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After renovation, Kannapolis Veterans Park now features evening entertainment

KANNAPOLIS — Thursday evening, kids gathered ’round the gazebo at Veterans Park in downtown Kannapolis to see Dave Crowe’s show, “Imusination.”
The audience was small, perhaps because of rain clouds on the horizon that held off just long enough for the 6 p.m. show to finish.
Still, Becky Tolle, the city’s recreation and special events coordinator, said the new entertainment in Veterans Park is off to a strong start.
“Veterans Park is a place where we can host community events,” Tolle said.
A yearlong renovation of the city’s oldest public park, completed in May, added new brick sidewalks and benches under the century-old oak trees.
In addition to a memorial to Rowan and Cabarrus veterans, the project also included a small extension of the brick gazebo floor, extending it out in a semicircle to form a small stage that faces out onto the shaded lawn.
That’s where Dave Crowe ran out into the audience, to the tune of the theme from “Chariots of Fire,” mimicking a slow-motion scene from a movie.
“Imusination” was a late addition to the entertainment schedule, Tolle said.
Crowe said his show’s name comes from a mix of “imagination, music and amusement,” and its goal is to get kids up on their feet, having fun.
“This is a new show, just in its first stages,” said Crowe, who said he’s worked as an entertainer, coach and educator in previous years.
With original music and sound effects, Crowe moved on from his introduction and had the kids get involved: miming riding a bike, setting names to music and more.
The show’s finale, Crowe said, was designed to be an “open mic” for kids to sing their own songs. “This is where you go to tap into your imusination,” Crowe said.
“We love it,” said Jill LeJeune, as sons Ian, 5, and Ryan, 3, watched the show.
She said the family comes to Veterans Park often, and that the family missed it while it was closed during the summer of 2012.
“Imusination” will return to Veterans Park on Thursday, July 25 and Thursday, Aug. 22, Tolle said.
Also, she said, the reopening of Veterans Park has allowed the city’s Thursdays on Main concert series to expand.
The series, now in its third year, typically features outdoor concerts held during the Thursday lunch hour.
This year, the series expanded to include three evening shows, starting with The Entertainers on June 13.
Coconut Groove Band plays Veterans Park on Thursday, July 11. The Fantastic Shakers close out the series on Aug. 8.
The evening Thursdays on Main concerts run from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Admission is free.
Tolle said the reopened park provides another opportunity for families to enjoy the outdoors in downtown Kannapolis.

Contact Hugh Fisher via the editor’s desk at 704-797-4244.

Kannapolis Parks and Recreation offers free concerts and children’s entertainment on Thursday evenings in July and August at Veterans Park, corner of North Main Street and East First Street.
All events begin at 6 p.m. More information at www.cityofkannapolis.com
July 11 – Coconut Groove Band. Variety / easy listening.
July 25 – Imusination in the Park. Dave Crowe’s show for kids, featuring original songs and audience participation.
August 8 – The Fantastic Shakers
August 22 – Imusination in the Park.

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