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Posted on Fri, Aug 23, 2013 : 4:13 p.m.

Saturday's Parkridge Summer Festival in Ypsilanti to highlight economic resources along with family fun

By Tom Perkins

Washtenaw County residents will have an opportunity to explore the wide range of free and low-cost economic services they can take advantage of through the Parkridge Community Center, Washtenaw County and area nonprofits.

This Saturday’s Parkridge Summer Festival at Ypsilanti’s Parkridge Community Center highlights the many programs and resources available to residents and is put on by the center and the Washtenaw County Office of Community and Economic Development.

The all day-event starts at 11 a.m. on Saturday and runs through 8:30 p.m.

Aside from offering information on programs available to residents, the day is also about family fun. It includes a car show, dozens of vendors, kids’ face painting, games, food vendors and live entertainment from area musicians and choirs. The Washtenaw County Balling Series All-Star basketball game will also be held.


The Parkridge Community Center in Ypsilanti.

Courtesy of the city of Ypsilanti

Non-profit agencies and county departments will be on hand between 1 and 4 p.m. to provide information regarding free and/or low cost programs and services, including:

  • Job Training Programs
  • Public Health Services
  • Youth Mentoring /Employment Services
  • Senior Services
  • Home Rehabilitation Services
  • Summer Food Service
  • Eviction Prevention
  • Veteran’s Services

The festival is its third year and aims to “bring communities together and encourage networking for positive change,” and it stems from the now-defunct Black Arts Fair.

“The response of the people who attended the 2011 festival was emotional excitement because not since the last Black Arts Fair had there been an event to draw a crowd of this size in Parkridge Park,” said Ypsilanti Council Member Ricky Jefferson, who is on the steering committee. “For some of us who were old enough to remember the Arts Fair, there was a feeling of gratitude for having the park full of children playing again, seniors being able to get out to see people they haven't seen for years.

“The desire of people in the community for the festival to become an annual tradition was and still is overwhelming.”

Jefferson said the partnership with the Washtenaw County Office of Community and Economic Development adds a new dimension to the festival.

“Because of the great loss of job opportunities in the area the need for knowing how to obtain resources to help maneuver through tough times is imperative,” he sad. “Offering the community a festival atmosphere helps to take the focus off daily worries, feelings of hopelessness and nurtures feelings of unity and hope. This festival is open for everyone to enjoy.”

Tom Perkins is a freelance reporter. Contact the news desk at