If you are ever in the Hampton Roads Area, be sure to visit Town Point Park. The Park is located right on the downtown waterfront and is a major attraction for natives, tourists and festival goers.
The park was recently renovated and it looks wonderful. I took an afternoon stroll there and encountered many new surprises. Growing up in downtown Norfolk, I spent a lot of time at the Waterside Festival Marketplace which is situated right next to the park. As a little girl, I remember enjoying Town Point Park’s annual Harborfest celebration. There was always good music, great food and the biggest and brightest fireworks.
On my afternoon stroll I can’t help but notice the ruby-red hibiscus plants that boldly decorate the circular walkway. As I walk toward the water, I see small children playing with hula hoops and a croquet game. I ask one of the moms if the toys were already there and she replied with an enthusiastic “Yes.”
My attention is then grabbed by another set of children who have on bathing suits and are running back and forth through gushes of water coming up from the ground. I’ve reached the TowneBank Fountain. The fountain has shooting water jets that I have to convince myself not to run through. The children are having such a good time that I would like to join them. Oh, to be a kid again.
I tear myself away from the water works and make my way to one of the colorful umbrella and table sets that are also a new addition to Town Point Park. I have a seat and start grooving to the music. Checking out the program schedule, I see that the group’s name is The Rhythm Project. They are dressed in peach-colored tops and are playing a mixture of African, Cuban and Caribbean music on percussion drums. The crowd is really enjoying the musicians and so am I. The group is a part of the programs and activities that TowneBank will sponsor its own named park from July 6-October 31. Other activities to be held in the TowneBank Park include an interactive fountain, games, opera, and dance, theatre and exercise programs.
Town Point Park is the site of numerous festivals in the Hampton Roads area. Some of the festivals are the Virginia Wine Festival, the Norfolk Jazz Festival, the Bayou Boogaloo and Cajun Festival, Sharkfest, the Norfolk Latino Music Festival and Afr’am Fest. Afr’am Fest which draws hundreds of thousands of people each year is usually held on Memorial Day weekend. The popular festival did not have a home during that time this year because many downtown residents complained about noise and safety. Afr’am Fest had to find a new venue but logically Town Point Park was the only place that made sense. Consequently, City leaders have assured residents that there will be a command center of law enforcement and a fire squad to control any issues. Therefore, Afr’am Fest will take place at Town Point Park on Labor Day weekend, September 4-6. There is a festival for almost any interest and they all celebrate culture and unity.
As I listen to The Rhythm Project playing the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back,” I look out onto the Elizabeth River. Town Point Park also has a ferry that will take you across the river to Downtown Portsmouth. Yes, you can be in a new city without having to drive there. The Park also houses the American Rover Tall Ship on which one may take an 11/2 to 2 hour narrated harbor or sunset cruise.
As I am leaving, I notice the bricks that line the walkway. Some have messages and others have the names of couples and families. What a cool way to be a part of the history of the park. Town Point Park has a lot to offer. It is rich in history, has a beautiful landscape and waterway, and hosts entertaining and unique events. Make sure you visit if you are ever in the area or plan a special trip. I guarantee you will not get bored.