia Beach Beautification Commission, Virginia Beach Master Gardener Tree Stewards, and youth from the Bayside Out-of-School Time Program will also participate in the Arbor Day festivities.

(May 11 | noon to 3 p.m. | Williams Farm Recreation Center). Children can experience sitting behind the wheel of some of their favorite vehicles including a fire truck, police car, street sweeper, dump truck and more. Temporary tattoos, children’s crafts, tire flipping, and inflatables are also available. New this year, Parks & Recreation’s Inclusion Unit will be hosting a Sensory Tent during the event. This dedicated area is meant as a calming space and will provide various forms of organized sensory input should an individual become over-stimulated. The event is free and open to the public.

Woofstock VB (May 18, rain date May 19 | 3 to 7 p.m. | Red Wing Park).
In partnership with the Virginia Beach Animal Care and Adoption Center, there will be bands, barks, and brews at this all new event. Bring your canine companion out for an afternoon of fun with live music from Free for All and PowerDaze, food trucks, “Doggie Dates”, a photo booth, specialty vendors and more. Adult beverages will be available for purchase from Wasserhund Brewing Company to benefit the Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation Foundation. Admission and parking are free.
For a complete list of events, go to

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John Mangalonzo ( is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.