Midtown block party celebrates Latin American culture and brings neighbors together – Daily Freeman

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KINGSTON, NY – Midtown celebrated the independence of several Latin American countries with a block party on Liberty Street.

The event featured mariachi music, free food, and vendors selling trinkets, jewelry, and toys. Many neighbors joined in the festivities, pulling chairs onto their porches or the sidewalk and grabbing everything from tamales to burgers and hot dogs.

The Reverend Joy McVane, pastor of the One Hope community at Clinton Ave Methodist Church, who helped organize the event with Jeanne Edwards and other neighbors, said it was only natural to celebrate the holiday because many Latin American families live near the church, especially from Mexico and Guatemala.

September 15 is Independence Day for Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica, while September 16 is Independence Day for Mexico.

“The church is part of the neighborhood,” McVane said. “When Jesus said ‘love your neighbour,’ he was talking about the people around the church and we take that seriously.”

“All the neighbors pooled their money for it, except the music, which was sponsored by Radio Kingston,” Edwards said.

Nereida Jimenez, who lives in the neighborhood, said she liked the family and welcoming atmosphere.

“I never thought we would be celebrating Independence Day here,” Jimenez said. “I feel very, very happy, it’s perfect”

Margie Menard, executive director of the Kingston Library, provided crafts for children and was due to read the picture book ‘Pepe and the Parade’.

“It’s amazing. It’s wonderful,” she said as she set up a table for crafts and story time, with the kids crafting maracas being able to decorate being the biggest hit.

Tyrone Linen came from the end of the street with his grandchildren Zakeem Jackson, Anthony Jackson, both 9, and Sophia Jackson, 7, who took turns riding the mechanical bull.

“It’s good that everyone is here having fun,” Jackson said as Zakeem rode the bull.

Zakeem Jackson, 9, grandson of Tryone Linen, of Liberty Street, Kingston, rides a mechanical bull during the Midtown Spanish Independence Celebration block party on Liberty Street in Midtown Kingston, September 17, 2022 (Brian Hubert/Daily Freeman)

Latelsha Richardson stumbled upon the party after stopping by the Blue Fridge at the Clinton Avenue Methodist Church. “It was a surprise for me. I like the band,” she said.

Nina Dawson, director of the Ulster County Youth Bureau, also stumbled upon the party. She said events like this and the Bridge the Gap festival last weekend, which she helped organize, can provide many benefits to the community.

“It’s great when we can do things together, rather than gun violence,” Dawson said.

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