If you are going to be in the Hampton Roads area, you should stop by the Norfolk Wellness Center, 7300 Newport Avenue, Norfolk, VA 23505, where the Ward’s Corner Festival will be held. The event is a family oriented festival sponsored by the Ward’s Corner Merchants. It will be held this year on June 17, 2017, from 1200-1700. The proceeds of this charity event will go to support the area Armed Services and the Hampton Roads YMCA. Area merchants will have family entertainment available and the event will be fun for all.
According to the Virginian-Pilot, Ward’s Corner has been called, “The Times Square of the South!” Founded over a century ago, when Alfred Ward opened a combination grocery and Texaco filling station on the corner of Granby Street and Little Creek Road in 1910. His store was operated for decades on the outskirts of Norfolk. Today the old store has been replaced by the Rite Aid Pharmacy and a plaque stands commemorating the founder. Many rumors prevail as to how the name Ward’s Corner was coined. One story is that a Ford dealer in the area wanted people to buy French made tin from Mr. Ward so he made up a bunch of signs that said, “Mr Ward wants to see you at Ward’s Corner.” However it happened, the name stuck.
The area went from a simple gas and grocery store to a mercantile hub shortly after WWII, where it was the site of the nation’s first shopping centers. There was a Hofheimer’s Shoes, were customers would get their feet x-rayed before fitting. Customers could see Lulu the monkey and tropical birds. There was also a Rices Nachmans, the equivalent of Dillard’s; a Peoples Drug Store, the area’s first 24-hour pharmacy; a Giant Open Air, now a Farm Fresh, the first 24-hour grocery store. Students from Norview and Granby high schools would converge on the store’s pizza restaurant after Friday night football games.
Today the area is vibrant, and though there are a few vacancies, the area is full of life. I often see cyclists and neighborhood residents shopping at the three area grocers and there are many local cuisines to be sampled. My favorite stops are Auto Zone, The Health Food Center, Dollar Tree and The Book Exchange.
If you happen to be in the area on the third Saturday of June, please stop by the Norfolk Wellness Center and enjoy the fun. The merchants are looking for clowns, Jugglers, Magicians, Musicians, Puppeteers & other family oriented entertainers to perform. I plan on performing a bit of magic myself so I hope to see you there.
If you are an area entertainer or merchant and would be interested in participating or supporting this event, please contact Mrs Teresa Smith at: firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.