The First Annual Herman “Pop” Williams Peaceful Sunday Family Fest will take place from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. on (Easter) Sunday, April 21, at Citizens Park and the Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Center (1028 NE 14th Street). The family-friendly event is a collaboration between Peaceful Sundays organizers, the Duval community and the City of Gainesville.
“I grew up with Sunday, especially Easter Sunday, being an important community day to relax and have fun, with kid events and sports” said community organizer and event namesake Herman “Pop” Williams. “Peaceful Sundays is way to keep this day important to the community and a way for me to give back.”
For more than 30 years Peaceful Sundays has served as a staple in the African American community in Gainesville, where hundreds to thousands have gathered at TB McPherson Park in the Duval Community. In years past, the crowd has grown to nearly 5,000 on Easter Sunday and created challenges for nearby neighborhood residents and safety concerns for the Gainesville Police Department due to the park’s limited capacity to deal with large crowds.
City officials understand the importance of such community events and began discussions earlier this year with the organizers to see how the event could continue in a way that respected the event’s storied history while acknowledging liabilities and concerns, said Interim City Manager Deborah Bowie.
“This event has outgrown its previous location, but we acknowledge that this long-standing tradition is an important part of the community’s fabric, and one we wish to help continue by coming to the table as a partner,” Bowie said.
The joint decision was made to host the event at the MLK Center and Citizens Field. Activities at the site will include fun and activities for all ages including a basketball tournament, flag football games (Eastside vs. PK Younge, Gainesville vs. Santa Fe, Numa Speed vs. Gainesville Stallions), food vendors and a kid’s station with bounce houses, face painting and more. The event is free and open to the public.
For more information, visit www.cityofgainesville.org. Direct media inquiries to Chip Skinner, public information officer at (352) 393-7842 and firstname.lastname@example.org.