NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – This Saturday, the city of Norfolk’s Department of Neighborhood Services will host the 11th Annual Neighborhood Expo to celebrate the community. They are expecting this to be their biggest year yet.
Digital Host Sarah Goode spoke to Neighborhood Relations Manager Nikki Southall from the city of Norfolk in this week’s Community Chat. They discuss the event, the importance of neighborhoods and supporting the community. Watch the conversation in the video player on this page.
The neighborhood expo will be held at Northside Park, 8400 Tidewater Drive from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.
There will be food trucks, music, raffles, exhibitors and more. It is free and open to all. Guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets to sit and enjoy the day outdoors with your neighbors.
“The city of Norfolk really thinks that what makes neighborhoods great are the people that live in it,” Southall said.
Southall said it has grown a lot over the years. It started with a small group and this year they will see more than 50 exhibitors, from city departments and non-profits to youth organizations and civic leagues.
“It’s a really important piece of being in a neighborhood is the connections that you make,” Southall said, “and so having an event like this really highlights that civic engagement, and how you create those partnerships.”
This year, youth were involved in the program planning. Southall said the youth involved are excited to be a part of it.
“The next generation of leaders and civic engagement you have to start at a level they understand and include them because they have ideas,” Southall said.
The intergenerational work is important to this year’s theme which is, “Ignite 2023”. Southall said it focuses on creating the spark you need in the community.
“What is that spark that says I’m going to get up and activate and be part of the greater part of my community? What can I do,” they said.
Another important piece of the event is the 4th Annual Community U.P.L.I.F.T. Awards. It stands for, Unity, Public Service, Leadership, Innovation, Friendship and Teamwork.
Each year people can nominate individuals, civic leagues, community organizations, businesses and more. It is a peer to peer nomination. To date, they have given out 72 awards.
“The magic about the uplift awards is really recognizing that people see themselves in each other,” Southall said, “and they get to recognize each other for the great things they do.”
This year, winners will walk down a red carpet to receive their award that thanks them for their selfless acts of service. It can be something as simple as cutting the grass for a more senior neighbor. Southall said while it might be a small thing, it really adds up in the neighborhood.
It’s all about staying engaged and active in the community.
One food truck you will see Saturday is called Penguin’s Snowballs. The business won an U.P.L.I.F.T. award, and now is back serving the community and taking part in the expo this year.
Nominations are closed for this year’s awards. Find out who wins awards on Saturday during the ceremony at 2 p.m.
Southold encourages new and old residents to visit the city of Norfolk website to find out more information about services and your neighborhoods.
While the event is in Norfolk, anyone is welcome. Southall hopes people from other cities will visit and bring ideas like this back to their communities.
To find out more information about the event and the Department of Neighborhood Services watch the Community Chat on the video player on this page.