By Lee Perlman
For the Hollywood Star News, June, 2010
The Good in the Neighborhood festival will be back again for the 18th time this month. Originally a three-day affair, it has expanded over the years. It will start with a kickoff event from 6 to 10 p.m. June 21 at Kennedy School, 5736 N.E. 33rd Ave., with food, dancing, live music, and a fashion show by Amani. There will be a “mixer” from 6 to 10 p.m. June 25 at the festival site, King School Park at 4815 N.E. 7th Ave., again with food and live music. The festival starts in earnest at noon the next day with a parade from Emanuel Hospital along Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to the Park. Until 9:30 p.m. that night, and from noon to 7:30 p.m. the next day, the festival will continue with live music, food vendors, a beer garden, an Information Village featuring useful information from public agencies and non-profits, children’s activities, and an Ethnic Market Place with interesting merchandise for sale (some of it one-of-a-kind) from local merchants and craftspeople. A full music schedule was not available at press time, but it includes such favorites and stalwarts as Ocean 503, Patrick Lamb and Norman Sylvester. Admission to all of the above is free.
This year also, on Sunday, the King Farmer’s Market will share the space from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. A tight fit for so much activity, but last year’s experience proves it can be done.
When the festival was first conceived during the early 1990s, when gang activity was at its height and many considered this part of town an unsafe place to be, the festival was conceived of as a way to showcase the positive things that inner North-Northeast Portland had to offer. (Housed in Holy Redeemer School grounds, it also lent itself to charging admission fees and fundraising. Of course things have changed since then; the festival moved to King School several years ago, inner North and Northeast have become trendy rather than forbidden territory, and the Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods has become the lead sponsor and fiscal agent of the event. However, organizer Cheryl Roberts feels it’s needed now perhaps more than ever.
“The mission’s changed somewhat,” she told the Star. “Now we provide a chance for old residents to interact with newcomers, who have new expectations. We bring them together, and we’ve done a really good job of that. The Information Village gives people a chance to access the available resources; and, with economic conditions the way they are, we need them more than ever. The Ethnic Marketplace is a venue for local entrepreneurs. And during these times, it’s good for people to be able to have some free entertainment.”
Space is still available in the Information Village and Ethnic Marketplace. To reserve it, or for more other information, call (503) 181-1288 or visit goodintheneighborhood.org.