It was summertime and the living was easy at the fourth annual Harvey Park Improvement Association Summer Festival - but attendees didn't need the Denver Municipal Band, who played the "Summertime" …
It was summertime and the living was easy at the fourth annual Harvey Park Improvement Association Summer Festival - but attendees didn't need the Denver Municipal Band, who played the "Summertime" jazz standard, to tell them that.
"We do the festival to strengthen our community," said Xochitl Gaytan, president of Harvey Park Improvement Association. "And to bring other communities to Harvey Park."
Hundreds came to the July 22 festival at Harvey Park, which offered four food trucks, a Mexican snacks cart, DJed music, live music by the Denver Municipal Band and more than 60 booths by businesses and community organizations. Kids enjoyed the face-painting, colorful beach balls, balloon animals and a game that involved catapulting rubber chickens at a target.
Denver City Councilmember Kevin Flynn took part in that one.
Flynn, a familiar face in Harvey Park, said the festival gets bigger every year.
"The first year, we had (two or three) booths," said John Robinson, vice president of HPIA. "It was humble beginnings."
David Piacenti, an HPIA board member, said these days, it's important to interact with people in person, and the festival helps people do that.
"I think right now, with social media being so extreme and intense, it's important for people to physically get together," he said, and see the "people in the community who support you."
The community-centric event has grown from small beginnings to boasting a bustling park scene that included booths from political candidates in local races. Robert Rodriguez, a Democratic candidate for state Senate District 32, met festival attendees at a booth. Gaytan, a candidate for Denver Public Schools Board of Education District 2, also had a booth.
"Harvey Park is the heart of the district, so I wanted to come out and meet people in the community - and overindulge on food trucks," said Zach Neumann, a Democratic candidate for state Senate District 32. "I think (the festival) represents the best of Denver - a bunch of communities coming together to have fun with family.
"It's kind of a beautiful thing."
Valencia Yazzie, a 27-year-old Harvey Park resident, and her husband came with their children after "driving by," her husband said.
"So far the food" was her favorite part, Yazzie said. Her children enjoyed an activity with bean bags, she said.
For Helen Garrison, a 69-year-old neighborhood resident, the best part was taking everything in.
"Just walking around watching everything," she said.
It was her first time coming to the festival, and she said she plans to come next year.