A series of fun events returns to Garfield Park this summer

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The Garfield Park Community Council (GPCC) has relaunched its PlayStreets summer outdoor event series after a pandemic-induced one-year hiatus, but the pandemic still informs many aspects of the event.

For the past 10 years, GPCC has hosted outdoor events at East Garfield Park and West Garfield Park to encourage the community to come together, connect to resources, and enjoy free activities, games and food.

Due to concerns about vaccination disparities in black communities and the spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19, the organizers of PlayStreets have placed an emphasis on safety during the events. Unvaccinated residents will be able to get vaccinated at each event and organizers are encouraging attendees to wear masks and social distancing.

This year’s first PlayStreets event took place on July 17 around the Fulton Street Flower and Vegetable Garden, 4427 W. Fulton St.

The next PlayStreets event will take place on July 31 at Herban Produce Urban Farm, 2900 W. Van Buren, from 2 pm to 5 pm, with three more events scheduled for August.

While the July 17 event saw only one person get the shot, attendees and neighbors agreed that the opportunity to come together and do something positive was welcome, especially after about a day or so. year of limited gatherings.

The PlayStreets are hosted by Angela Taylor, GPCC Wellness Coordinator. The July 17 event took place in the neighborhood where she and her husband, Sammie Taylor, live. She said the event was not completely gone in 2020. They were still hosting virtual events. In 2021, she’s trying to balance having people together outside and keeping them as safe as possible.

“We are always masked, always socially distanced, while bringing residents together for something positive,” Taylor said. “We try to promote the fact that we can come together and not hug each other. We can do things like ride a bicycle while maintaining social distancing. “

Taylor and most of the volunteers wore masks, but while masks were encouraged, they weren’t required. Taylor also personally toured the block, asking his neighbors if they were vaccinated and encouraging those who did to take the opportunity. Several replied that they had already been vaccinated while one said he was considering getting the vaccine, but was scared.

In addition to the vaccination tent, the July 17 PlayStreets featured a cooking demonstration, games, and toy and book giveaways. Representatives from the Garfield Park Conservatory distributed activity kits for children.

Working Bikes, a Pilsen-based nonprofit bike shop at 2434 S Western Ave., of which Taylor sits on the board, handed out bikes and organized a bike ride around nearby blocks at the start of the ‘event. Working Bikes board member Phil Caplan said residents who have obtained bikes will be able to have them repaired for free at the store.

“We donated over 50 bikes today,” he said. “Getting the bikes brings people together and allows them to get around and shop. “

Longtime resident John Ware mostly watched the festivities from his front porch. He said his block has a very strong block club, with many events taking place throughout the year and he was happy with it.

“I think Mr. and Mrs. Taylor do a great job organizing community events,” he said. “It was a great gift of a bicycle for the neighborhood children.”

For more information on PlayStreets events, visit https://www.gpcommunitycouncil.org/programs/playstreets.


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