Binghamton residents gathered on the city’s north side Thursday for a fall festival. The free fun attracted families from across the city to Walnut Street Park.
A Binghamton High School drum band set the tone. The crowd definitely skewed young – Serenity Evans and Jerniyah Hicks said they came for the crafts and games.
“I came here to have fun and do hopscotch,” Evans said. “Today is my best day ever!”
“I painted a pumpkin,” Hicks chimed in. “I made one for my mom, too.”
A group of neighborhood property owners called Safe Streets organized the event. Landlord Art Ospelt says they built the park for neighborhood kids a few years ago.
“Basically kids who didn’t have any place but the street to play in, we wanted to leave an open space so that they could play football, wiffleball, softball, baseball here,” he says.
Jeriesha Perkins brought her daughter to the festival from Binghamton’s south side. She says this isn’t the only neighborhood that could use more free activities. She says the city needs to do more to keep kids out of trouble.
“After school they don’t have nothing to do,” she says. “Some of the programs, you have to pay, and a lot of people don’t have money to pay for these programs – like the YMCA and the Boys and Girls Club.”
Families from all over the city joined Perkins and her daughter for the fall fun.