By Evan Casey
Not many things are free these days, so Milwaukee citizen Kenneth Spears decided to jump on the opportunity to attend a free family carnival on the north side, last Saturday afternoon. He and his daughter played bean toss as they enjoyed free food handed out by Our Savior’s Lutheran Church.
“There’s so much bad stuff happening now and it’s important that we come together in any way we can,” he said. “Everyone tends to not support the community but that’s something we need to start doing.”
The free carnival was hosted by Safe and Sound, multiple other community organizations and businesses such as Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and Near West Side Partners. The carnival boasted free admission and food, along with a DJ set, face painting and a bouncy castle. Nearly 15 resource tables were also available for citizens, including UW-Milwaukee, the Milwaukee Police Department and Artists Working in Education, among others.
“This is part of what we do,” said Selma Aly, a Safe and Sound organizer. “There’s a diversity of people here… not everyone is just from the neighborhood. It’s just been amazing.”
Safe and Sound is a Milwaukee non-profit working to “bridge the gap between law enforcement and local residents,” according to a press release. Although this is the first carnival they have hosted, they hope to make it an annual tradition.
Adrian Spencer, the Drug Free Communities Manager for Safe and Sound, said bringing vendors to the carnival was important.
“People can meet resources where they are without having to go too far,’’ said Spencer.
Youth organizers from Safe and Sound also took part in the events.
“We all get to come together, and are having fun while playing games and eating,” said Jadah Webb of the 27th Street Drug Free Coalition, a coalition in partnership with Safe and Sound. “I feel like it’s good for the community. We deserve this and we need it every once and awhile.”
Kenneth Spears agrees. “It helps to recognize the good things happening in the community,” he said. “Everybody can come together and show support, no matter the race, the color of their skin.”