By Eric Ortiz
This story was first published on Southwest Voices.
When was the last time you talked with one of your neighbors? If it’s been a while, now’s your chance. This Saturday, Oct. 2, from 12-4 p.m., neighbors in the Wedge and from across Minneapolis will be at Mueller Park for the Lowry Hill East Neighborhood Association (LHENA) and Draw Community Festival and Drawing Contest.
Here are seven reasons to join them:
1. We will have a drawing contest for all ages with prizes provided by ERIK's Bike Board and Ski Shop, the American Swedish Institute, Minnesota United, Golden Peace Earrings and the Zookalex (a children’s book written by local kids with their dad, me). This contest was inspired by Draw, a local venture dedicated to community color therapy and the co-organizer of our festival. The contest is not your average drawing contest. Not only could your creative skills help you take home a prize, but they could help us grow our community and promote mental health through storytelling and color therapy all at the same time.
2. We will have great food from two of Minnesota’s best-keep secrets, Sadie’s Taste of Love and Abi’s Cafe. Sadie's, also known as The Food Truck With Purpose, will be serving up a delicious menu, including the Burger From Heaven, a vegan Juicy Lucy, smoked turkey burger, salmon croquette burger, vegan spaghetti, kale, peach cobbler and smoothies (berry, mango, tropical enzyme and protein). Abi’s Cafe will also be on hand making pupusas, tacos and more Salvadoran and Mexican specialties. Abi’s has been serving Salvadoran and Mexican food to our local Minneapolis community since 2015. The food is made from scratch and cooked with love. Just like Sadie’s food.
3. We will have free ice cream from Sebastian Joe's. That’s right, free ice cream. We will be handing out scoops of vanilla, chocolate, Oreo and raspberry chocolate chip. So make sure you leave a little room for ice cream from Sebastian Joe’s.
4. While your stomach thanks you, so will your ears. Nathaniel Harris will be providing live music all festival long. Nathaniel is a one-man band who sings songs with messages of love and hope. He can play everything from soul to old-school gospel to funk to blues to Motown. He plays upbeat music for an upbeat audience. You’re in for a treat. Here’s a sampling.
5. Wait, there’s more. We will have tables set up around the park with local business vendor selling their goods and local organizations resource sharing. Tables will include American Relief For Africa (ARAHA), Peer Pressure Fitness, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Brothers EMpowered (a community youth mentorship group in North Minneapolis), Honor Roll Athletics (a youth-led and youth-run clothing and merchandise business that is part of Brothers EMpowered Youth Social Enterprise Program), Nat's Uptown Books (a local bookstore in the Wedge), 7 Generation Games (an educational video game company) and Aniki Allen (a 14-year-old entrepreneur who started his business journey at the age of 9 and now has his own clothing brand).
6. Southwest Voices will be launching their listening tour at the LHENA community festival. Southwest Voices is the new news and information service for Southwest Minneapolis that has replaced the Southwest Journal (which closed in December 2020). Southwest Voices will be serving 20 neighborhoods and believes this corner of the city deserves a news source that both celebrates its strengths and reveals its shortcomings so it can become a more welcoming and caring community. Southwest Voices will be coming to a community near you (starting this Saturday) to learn how we all can work together to create solutions that make our communities stronger and better. Southwest Voices also will be launching a membership program in the next couple of weeks. When that happens, a portion of their membership revenue will go directly to neighborhood associations like ours. In the meantime, you should sign up for their email list on their website, SouthwestVoices.news, or follow them on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook @SWVoicesMPLS. They're also hiring for two positions that will help build the organization, a founding editor and a civic producer. You can find details on both positions here.
7. You can be a part of the festival. If you want to lend a helping hand, please sign up for a volunteer role here or shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The more, the merrier. Remember, it takes a village to change the world. And change starts at home.
We’ll have something fun for everyone this Saturday at Mueller Park. See you there!
Eric Ortiz is the president of the Lowry Hill East Neighborhood Association.