Despite intermittently cloudy weather, Maxwell Park’s 2013 “Day in the Park” event was well-attended, with local families gathered together for food, fun, and music. The day-long event officially kicked off at twelve noon with live music by Les Amis Zydeco, who lit up the park with their infectious dance rhythms. Many Maxwell Park residents were already there enjoying the day’s festivities before. Vendors arrived at nine am to set up. Other musical offerings included the Blue Bone Express, Rotation of Creation, and the Westlake Jazz Combo. While still in junior high school, Westlake Jazz Combo has already made a big splash, performing at local venues such as Yoshi’s that adult musicians would find themselves envying.
Happy neighbors shook hands or exchanged hugs, some meeting face to face for the first time after exchanging greetings over the internet on the MP NCPC Beat 27x email list. The cheerful neighbors seemed determined to celebrate life, and not let recent neighborhood crimes including senseless death of Judy Salamon in July dampen their spirits – although the police presence, the First Alarm booth and scattered conversations about the private patrol were reminders of the neighborhood’s recent tragedy, and with the case still open, Maxwell Park has yet to have received much-needed closure.
Towards the end of the day, the sun began to shine, and by two-thirty pm there were about two hundred adult and children gathered in the area between Courtland and Monticello on Fleming, in the park, and up through to Peter Pan Nursery School on Allendale. Many of the attendees were young children, playing in the playground. Adults crowded around the two chess tables, and everyone made full use of the many improvements the park has seen over the past half-decade, including new picnic benches, mosaics, and an attractive new garden area.
Local vendors occupied about two dozen booths, selling clothing, books, artwork, postcards, food, and services such as solar panels, alarm systems, and bicycle repair. Not only was Laurel Bookstore present, manning (or “womaning”) a booth and giving away gift certificates, but at least two authors had booths there, underscoring the importance of literary arts to the quiet, creative community known for its beautiful park mosaics. The mosaics themselves were honored at 3pm, and postcards and other souvenirs were available to the public.