SunnyCity: Family fun with music and more

See how organizers stepped up this year’s ‘SunnyCity’ day of family fun, held once again in the Mill Park neighborhood – including a concert …

An enchanting town called SunnyCity again appears in outer East Portland, filled with fun and exploration possibilities for the entire family.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

With the aim of providing a safe, fun family day for outer East Portland folks, members of the Sunnyside Seventh-day Adventist Church once again created an imaginary village they call SunnyCity, for the Independence Day weekend.

On July 1, using the grassy grounds of Portland Adventist Academy, just east of the I-205 Freeway along SE 96th Avenue, volunteers set up booths filled with activities that proved just right for a summer’s afternoon.

Taking a turn in the “water dump” booth is volunteer Gamaliel Reyes.

Portland Police Bureau Neighborhood Response Team Officer Robert Brown shows young guest Ethan Chen what it’s like to ride a police ATV when patrolling the Springwater Corridor Trail.

SunnyCity’s Honorary Mayor Elise Holcombe spends a moment with both Adventist Health VP for Mission Integration Dr. Terry Johnsson, and volunteer assistant coordinator Lorraine Jacobs.

“This is our ninth year of hosting SunnyCity. We started out in Ventura Park in the Hazelwood neighborhood – then we realized we have a lovely park-like setting right here, with lots of lots of free parking, and close to the TriMet MAX Light Rail line,” said SunnyCity’s Honorary Mayor, Elise Holcombe.

“Inside, we have face painting; a new ‘video broadcasting booth’ with a green screen, so kids can be on closed-circuit TV; the Teddy Bear Clinic, where kids can learn about first aid; a photo booth; a big bounce house; obstacle courses – and, we’re also giving away free school supplies,” Holcombe told East Portland News.

Distributing free school supplies are volunteers Jackee Duvall and Oliver Duvall.

While telling hilarious stories, “Not Your Average Joe” Mishkin squeaks together a “Great White Shark” wacky balloon hat.

Throughout the day, “Not Your Average Joe” Mishkin sculpted wild-and-crazy balloon creations, while telling funny jokes, for all of the kids who waited patiently in line.

“It is a lot of effort, but is also a lot of fun, because we really enjoy giving to our community,” “Mayor” Holcombe said. “We created this event to reach out to our neighbors, and give community organizations a way to connect with all of us!”

Volunteer face painter Tiffany Kirkpatrick applies colorful designs to the face of Kaiya Saefong-Rogers.

Story teller Marlane Heiser enthralls these young ones with a story-book experience.

In all, about 80 volunteers from their church were joined by 90 volunteers from all of the other organizations who came to help.

In the late afternoon, it was time for a show. The “warm-up act” featured Joe Mishkin performing fire juggling. Then, world-famous music educator and concert rock violinist Aaron Meyer took the stage with his band, and presented a full concert.

Accompanied by his all-star band, concert rock violinist Aaron Meyer gives a melodious concert.

“The best part of this, for me, seeing how our event supports the wide diversity of people living in our neighborhoods – helping them become better acquainted with each other, and with community resources such as our Neighborhood Emergency Team. They also meet members of the Portland Police Bureau and medical professionals at our local hospital,” The Honorary Mayor said.

After the last notes of the concert sounded, this delightful, magical city vanished again; but quite likely, it will again appear next July.

© 2018 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™



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