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Festival unites North/Northeast community with fun, music, more; it takes place Friday-Sunday, June 21-23 in and around King School Park

COURTESY PHOTO - A highlight of the Good in the Hood Festival is 503 Slider, a local stepper group that performs every year. The festival takes place Friday through Sunday, June 21-23.One of the most beloved annual community celebrations will take place in Northeast Portland from Friday through Sunday, June 21-23.

The 27th Annual Good in the Hood Multicultural Music and Food Festival will take place in and around King School Park, located at Northeast Sixth Avenue and Humboldt Street. Rooted in North and Northeast Portland, the family-friendly event will include live music, craft and food booths, activities for kids, health screenings, information on community resources, and much more.

Activities begin at 6 p.m. Friday with music and a showing of the "Black Panther" movie in the park when the sun goes down.

They resume at 11 a.m. Saturday with the annual parade that begins at the park adjacent to Legacy Emanuel Hospital at Northeast Russell and Williams. The grand marshal will be Lincoln High School graduate Robin Marks, a former star NCAA track and field athlete who also served as Rose Festival and Fiesta Bowl queen.

"The festival really begins when the parade reaches the park," says organization Vice President Simone Carter, an educator, outreach coordinator and grant manager at Legacy Emanuel Hospital, as well as a part-time teacher at Portland Community College.

Activities will then continue at 11 a.m. Sunday and into the evening with more music and a headlining performance by Angela Winbush, a national award-winning R&B/soul singer.

Other highlights include drawings for free bikes and scooters, $6 bike helmets, and a basketball giveaway and dance clinic by the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday.

Unlike most neighborhood fairs, the three-day event is not organized by a local business district or neighborhood association, but by a nonprofit organization that provides year-round referral services to people and households in need. Much of the assistance comes from social service agencies that have participated in the event over the years.

"We get calls all year from people who said they learned about us at the festival, and (for example) now their power is going to be shut off and they want to know who can help them. And we can tell them because of our partnerships," Carter says.

It's an associated event with the Portland Rose Festival this year. According to Carter, the organization, incorporated as Good in the Hood, is all about bringing people together.

"Our mission is building unity in the community, and we can't do that if we're not around," Carter says.

And it is all volunteer driven, with a five-member board that meets year-round, a 20-member planning committee that comes together five months before each event, and hundreds of volunteers who show up early and stay late each day.

"We couldn't do it without the volunteers who are working for something bigger than themselves," Carter says.

This year's festival also has more than 20 sponsors, ranging from Legacy to Albina Construction, the Urban League, Grocery Outlet, Providence Health System and multiple city bureaus.

The festival started 27 years ago as a one-day event at Holy Redeemer Catholic School in Northeast Portland. It was held in the parking lot to raise money to help low-income families of students pay the tuition. The mix of music, food and community celebration proved so popular, the event continued for a few more years before outgrowing the location. The board first moved it to the park adjacent to King Middle School and then to the park adjacent to Harriet Tubman Middle School, before moving it back to King Park last year in honor of the 50th anniversary of the death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The vast majority of the entertainment is local and will include sets by such well-known performers as Norman Sylvester, who helped organize and played at the first festival. Also appearing will be 503 Slider, a local stepper group that performs every year. Proceeds now fund scholarships for anyone going to college regardless of age. Applications will be available at the Kids Space.

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