Annual Freedom Road Walk for Project Hope for the Homeless; Waterloo Arts Festival; Unity Day at Garden View Park
On Saturday, June 25th, we attended three annual events that demonstrated the diversity of Cleveland and Painesville and how much people living in these places care for each other and take pride in what they do.
Our first event for the day was the 2nd annual Freedom Road 5K and 1 mile walk for Project Hope for the Homeless, the only emergency homeless shelter in Lake County. We said hello to Ms. Judy Burr, Executive Director, and Ms. Stephanie Devers, Communication Director, who we see quite frequently at community events in Lake County.
We got there just in time to take part in the one mile walk. For a while, we walked next to Mr. Steve Sulzer and his wife, Ms. Molly Sulzer, who have volunteered at Project Hope for years. Even though Mr. Sulzer was in a wheelchair, he was determined to take part and did an excellent job wheeling himself for a good part of the way.
We also walked next to Mr. David O'Brien, a local artist, who told us about the several pictures that he had painted on the Project Hope walls.
After the walk, Ms. Bridget Sulzer, Steve and Molly's daughter was works at doing "a little of everything" at Project Hope, took us on a tour so we got to see Mr. O'Brien paintings. We thought that one that he did of Jesus conversing with children was particularly lovely.
Later, we stopped off at the Waterloo Arts Festival located on Waterloo Road on the East Side of Cleveland not too far from where we live in Euclid Beach. This yearly event was put on by Waterloo Arts, a nonprofit art center whose mission is "to enrich the neighborhood culturally and economically by creating a stimulating arts environment through exhibits, performances, special events, and educational programming for people of all ages."
It ran from 12pm until 7pm so we arrived early before things really got crowded, as we knew they eventually would. Our eyebrows went up when we noticed a booth for "The Pierogi Lady" because this business also had a booth at "Night Market" the previous evening staffed by at least one of the same people.
We slowly walked from one end of the festival to the other and occasionally stopped to talk to various artists, musicians, and representatives from businesses and community organizations. These included a booth promoting a the World Yo-Yo Contest that will take place in Cleveland in early August, 2016 at the Renaissance Hotel; a blacksmith from the "Western Reserve Artist Blacksmith Association" who was demonstrating his craft; musicians/street performers from a group named "Busking for Bread" that donates its earnings to charity: and Ms. Linda Zolten Wood from the "Collinwood Painted Rain Barrel Project" who was putting the final touches on a rain barrel that we entered a contest to win.
For lunch we ordered food from..."The Pierogi Lady" (who else?) and ate it as we as we watched an artist from the "Cleveland West Art League" start a painting.
After we left the Waterloo Arts Festival, we went to Gardenview Park near East 88th Street and St. Clair for Umoja/Unity Day which consisted of a small group of vendors and community members present for the final activity of June's black history month.
It was organized by Mr. Lynn Hampton who warmly shook our hand and said it was about "African Sankofa" meaning that one should not forget one's past or one's roots.
We talked to Mr. Greg Simmons from "Books, Books, and More Books" on Kinsman Avenue and Ms. Naieema, a really nice lady who loves going to the cultural events of Cleveland throughout the year. They explained to us that "Umoja/Unity" signifies engaging in practices that cause family members and their communities to come together by building bonds of affection.
Ms. Naieema encouraged us to sample some vegan food produced by "Mo-Bite Products" which had a booth there. If we recall correctly, they also had a booth at a recent One World Day and had fond memories of the food that they served so we walked over and had a vegan cupcake and loved it.
Soon other summer events will be happenings and, if what we saw on this day is any indication, it will be a very good summer indeed.
Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC