Successful Liberty City festival brings community together.
– review of the festival at Athalie Range Park (Miami).
Assembled and hosted by local radio DJ Papa Keith, the People Matter Fest kicked off its inaugural celebration this past Saturday at Athalie Range Park. Hundreds of people of all ages came out to compete in the basketball tournament, enjoy the music, play football and partake in samplings from the various community food trucks. Even thought it was hampered by a last-minute venue change, the event turned out to be a massive triumph. A myriad of families brought their kids to play in numerous inflatable amusements or scale massive climbing structures constructed in the field.
However, the new location made it unfeasible to hold live music as planned so 103.5 the Beat instead had DJ’s spinning popular tracks for the crowd. Joining the music, local vendors and sponsors set up various tents throughout the field, including one notable sponsor giving out free haircuts. Setup in a refurbished shipping container small enough to fit on a flatbed truck, the organization Talent 4 Change gave trimmings to local children free of charge. The founder of the organization, Michael Caraballo, said “the goal of the organization is to give back to the community and inspire the local kids to be barbers themselves.” The movable place has been a boon since avoiding a fixed location has increased the amount of people they’re able to reach. Caraballo believes that it’s important for kids to feel good about themselves. Barbers not only help kids feel good, but they are mentors to the kids as well. From the moment, a young man sits in a barber’s chair, the barber can get a chance to encourage them. More details about the project, Buzz Box, can be found at www.Talent4Change.com
About halfway through the festival, the music stopped for a bit for a couple of announcements. First, the winners of the father and son basketball tournament were announced and awarded a massive trophy to commemorate their victory. After that, Papa Keith came on the stage to congratulate everybody that came out and to give a special shout out to everybody that helped with and made the event possible including Circle of Brotherhood, a nonprofit organization helped raise funds for the festival. He then brought out Commissioner Keon Hardemon, who proceeded to give an impassioned speech about the importance of community and to comment on the numerous difficulties that he and Papa Keith came across in attempting to hold this festival. After the Commissioner’s speech, Papa Keith and all the people that helped him throw the festival together were awarded a “Certificate of Appreciation” from Commissioner Keon Hardemon’s office and the City of Miami to commemorate the event, before turning the speakers back over to the DJ’s.
The event went off without a hitch and smiling faces could be seen crowd-wide with so many happy families soaking up the hot sun. Hopefully, the success of this festival will inspire next years festivities to be even bigger. What a great way to celebrate Father’s Day weekend by promoting unity in the community and coming together to stop violence.