The Ironwood Peacock/Co-op Community Organization will hold a neighborhood festival this summer to celebrate families and the history of the East Toledo neighborhood.
Mary Wilson, founder and president of the Ironwood/Peacock organization, said the festival will be held Friday and Saturday, August 23-24, at the Edgar Holmes Park, located in the 1200 block of Ironwood.
On Friday, a “Meet and Greet” with musical entertainment will be held at the park from 6-9 p.m.
Members are currently organizing a rally that will take place prior to the opening ceremonies to be held at noon on Saturday, said Wilson.
“We are putting together a rally to try to help raise awareness of the importance of having a strong family structure as well as to help strengthen and support families in the area,” Wilson said. “We are hoping to march from Waite High School to Edgar Holmes Park on that day.”
Wilson has been in contact with the East Toledo Family Center, the Self Expression Teen Theater, Harbor Behavioral Health Services and other community organizations in order to bring in information for families to use for services and support, she said.
“We are especially concerned for families who have lost a family member to gun and/or gang violence,” Wilson said. “We want them to know they have not been forgotten and that there is support out here for them. We want them to be able to heal and grab hold of and live a more productive life. Hopefully, the rally will also allow them to bond with others who are going through the same things.”
The festival will feature entertainment throughout the day on Saturday. Dee Jay Amy and Fast Eddie will be providing musical entertainment as well as Julian Thomas, Ironwood native Dizzy D. Brown, Tracy Hayes and Allen Everett.
There will be food and games for children as well as “give-a-ways” for families, Wilson said. The organization will also be selling soul food dinners to help raise funds to purchase lawn equipment.
“We take care of our own vacant lots in the neighborhood,” Wilson said. “We had 50 kids between the ages of 11 and 15 looking for some kind of work to do last year. We had them cut grass, pull weeds, pick up trash, etc. in order to keep them busy and to earn a small stipend. Our equipment has lasted us many years, but we have burned out the mowers. We are trying to be self-sufficient and independent in Ironwood. We try not to depend on or wait for the city to do things.”
The organization would also like to develop a summer program and maybe an after school program with funds raised from the dinners.
“If you keep kids busy, you can keep the vandalism and crime down,” Wilson said. “If kids have too much idle time, that is when they will find negative things to do. We want to help support a strong family unit and teach the kids what it is to have neighborhood pride at the same time.”
The soul food dinners will include greens, fried chicken, barbecue ribs with Ernestine Wilborn-Flagg’s famous barbecue sauce, and corn bread. Homemade ice cream will be sold from 4-5 pm. Home made cakes will also be available.
“We are hoping that former residents will come here with their families, set up a picnic or a table in front of where they used to live and just enjoy coming back to the neighborhood to see old friends,” Wilson said. “I have lived here 56 years and I know what it used to be and I have a vision of what it can be. We have so much potential here; we just need the resources to help. I believe in the neighborhood. I do see a better tomorrow. I love my neighborhood and don’t want to be anywhere else.”
Wilson said she is also hoping that the seven generations of the Classy Steppers can reunite during the festival.
For more information on the festival, contact Wilson at 419-309-4021 or Reverend Thomas Hutchens at 567-322-3152. Information on Ironwood can also be found on the organization’s website at http://ironwoodpeacockcoop.webs.com.