September 21, 2010
The Richmond spirit
RICHMOND – Music, food, wine and dancing are four things that
help put a positive spirit back in the heart of Richmond.
The Richmond Main Street Non-profit Organization had its second
annual Spirit &' Soul Festival Sunday from noon to 4
The founder of Richmond Main Street, Amanda Elliott, says
that her organization's mission is to "revitalize Downtown
Richmond" and the Spirit &' Soul Festival fundraiser
was intended to bring the people of Richmond together for a
"The whole point (of the festival) is to bring people downtown
and to revitalize downtown Richmond," Elliott said.
Richmond Main Street is located on Macdonald Avenue, and the
organization will be having other events to make a change in
the community and rebuild Main Street. They are planning to
have at least four events every year, and they want to have
these events in the middle of the city to spread awareness.
The festival took place in a garden on the corner of Macdonald
Avenue and Harbour Way. Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin said
that positive events such as Spirit &' Soul are happening
more and more in the city, and that she is very involved with
Richmond Main Street.
McLaughlin says that she often coordinates with Elliott in
various events and that she was there to "share a good time
with the community."
"(The festival is held) to make people feel like Richmond
is their city. It's their place," McLaughlin said.
McLaughlin works with Elliott in other events, such as their
monthly health awareness demonstration meetings held the first
Friday of every month in Harbour Way Park.
Contra Costa College President McKinley Williams and his gospel
music group, Constinance, performed in front of the crowd.
"We don't perform much, but we're doing this for Amanda to
support the Richmond Main Street Project," Williams said.
The festival is a great activity and "Richmond needs these
events," he said. He also said that he fully supports and is
involved with the Richmond Main Street Organization. Program
Coordinator Anyka Barber said that the Spirit &' Soul
Festival was inspired to promote change and highlight the
good things that are happening in Richmond.
The gala was catered by culinary arts department Chairman
Nader Sharkes and the CCC culinary art students. Sharkes said
that it was "great to be out in the community, putting a good
presence out there."
The menu had many different selections including anti-pasta,
salami with cheese, chicken empanadas and wine.
The stone walkway was artfully decorated with the word "Welcome" spread
out in front of the gates. The $40 admission proceeds will
go to support local Richmond businesses and other Richmond
Main Street programs, such as their youth program and their
Clean and Safe Initiative.
Volunteer and Richmond resident Amira Hayes said she joined
the production of this event because it is a "good opportunity
to serve the community" and that she knew she would have a
lot of fun. Along the entrance walkway, there were boutiques
offering items such as clay sculptures, or chair massages
from a certified massage therapist.
The classic blues and gospel music was played for the attendees
who sat in the dining space at tables, or those who mingled
in the garden.
City of Richmond employee John Scott said it is important
to have local gatherings in the community. He said he had fun
and enjoyed the food, garden, an d wonderful music.
Community member Lajuana Decatur says the festival is classy,
vibrant and tastefully representative of the changes that this
event is bringing.
People danced on the wooden dance floor in front of the large
mural that depicted a happy community.
Contact Rodney Woodson at firstname.lastname@example.org.