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Celebrate fall, cultures Saturday at Packard Park festival

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Harvest festival

What: Celebrate Your Culture Harvest Festival: The Packard Area Planning Alliance invites the public to this multicultural festival featuring food, music and dancing.
When: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday
Where: Packard Park, bounded by Fairfield Avenue, Kinsmoor Avenue, Hoagland Avenue and Packard Avenue.
Cost: Entertainment is free, but you may want to bring money for food.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 12:01 am

Packard Park is the location for the first Celebrate Your Culture Harvest Festival presented Saturday by the Packard Area Planning Alliance, or PAPA.

You don't have to live in the surrounding neighborhoods to attend. “We're planning on having a good time and everybody's invited,” said Fred Lanahan, PAPA president.

“We decided, hey, we need to get something going around here to showcase the Fairfield corridor,” said Michelle Bandor, a festival committee member and president of the Historic South Wayne Neighborhood Association.

The festival at the park, which is on Fairfield Avenue between Kinsmoor and Packard avenues, will have live music and dancing demonstrations throughout the day including belly dancing, Latino dancing, the Celtic music of Dave and Trinity, and local artist Mike Patterson.

The entertainment is free, but you may want to bring money to sample food from The Friendly Fox, Shigs in Pit, the Affine food truck, Billy's Dug Out and more.

Bandor said the purpose of the festival is to show what kind of improvements the neighborhoods are working on along the Fairfield corridor and “get more of our own neighbors out.”

PAPA consists of the Williams-Woodland, Fairfield, Creighton-Home, Oakdale, Historic South Wayne, Illsley Place and West Rudisill Boulevard neighborhood associations. The neighborhoods are bounded by Calhoun Street on the east, Broadway on the west, Creighton Avenue on the north and Rudisill Boulevard on the south.

A subcommittee of PAPA has been working to revitalize the Fairfield Avenue corridor, which Lanahan refers to as the “spine” of the neighborhoods.

Bandor said they're trying to do something similar to what has been done along the Wells Street corridor — bring in new businesses and services and improve the streetscape. Right now, they're focusing on the section of Fairfield near Packard Park. They will be getting new decorative street lighting along Fairfield from Rudisill to Rose Lane.

PAPA got a $750 grant from Pathfinder Services, a nonprofit human services organization, to help with expenses for three festivals this year. The first one was at Packard Park on the National Night Out, which was Aug. 7. The second one is the event this Saturday, and the third will be in December, when the neighborhoods will celebrate the opening of the art gallery in the old Casa restaurant across from Packard Park.

The event this Saturday will be outside in the park, but there are restrooms and a shelter, and there will be tent canopies in case of rain. A block of Kinsmoor Avenue that runs by the Dug Out tavern will be blocked off so people can buy beer, as long as they stay there to drink it.

“We're expecting a good-sized crowd,” Lanahan said.