Saluting Vibrant Communities at the Nashville Neighborhood Celebration

By Laura Pochodylo

The first hint of a fall breeze in Nashville brought many North Nashville neighbors out to celebrate Good Neighbor Day on September 30. The Nashville Neighborhood Celebration’s annually rotating festival found a home this year in North Nashville’s Elizabeth Park, where a handwritten “Welcome” in chalk greeted everyone.

More than 3,000 people attended the event and helped celebrate the vibrancy and diversity of the neighborhoods and communities closest to their hearts. In addition to the parades, dance contests, games, food from around the world and a famous chili cook-off, the Nashville Neighborhood Celebration also allowed neighbors to connect with the some of the key services and organizations that operate in their neighborhoods and engage with neighbors they might not have met before.

This year’s Neighborhood Celebration had a wide variety of performers onstage. The Global Education Center (GEC) Drummers & Dancers drummed up fun in front of food trucks, inspiring audience members to stand up and dance to their rhythms while calling out encouragement in different languages. In addition to the GEC ensemble, singer-songwriter Xandra Lee, the Tennessee State University Commercial Ensemble, Ted Drozdowski’s Scissormen and MD & Cobalt Blue all performed.

Artists entertain the crowd at the Nashville Music Stage.

Artists entertain the crowd at the Nashville Music Stage.

Throughout the day, there were parades honoring neighbors and their roles in their community, featuring three main groups: elected officials, neighborhood leaders, and public and civil servants. A banjo player and a pair of horn players made enough commotion to clear the path for the parade past the booths and basketball court.

The North Nashville History Project’s display of photographs of North Nashville landmarks.

The North Nashville History Project’s display of photographs of North Nashville landmarks.

In addition to dancing and parades, the North Nashville History Project’s tent featured historic photos and documents, along with volunteers on hand to discuss the work done by the group. Their booth complemented the nearby Spoken Word Stage, where local poets and storytellers performed original works to the crowd.

Nashville city services also had informational booths at the festival. Some even brought props, like the Metro Transit Association’s city bus, which families could visit. City workers were on hand to talk about water, power services and more utilities specific to the North Nashville and Elizabeth Park areas and answer any questions from festival-goers.

Also on the scene was Comcast’s Internet Essentials program. The low-cost internet subscription provides affordable access to internet, as well as the option to buy a low-cost computer and receive training to maximize digital literacy. All students within Metro Nashville Public Schools are eligible for Internet Essentials in addition to any neighbors who live in public housing assistance, including Section 8.

Overall, North Nashville’s celebration of community during the Nashville Neighborhood Celebration at Elizabeth Park was both fun and informative, as well as full of delicious food and exciting music. Keep a eye out to see what Nashville neighborhood the festival heads to next year.

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