San Bernardino Festival: Family Fun, Games, Resources
By Dianne Anderson
Thousands will escape the grind of the past two years at an upcoming cultural appreciation celebration that will buzz a carnival atmosphere of family fun and games.
Something special is planned for all ages.
Organizers are calling it the first Annual San Bernardino Festival, with many more hoped to come.
Rev. Bronica Martindale Taylor said there’s endless things to see and do, with several “village” areas, an arts section, sections for community partners and merchants, music and food.
“They’ll have rides, they’re supposed to have a big carnival Ferris wheel over in the kid’s area. We’ll have a big performance on the main professional stage, and host professional entertainment,” said Rev. Bronica Martindale-Taylor.
The KidZone has performances lined up on the children’s stage. For the grownups, there’s the main professional stage and demonstration stage all in tribute of the city’s diversity of culture.
On Saturday, October 8, the city is the primary sponsor of the day-long event running from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The event will be held at Seccombe Lake Park at 160 West 5th Street in San Bernardino. Parking is located at the Carousel Mall, City Hall Parking Structure, along with other designated parking arrangements.
Martindale-Taylor was part of the planning committee, meeting regularly for months on the event, along with Parks and Recreation, Public Works, and Animal Control.
Under the theme, “Where our Cultures Connect,” she said the festival features numerous county resources and merchants, with about 60 vendors bringing free resources and information to the community.
As part of her production company, Martindale Taylor is also leading the West African and African American welcome piece at the start of the event.
“We’ve been working hard,” she said. “That’s one of the reasons we wanted to put this event on is to bring our community together. It’s to drive it in a different direction of hope and to be rejuvenated.”
Terrence Stone of Young Visionaries Youth Academy said that his program has a vendor booth with small giveaways and information about his job certification and training.
These types of community events are important to bring people together, he said, especially in the downtown area. After a long dry season, he feels the city needs to get back to these regular community events to enjoy the kids and neighbors.
“We need to rebuild a culture of enjoyment and happiness and together throughout the city,” he said. When Mayor Morris was in office [with] Operation Phoenix, we had great events in the low-income communities that helped to build the morale back then.”
Stone’s program will share information on his supply chain logistics forklift program. Each class lasts about four days, averaging about 100 participants per month. He said their workforce development focuses on the “low hanging fruit” jobs with an edge to get hired quickly, and be able to move up.
They train managerial skills.
“Now with that knowledge, they can work up to those positions. We want to make sure they’re prepared. We have people that have never touched a forklift, only have a driver’s license, but they are trained to drive that in only four days,” he said.
On the entertainment side, a top talented crew of 40 local kids features dancers, singers, poets, rappers, and various Hip Hop and K-Pop will perform.
Edwin Johnson, a youth stage coordinator with the San Bernardino City Festival, said they are breaking out a lot of youth talent. Over half the kids are coming in from his school music program.
“I feel like the excitement is because the city hasn’t really collaborated with any nonprofits or community organizations in a while. Juneteenth set the tone for that, and our committee set the tone for that,” he said.
He commended the city’s new Parks and Recreation director Lydie Gutfeld for reaching out to the community to help make these types of events happen.
“Now, we’re changing the dynamic of the city to where the city is working with community partners and the community partners are really bringing the people out,” said Johnson, CEO of Chords Enrichment Youth Program.
Through CHORDS, he works with five schools within the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools and two schools with Colton Joint Unified School District.
Lately, he is also working on a first of its kind event in partnership with San Bernardino County Probation for an upcoming concert for youth in juvenile hall.
“We have motivational speakers come out to talk about changes of life. All the music we’re doing is uplifting empowering. There’s hope, and they can change their life through music and small groups and motivational speaking,” said Johnson, a lead project mentor.
There, he works with students in small groups, connecting them to academic, community resources, and potential jobs.
“Even when we work with them in there, it doesn’t just stop there,” he said.
For more information on the event, see https://www.sbcity.org/