A brand new party made its way to Germantown recently with the launch of “Oldies in The Park,” a series of free music events.
An effort of Councilwoman Cindy Bass, and Third Floor Media, the goal of the series is to tap into the potential of Vernon Park and bring Germantown residents together.
“This is a park that really hasn’t lived up to its potential,” Bass said. “We have to take advantage of this and make it a destination that people enjoy coming to.”
The councilwoman added she felt the events would be good for Germantown because it is a home to artists and “people who love music.”
Sure enough, people nodded their heads and danced – with their partners and by themselves – to music from such artists as Marvin Gaye and James Brown.
Others smiled, laughed and complimented friends on their dance moves. This coming together is what Third Floor Media president, and “Oldies” producer Gary Shepherd, said was also a very important part of the “Oldies” series.
“This is a way to have a good time and fellowship together,” Shepherd said. “I want people to realize that we are okay in Germantown, that there is nothing to be afraid of, that it is okay to come to Vernon Park, fellowship and enjoy.”
Shepherd said this was especially important because of the bad views surrounding the area.
“We hear so much about the negative, but this is something positive,” he said. “This is [important] for bringing the pride back to Germantown. It’s a historic place.”
Residents expressed the same feelings and more about the series.
“If people like music, they will like it here,” said Iraina Salaam, a social worker. “The music brings people together in a peaceful way.”
Resident Kenny Driver said it was a good way to “to get familiar with people and do different activities.”
To keep people engaged throughout the series, which ends Aug. 28, there will be tours of Vernon Park’s Wister House – the current home of the Black Writers Museum, dance contests and giveaways.
Event producers are also planning to bring in vendors and food trucks. Local community groups will be invited to address health, financial, and social issues with residents. Mothers in Charge is one group planned to attend.
For Retiree Pat Brown, “Oldies” is a lift for Germantown and her, personally.
“It’s a mix of everybody together – the young and the elderly,” she said. “It will bring everybody together in a peaceful way. And I love the Oldies. All the things on my mind go away when I hear this music.”