Springfield PromiseFest focuses on change, peace

The Springfield Promise Neighborhood Association will continue down a path it began a few weeks for its sixth annual PromiseFest event.

Following its participation in a peace march that coincided with Springfield’s National Night Out in August, Promise Neighborhood will use the theme “Chains of Change – the Places We Will Go” for this year’s event from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday at Lincoln Elementary School, 1500 Tibbetts Ave.

PromiseFest is free and open to the public. It’s held in conjunction with the Clark County Department of Job & Family Services, prosecutor’s office and Springfield City School District.

The goal of PromiseFest is for residents to meet neighbors and learn about community resources. Promise Neighborhood works to alleviate the challenges and improve the lives of children and families in the Lincoln Elementary School area.

The message of the peace march plays into the values of Promise Neighborhood and was a natural extension for PromiseFest, according to Eric Smith, Promise Neighborhood community coordinator.

“We’re seeing people rising up to become people of peace in our community,” he said.

PromiseFest will be highlighted by a performance by Christian hip-hop artist Kelly “The Prodigal Son” Williams at 3:30 p.m.

Smith said Williams, an Ohio native, fits in perfectly as he does energetic performances with a message against violence.

The performance will be preceded by a grassroots talent show at 2:30 p.m. focusing on local artists.

“We hope people coming will come to realize there’s a wealth of gifts, strengths and abilities in this area and this is one way to show it off,” Smith said.

The day will be capped off with a ceremony of sorts with the first public reading of a proclamation drawn up by the Promise Neighborhood.

The proclamation, which will be read by Springfield Fire Chief Nick Heimlich and Laura Baxter, executive director of Project Woman, focuses on making Springfield a city of peace, connecting it to a non-violence week campaign.

Promise Neighborhood officials plan to present the proclamation to city commissioners.

Other new features will be a 3-on-3 basketball tournament, bounce house and petting zoo for kids.

Family activities will include face painting and a family photo booth. Also included will be information on education and social services.

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