The sweet, deadpan voices of teenage girls singing pop-punk songs from 15 years ago wafted through the air, along with the smell of frying beef. The sun shone, kids laughed, and we knew it was going to be a good day.
On June 18, we had a party in the garden. Staffed by hardworking volunteers from Neutrogena, the Hispanic Organization for Leadership, GSF and 24th St parents we were able to host around 250 people, who enjoyed the food and activities. The band from Pio Pico kept everyone dancing, and even surprised a GSF student by singing to him for his birthday. There were fajitas for all, donated by Jennie Cook (http://www.jenniecooks.com/)and prepared by parents and guests. People brought cookies and helped make salsa and guacamole for everyone. Amabelia Gonzalez donated two trays of rice. Someone else brought a huge pot of beans. GSF donated peaches, bananas, strawberries and oranges. There were myriad people, and no one left hungry.
When they weren’t eating, guests were still busy. There was a lemonade stand and burlap sack races. There was an art table where students made wish flags for the garden on scraps of fabric. There was a potting station where families could plant their own seeds to take home. And there was a blender hooked up to a bicycle where people could grind their own smoothies using only pedal power.
Voices for Action (http://www.voicesforaction.org/), a non-profit aimed at tackling health inequalities by empowering people to act on their own behalf, hosted a table with healthy cooking demonstrations and information on upcoming cooking classes for parents.
These goings on were not happening in a vacuum. By participating in activities and collecting signatures, along with the saying goodbye to Miss Megan and suggesting a name for Miss Julia’s soon-to-be-born baby, party goers were actually completing a scavenger hunt. Finished hunts could be exchanged for GSF t-shirts, which soon sprouted up throughout the garden as proud kids collected their prizes.
By 1pm, the party was done, the guests were gone, and the garden was clean. But the glow stayed as people talked about it for days after. Between the sun, the food, the music and the games, with all the help and the good feeling that was forthcoming, the Fiesta de la Huerta was a huge success.