Ypsi's Parkridge SummerFest makes successful return to in-person format

Ypsilanti's annual Parkridge SummerFest and Joe Dulin Community Day was back live and in person Aug. 28 after going virtual last summer. 

A total of 23 vendors and 60 community organizations were represented at this year's event, similar to numbers from 2019, according to Ypsilanti resident and festival committee member Cherisa Allen. Attendees began to pour into Parkridge Park as soon as the event opened at 11 a.m.

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority hosted a table at Parkridge SummerFest. Pictured are Alyshia Dyer, Crystal Campbell, Jeanice Townsend, Cherelle Barksdale, Meshia Terrell, and Nora Tucker.
The inaugural Parkridge Summer Festival was held in 2011. Joe Dulin Community Day was an event designed to showcase local nonprofits and community resources and was held on the same day as SummerFest in 2011. Since the two events had similar aims, organizers decided to merge the two events in 2012.

In 2020, the festival continued as a two-hour livestream event due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Allen says the organizing committee considered doing a hybrid event this year, partly in-person and partly online. But with relaxed COVID-19 safety recommendations at the local and state level, the committee decided to go back to the original format.

Festival vendors sold a variety of food and drink, clothing, and other items. Cassandra Amerson of Rich and Rare clothing boutique was on hand selling clothing and designer handbags. Addison Robinson, age 7, was selling lemonade to raise money for her college fund.

Nonprofits and other community groups giving out information and resources during the event ranged from Ann Arbor-based substance use disorder treatment nonprofit Home of New Vision to Ypsilanti-based civic engagement organization Ypsi Can I Share?

A Ypsi Bike Coop volunteer prepares for a bike clinic and a raffle to give away a refurbished bike during Parkridge SummerFest.
Ypsilanti's Corner Health Center also manned a booth, and staff were offering free COVID-19 vaccines. U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell stopped by the Corner Health Center's booth to ask what vaccine they were distributing (Pfizer) and how staff would ensure anyone who got a shot at the festival would come back for the second dose.

Corner Health staff visit with Debbie Dingell.
Kamilah Davis-Wilson, community outreach and education manager at Corner Health Center,  said it felt good to put a face on the nonprofit for those who might not be familiar with it.

"It's being out in the community so people can meet the Corner Health staff in person," she said.

Read about the history and significance of the Parkridge SummerFest here.

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.

Photos by Sarah Rigg.