Have you heard of the Youth Unity Festival yet? It looks like it’s turning into a pretty big deal.
So far, there are 15 bouncy houses scheduled, along with a live DJ, free hot dogs and drinks, games and obstacle courses, and youth performers from Owensboro Dance Theater, Musick Studios, and iTumble and Dance.
And all that came together in four weeks.
“It’s going to be a fun time. But with it being our first one, we don’t know if 50 are coming or if 5,000 people might show up,” says Rick Searcy, Director of the Neblett Center, who organized the event.
The H.L. Neblett Community Center may be the name on the advertising, but it truly has become a community event. “I am blown away by the level of support we’ve had so far,” Searcy said, referring to the 37 community partners who have committed to support the event in some way, mostly through in-kind donations.
“Some are donating food, some are sponsoring inflatables, some are bringing plates and napkins, but everybody is pitching in and bringing their own resources,” Searcy explained.
Community leaders and organizations working together to help bring positive outcomes throughout the community.
The goal is simple: bringing the community together for a fun event to promote unity. “With all that’s going on in the country right now, we wanted to be proactive and bring people together peacefully to show that at least one city is coming together,” Searcy said. “We decided the best way to do that is through the kids. We never imagined it would grow like it has.”
Rather than hosting the event at the Neblett Center, organizers decided to host the festival in a neutral site, central to the community, that was easily accessible. Owensboro Public Schools graciously offered to host the event on the lawn at the former Texas Gas building on Frederica, which has plenty of space and ample parking in the back. Searcy envisions the festival wrapping completely around the building with inflatables and games in both side yards along Frederica and Tamarack.
(They are still in need of a stage, though, so if your church, school, or organization has a stage the festival could borrow, please contact the Neblett Center at 270-685-3197.)
to build a stronger community and create greater success for Owensboro and the surrounding area.
Admission is free and this is not a fundraiser. The Festival truly is meant to be a fun event for everyone. There is a very light, informal program planned, but if kids want to play the whole time and adults want to talk with each other, Searcy says that’s totally fine.
“We don’t know of another city that’s doing this. Maybe Owensboro can lead the way. It’s been a blessing already. We’ll see what happens. Now we’re praying for no rain,” said Searcy. “We only see this growing.”
The first Youth Unity Festival will be held Saturday, August 27, 2016, from 5 p.m.- dusk on the lawn of the former Texas Gas building, 3800 Frederica Street.
Presented by the H.L. Neblett Community Center, in cooperation with:
- Puzzle Pieces
- Independence Bank
- Kids First Foundation
- Owensboro Health
- Johnson’s Dance Studio
- Moonlite BBQ
- Owensboro Fire Department
- Cheer Zone
- Owensboro Convention Center
- Aaron Kizer
- Clean Green
- Alma Randolph Foundation
- Rispah Shriners
- Musick Studio
- Big Dipper
- Owensboro Public Schools
- Daviess County Public Schools
- Owensboro Human Relations Commission
- Owensboro Police Department
- Daviess County Sheriff’s Office
- Daviess County Fiscal Court
- Jason Koger Foundation
- Songbird Entertainment
- Fields Specialty Packing Group
- Bimbo Breads
- Owensboro Chamber of Commerce
- Housing Authority of Owensboro
- Owensboro Lions Club
- Owensboro Family YMCA
- Cliff Hagan Boys & Girls Club
- Girl’s Inc.
- Community Ventures
- Hager Foundation
- Rodney Newton
- Sheila K. Foundation