I love to share stories of people in our community who make things happen. They see a need and the next thing you know a festival is born. I wanted to find out about the East Austin Community Festival and how Shametra McGregor is making it come together.
What prompted you to coordinate the first East Austin Community Festival?
Shametra: With the increase of people moving into Austin, our community is constantly growing. Our daily lives and work schedules, prevent us from connecting with our neighbors. The East Austin Community Fall Festival will give us an opportunity to meet our new and old neighbors. I wanted to create a platform to promote that idea.
What does community mean to you?
Shametra: Community represents history, East Austin has so much of it. We have people that have resided in East Austin for over 40 years. The origin of our community began with these individuals and then East Austin blossomed and expanded. Community represents history, culture and growth. Each one of us has the potential to make our communities greater by getting involved. Knowing and understanding your community promotes positive change. Thus we make up our communities by what we bring to it. A togetherness, a love, as a culture co-existing.
What can people expect that attend the festival?
Shametra: You can expect to get to know your neighbors, listen to live music from dynamic artist, enjoy samples of free food, satisfy your retail therapy, expect a community Flash Mob, there will be community vendors to provide more information about their organizations including volunteer opportunities and last but not least the Capital Area Food Bank will be accepting donations for nonperishable food items. One of our goals is to get enough donations to feed families that are less fortunate. You never know the struggle in the lives of others until they present their need. This festival will be about giving back to the East Austin community.
You have seen a lot of change in neighborhoods that use to be predominately Black residence. What do you hope this festival will do for the community?
Shametra: I was born and raised in East Austin. I did see a substantial amount of changes develop over a course of 7 years. I would like our community to come together and get to know one another. Share stories, it’s very interesting that you pass by individuals in the street and never know there names and they live directly across the street or a few doors down. There are people that still live on my block from my childhood. These are the same people that passed out cookies to the children returning home from school or playing outside and giving out sherbet on a hot Summer’s Day. I even recall a pear tree that I was given permission to pick from that recently died 4 years ago. It’s so important to me for our neighbors to understand the history that they are living in. It’s a beautiful thing.
Any last words about this experience? Thoughts?
Shametra: It’s phenomenal and surreal at the same time. It started with an idea a month ago and now it’s an event. We all have gifts, ideas and dreams. Dream, wake up and make it happen. Share your gifts with the world. It’s becoming pretty evident that I love East Austin and I am glad to contribute my gifts in such a way that it brings the community together. I am excited I have an opportunity to organize this event and be supported by not one but 3 neighborhood associations : McKinley Heights, Clifford Sanchez and HomeWood Heights. I am also grateful that Space12 is blessing us to occupy their space for this event. Please provide the date and location of festival and ticket information.
Shametra: The East Austin Community Fall Festival will be held on November 1, 2014 from Noon – 6:00p. at 3121 East 12th street Austin, Tx 78702
Ticket link is : Eventbrite Community Fall Festival Tickets Here