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Tabling at The Painesville Party in the Park

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, July 15-17th, we tabled for Margaret W. Wong and Associates at Painesville Party in the Park, in Veterans Park in Downtown Painesville.

IMG_2918We talked for a while with Ms. Pam Harting who has been involved with this annual event in various capacities since 1994 including 12 years as its chairperson but this year was acting as co-vendor coordinator. We learned from Ms. Harting that this free, family friendly event, put on by the Painesville Community Improvement Corporation, has been taking place for 36 years now and draws an average crowd of 55,000 to 60,000 people from 43 Ohio counties and 23 states. It is advertised as "Ohio's largest free music festival" with "30 acts on 3 stages." Ms. Harting said that the Party in the Park is "in my blood" and that is was very exciting to be part of the process which is an all-volunteer effort. Moreover, she loves it because it "showcases our community." Ms. Harting, herself, defines it as a music fest that offers a lot of other activities like the "kid zone" where kids of all ages can bounce around on inflatables.

As we often do when we table at festivals, we donated a door prize gift and this time it was a basket full of fruits, IMG_2944 snacks, and a copy of "The Immigrant's Way" by Ms. Margaret W. Wong. Of course we were very happy when this was won by Ms. Harting who, in turn, was happy to have won it.

We set up our booth right next to that of Ms. Maureen Kelly, Lake County Clerk of Courts; Ms. Ann Radcliffe, Lake County Recorder; and Ms. Judy Moran, Lake County Commissioner who are all running for re-election this year and thus call themselves "the girls who govern." The booth on the other side of us was occupied by Farmers Insurance office of Mr. William Thompson who is also the Pastor of the New Life Church in Perry.

In the course of three days quite a few people stopped by including:

****Ms. Kathy Hill who used to work for Margaret W. Wong and Associates before she retired. Ms. Hill said that she didn't expect to see us tabling there but were glad that we were.

**** Dr. Richard Crepage, who we know from City Club and Cleveland Council of World Affairs events, walked over to say hello. As it turned out, even though he lives in Concord (only about 15 minutes away) he told us that this was his IMG_2927first time attending Party in the Park and was really enjoying it.

****Several people who either had, or knew someone who had an issue pertaining to immigration that we might be able to help them with. These included a man who had a friend who had recently immigrated to the United States to be with his spouse; they divorced so now his status is uncertain. We talked to a young woman who had a friend visiting from Germany that would like to stay in the United States if possible. A small business person told us that he wished that he had known of us two years ago when he had a really fine employee from Mexico who had to return to his native land. Then the was a woman from Europe who inquired about the citizenship process; as it turned out she had been living in the United States for over 51 years. To be sure, she was a permanent resident with a Green Card but just hadn't gotten around to applying for citizenship.

IMG_2938 ****A few people just wanted to share experiences. A man said that he was very happy that his sister-in-law who immigrated to the United States from the Philippines was able to obtain her citizenship about 18 months ago. One woman told us that her son-in-law and her grandchildren were Hispanic and, thus, she didn't like what certain political leaders have been saying about immigrants as of late. Another woman, who was there with her son, told us that her late husband immigrated to the United States from the Netherlands and became a U.S. citizen in 1975. Her son proudly told us that his dad had served in the armed forces of both the United States and his native land.

****A teacher from Harvey High School, which is very diverse in terms of ethnicities, suggested to us that our collapsible banner have information on it in Spanish as well as English which just might be a good idea.

****Reverend Vanessa Clark, the Rector of St. James Episcopal Church in Painesville, which was tabling about 30 feet away, visited with us quite a bit. Unfortunately, the perch are just not biting this year so the church's annual "Perch and Pierogis" October event that we love to attend will be "Pork and Pierogis" instead. No big problem though, Reverend Clark assured us that recipes are being studied so that this year's batch of pierogis will be very diverse in terms of ingredients.

****We got a chuckle out of watching a small boy run around wearing a "Tough Guys Wear Pink" t-shirt.

****We complimented a family on their peppy, adorable small dog. We learned that it was a Havanese, a breed of Bichon type, which is the national dog of Cuba. We thought of asking if the dog had been granted asylum but then we learned that it was locally bred so our services would not be needed.

****Along these lines, another small child stopped by our booth for a nectarine. His mom called over to him, "you're an American citizen, you don't have to worry!"


Michael Patterson 

Community Liaison,

Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC

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