Nashville Neighbors Celebration a phenomenal success

Seven-year-old Keyaira Stinson gets her face painted. (photo by Deborah A. Culp)

Seven-year-old Keyaira Stinson gets her face painted. (photo by Deborah A. Culp)

The 5th annual Nashville Neighborhoods Celebration Day held on September 30 should go down in mid-south history as a monument of love and unity. That’s putting it lightly because it was so much more. For months, the planning committee held meetings, planned and constructively worked out all details to make the event possible.

One committee member was overheard saying “it’s like the birth of a child which has come full term, healthy, happy and very much alive.”

The event was held at Elizabeth Park, located at 1701 Arthur Avenue. Elizabeth Park is a physically small park compared to others, but it’s very large in heart and soul. In the midst of a triangular formation, the park is bordered by Buchannan, 11th Avenue and Jane Street.

The final attendance tally came in at over 3,000 people who joyously participated in the celebration.

It was also the first time that North Nashville hosted the successful event. Participation and support was citywide, sanctioned by Mayor Megan Barry, state Rep. Brenda Gilmore and other elected officials.

Community involvement and support also streamed in from media outlets, businesses, countless individuals and non-profit organizations, including the Urban League of Middle Tennessee.

Nashville’s Neighborhood Resource Center (NRC) is the nucleus of the annual Nashville Neighbor-hoods (Good Neighbors) Celebration Day. NRC staff members include: Jim Hawk, executive director; Valeri Otey-Nellis, leadership development specialist; Tricia Frantz, development coordinator; and contractual staff members Tonya Sherrell-Bond, bookkeeper, and Hwesi Zanu, grant writer. These individuals were the proverbial glue holding it all together.

The host committee included: Dr. Deborah Cole, honorary chair; Tonya Sherrell, chair; Kelly Bonadies, vice chair; Margret Beach; Reginia Boyd; Ruby Brown–Battle; Gina Coleman; Anita Fletcher; Amy Garten; Derek Garten; Joyce George; Alisha Haddock; Sedora Johnson; Van Pinnock; Calvin Stewart; and Dennis R. Swett.

It’s been said, “if you don’t advertise and promote, it can be like winking in the dark—no one knows what you are doing but you!” Keeping the public in the know was due in part by the celebration’s ‘marketing and media team,’ including: Bob Rehley, coordinator; Eric R. Howell, assistant coordinator; Deborah A. Culp; and Nathan Fields. The names and acknowledgements were many, and each one of them was equally appreciated.

The day of merrymaking and celebration included: the Neighborhoods Showcase; the NRC Engagement Zone; a North Nashville History Project; outdoor games and activities; and an information bazaar and marketplace. There were various contests with amazing prizes, including: a baking contest; a dancing contest (with multi-age range categories); and a ‘chili cook-off’; three different street parades; two bouncy houses and children’s games; face painting; an array of vendors; music; a 3-on-3 basketball tournament; a World Food Pavilion, and much more.

This year’s event included an invested involvement from the North Nashville Leadership Council.

“Although my leadership term has come to an end, I’ve enjoyed my time and am grateful to have been a key component in the organization,” said outgoing North Nashville Leadership Chair Tonya Sherrell-Bond. “The 5th annual Nashville Neighborhoods Celebration Day was the proverbial icing on the cake.

The phenomenal success of this event held in North Nashville this year, allowed me to go out with a blessed bang!”

No doubt, plans for next year’s 6th annual Nashville Neighborhoods Celebration Day will be underway soon.