Ypsi's 9th annual Parkridge Summer Festival features local musicians, community resources

The ninth annual Parkridge Summer Festival and Joe Dulin Community Day will take place at Ypsilanti's Parkridge Park from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Aug. 24, providing an opportunity for residents to learn more about community resources while enjoying free food and entertainment.


Summer Fest and Joe Dulin Day were two separate events that combined forces in 2012, since they had similar goals of bringing community members together and sharing resources.


Partnering with the Washtenaw County Office of Community and Economic Development, the summer festival committee brings 60 government/social service agencies and local nonprofits to staff booths and provide information and resources to attendees.


The day also includes dozens of food and merchandise vendors, back-to-school giveaways, and musical performances. Youth activities will be facilitated by local nonprofit Mentor 2 Youth. Proceeds from a 50/50 raffle will be used to fund the festival in future years.


The festival has featured musical acts from the beginning, but this year organizers put a special emphasis on local musicians. The Ypsilanti Community Schools Choir, Alecia Reynolds and the First Groove Band, and seven other acts will perform from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. From 4-6 p.m., the Ypsi-based headline act, John E. Lawrence Band, will host a tribute to Robert Evans, a local talent who was active in the festival for many years before passing away in 2018.


The festival committee also honors a handful of residents who are active in education, government, or business each year. This year, four police officers will be honored, according to Washtenaw County commissioner and Parkridge Summer Fest Committee member Ricky Jefferson.


"Each year since the beginning we've honored those who are living, not those who are deceased, who have contributed to make our community a better place," Jefferson says.


He says the four officers are being honored for their compassionate work with local children and families in the '60s and '70s, doing what is now called "community policing" before that concept became a trend.


Jefferson says his favorite part of the festival is the way it brings together old friends and neighbors who haven't seen each other in a long time.


"This is an opportunity for residents of Ypsilanti and surrounding communities to come enjoy sunshine in a beautiful park and rekindle friendships every year," Jefferson says.


Applications for merchant booths will be accepted through Friday. Interested parties can contact Cherisa Allen at cherisaallen@gmail.com for an application and more information. For more on the festival's history and significance to the Ypsi community, read our feature on it from last year.


Sarah Rigg is a freelance writer and editor in Ypsilanti Township and the project manager of On the Ground Ypsilanti. She joined Concentrate as a news writer in early 2017 and is an occasional contributor to other Issue Media Group publications. You may reach her at sarahrigg1@gmail.com.

Photo courtesy of Washtenaw County Office of Community and Economic Development.

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