Monday, November 30, 2015

Georgia Avenue Winter Fest this Saturday: music, food, arts & crafts, fire truck, Christmas tree sales, a lot more!

This sounds really awesome: Georgia Ave Community Development Task Force and the Georgia Ave and Lamont Public Safety Task Force have organized a big festival, the 1st annual Georgia Avenue Winter Fest, which is coming up this Saturday.

The event has a lot going on: live music, performances, arts & crafts, food, a fire truck(!), Christmas tree sales, local nonprofits and organizations, and a ton more.

It's 11am-4pm in the old Murry's Grocery space at 3400 Georgia Avenue NW -- the space has been empty for some time and it was rehabbed by owners and developers Zuckerman Gravely for the event. That's pretty cool -- some good temporary reuse of an abandoned building.

It sounds like a really fun event for kids and adults, families and folks shopping for the holidays.

Here's the full press release with all the details. I'm pretty excited.

Neighbors Unite to Celebrate Georgia Ave at Winter Fest 
A DC community is harnessing community assets to repurpose a currently vacant building and create a safe, fun, space for neighbors to connect, engage and celebrate their neighborhood. The Georgia Ave Community Development Task Force and the Georgia Ave and Lamont Public Safety Task Force will host the 1st Annual Georgia Ave Winter Fest: a neighborhood-wide demonstration of the positive aspects of the Georgia Ave corridor, such as the strong community spirit and activism and the exciting and engaged local businesses in the community. 
The 1st Georgia Ave Winter Fest takes place from 11:00am to 4:00pm on December 5th at 3400 Georgia Avenue NW. The event is free and all are welcome. Attendees can: 
- See performers ranging from salsa dancing to boxing demos, from school choirs and cheerleading to an Opera singer formerly of Park Morton public housing and the DC-based Eminence Band;

- Purchase Christmas trees from Annie’s Ace Hardware with 20% of proceeds going towards the neighborhood;

- Engage in arts and craft activities for children;

- Learn more about city services ranging from youth programming to addiction

- Sample and purchase foods from local restaurants like long-time Georgia Ave
Morgan’s Seafood, EatsPlace restaurant incubator, 11th Street favorite Kangaroo
Boxing Club, and newcomers Heat Da Spot and Colony Club;

- Peruse local artist wares for the holidays;

- View local student’s artwork made specifically or the event;

- Visit DC firefighters and see a fire truck up close and personal;

- Discover additional ways to get involved in the community.

The event has been made possible by massive community support and is being executed completely by volunteer effort and with donated funds. Audra Grant, a volunteer, neighbor, and President of the nearby Luray-Warder Neighborhood Association, says, “This is an opportunity for the community surrounding lower Georgia Avenue to come together and celebrate what lies ahead for the area. We’re excited!” 
The Winter Fest is taking place in the former home of the Murry’s Grocery Store chain which has been under development for over a year and is part of an overabundance of vacant properties along Georgia Avenue. The repurposing of this property for a community celebration is in large part due to support from the owner/developer Zuckerman Gravely. Neighbors hope to set a precedent for community stewardship for other developers with vacant properties in Washington, DC. Says Grant, “It’s an interesting experiment in finding ways to use existing spaces for placemaking activities.”  
The event is a culmination of intense community response to an increase in crime and violence in Washington, DC. It is part of a grassroots effort by neighbors to improve the safety in the area, which includes, among other activities, creating placemaking activities for the area, and repurposing currently vacant property for the neighborhood’s benefit. Laura Recchie, volunteer, and President of Root + Branch, one of the event’s sponsors says, “Seeing the neighborhood unite around this celebration is inspiring. Our neighbors are rallying to emphasize and support the things that make our community amazing.” 
You can learn more about the event at
And here's more about the organizers"
The Georgia Ave and Lamont St Public Safety Task Force is a grassroots neighbor-led response to the rising crime on the 3200 and 3300 block of Georgia Avenue in 2015. They are working with the local police, ANC, City Council and the Mayor’s office to help coordinate neighbors, businesses and city services to help improve the public safety in the area. By collaborating with local neighborhood community groups, developers, business owners, city leadership and fellow neighbors, they have increased camera surveillance and law enforcement presence, conducted regular neighborhood clean ups, addressed nuisance and long term vacant properties, and brought in mobile health units to the area. They are also working diligently to create placemaking activities and experiences to give neighbors ways to connect and engage, such as the 1st Annual Georgia Ave Winter Fest.

The Georgia Avenue Community Development Task Force is a grassroots organization that was formed to ensure equitable development and opportunities exist for current residents along Lower Georgia Avenue. We all want to see Georgia Avenue thrive. But we want to see housing and retail come online that is affordable and desirable to the people that live here.

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