Children and adults gathered on the grounds of the John Muir High School Saturday afternoon to celebrate the tenth year of the Lincoln Village Festival, organized each year by the Neighbors Acting Together Helping All (NATHA). The annual event was designed to bring the community together, with many vendors setting up booths and contributing to the festivities.
Congresswoman Judy Chu made an appearance at the event, presenting a certificate to NATHA in recognition of its tenth anniversary of the Festival. Also in attendance were Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard and Vice Mayor Jacque Robinson, Pasadena Police Chief Phillip Sanchez, Superintendant Jon Gundry, and Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD) Board President Renatta Cooper.
“[The Lincoln Village Festival’s] main purpose is it just brings the community together, it’s a reason for us all to be outside and come together in good spirit,” said Nancy Spears, a NATHA volunteer. “It’s always really supported by the police department, the department of water and power, the city of Pasadena is here.” She said her favorite part of the festival was being able to catch up with old friends. “Everybody’s so busy all day, you never get to talk to people except for at events and stuff. This is a very casual environment and you can just talk to your neighbors.” Spears said she passed out her old comic books to the children at the event so they could have something fun to read.
“This event it is very kid-friendly, there are a lot of things for kids to do, there’s a lot of resources for their parents,” said Sgt. John Luna, NATHA President. “As far as the police department, we’ve had a partnership with NATHA for almost 20 years now, and through our relationship with NATHA, we’ve been able to reduce the drug use and crime rate in this community.” He said many police officers were involved with the group. “The police department encourages that officers be engaged in the community, and for me personally, being a police officer for 25 years, I’ve come to the realization that we don’t have all the answers, and that we have to put our heads together with the community to solve problems.”
Not only has NATHA given back to the community, but they have also received aide in kind. NATHA’s facility burnt down in a fire last November, and their neighbors responded immediately with donations and new space. The Festival was moved to Muir school grounds this year.
“We’re pleased that they’re here and we’re pleased to be able to give them additional space when it is needed,” said Cooper. “We appreciate the work that they do with our students and with the neighborhood around the school. It sounds very trite nowadays to say it takes a village, but it really does take a community.”
Many vendors were present at the Festival, including 5 Acres, the City of Hope, the Community Bible Church, the Boys and Girls Club, the League of Women Voters, the Pasadena Health Department, the California Credit Union, and Pasadena City College. Several of the vendors donated gift cards as prizes for the children’s costume competition. NATHA’s Youth Lead Enterprise (YLE), a teen-run entrepreneurial program, was also onsite selling lemonade and food to raise money for their field trips and scholarships.