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Out & About in Cleveland

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Painesville Party in the Park and American Nationalities Banquet

On Friday, July 18th, we contributed to Painesville's Annual Party in the Park by volunteering from 3:30pm to 8pm in the Kidzone where we monitored the super slide to prevent youngster pile-ups, tears, and discontented families. We relieved Ms. Linda Reed, Executive Director of the Painesville Chamber of Commerce who called out to us as she was leaving, "don't let too many kids on the slide at once!" All told, it was a lot tougher than we we thought it would be because we had to keep our left eye on the stairs leading up to the top of the slide to make sure that only a couple of children were climbing at the same time and our right eye on the base of the slide to make sure the children got off the slide ASAP before the next slider (in some case acrobat) came tumbling down on top of them.

We recalled Judge Ralph Perk, Jr.'s words at the American Nationalities Movement Banquet the night before about "eternal vigilance" because that's certainly what we had to be. We worked with Pastor Jeff Sivyer of the Grove Church of Painesville, who is also the President of the Executive Board of the Painesville Chamber of Commerce, who said that after his shift he had a lot of texts and messages to return because he had been so focused on supervising the activity at his inflatable for the last four hours.

Nevertheless, we loved working with Pastor Jeff who was very grateful that Margaret W. Wong and Associates cared enough about their community to send someone to help.

To be sure, the Party in the Park which takes place over three days in Veterans Park in Painesville is quite an affair; last year over 55,000 people attended what is advertised as "one of the nation's largest free music festivals." This year there will be over 30 musical acts representing such genres as rock, jazz, blues, funk, sole, and motown and about 40 food and merchandise vendors.

After our tour of duty on Friday, we walked around for a while and talked to various people and gave them our contact info because Painesville has a very diverse population including many foreign born residents who have recently immigrated to the United States and we hope to spend more time there.

Afterwards, though, we needed to unwind for a while so off we headed to Whiskey Island to attend a party organized by members of Women's Happy Hour and Gay Games 9 in Wendy Park. We arrived after 9pm to an event that started at 6pm so things were at the point where one could just walk around on the grass, listen to music and chat the rest of the evening away so we greeted old friends from the LGBT Center of Greater Cleveland and Gay Games 9 who were still there hanging out.

The two main organizers of this event were Ms. Luz Pellot who we know through Plexus and Ms. Michelle Delozier of Women's Happy Hour who were both glad to see us there. We also spent some time talking to Mr. Mitch Delozier, who is Michelle's son, who was very busy taking donations and selling raffle tickets and says that it is estimated that Gay Games 9 will bring $90 million dollars worth of business to the Northeast Ohio area! We sure hope that this estimate proves to be correct.

We were also appreciative of the people working the bar who shared their own leftover pizza with us when they learned about our efforts at the previous event because even though we had some noodles before we left the Painesville Party in the Park, working with those munchkins made us extra hungry on this particular evening.

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