Westhaven Festival Sheds Positive Light On Community

August 4, 2007

Plenty of Charlottesville residents were out in the heat Saturday to enjoy the 10th annual Westhaven Community Day.

People at Saturday's event said sometimes the Westhaven Community is portrayed in a negative way. Saturday was about getting rid of that image, and showing Westhaven as a positive community.

"I just like seeing everybody out here there is no drama for once, everywhere you go there's drama so it's nice to see everybody having fun for once," said Anthony Mason.

The day was filled with family fun, free health screenings, and a community service organizations fair.

"It's just a wonderful time. There's so much that you can learn from the side tables," said Mason.

But the community day was more than just a party, it's about building a positive image in a community that can get negative attention.

"Unfortunately this is one of the neighborhoods where negative things happen sometimes, and this is like positive reinforcement for this neighborhood to say that positive things happen here too," said Lillie Williams.

"Today is to show that we are not bad people, we are community people," said outreach coordinator Joy Johnson.

It is for these reason that they've held the community day for the last 10 years.

"Most of the time the media portrays our public housing side as a negative and we just want to show that there is a positive thing going on," said Johnson.

Organizers hope Saturday;s community day is a step in the positive direction.

"I think that it shows that even though bad things go on, when people come together, good things happen," said Mason.

Saturday's event included free food, speakers, awards, races, bingo, pony rides, and a dunking booth. The festival will continue until 8:00pm Saturday night.

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