The State of the City Festival received a facelift for the community to learn more about their city.
Saturday brought perfect weather for locals to come and learn about things going on in Amarillo. The town festival had a fun change from the usual morning suit and tie business meeting to a festival meant to celebrate the changes taking place in Amarillo. “State of the City should be about everyone who lives in the city, so we wanted to open it up as a community event. We have food trucks, over 40 different booths by city departments and non-profits,” said Amarillo Mayor Ginger Nelson.
Nelson felt it was important to host this event as a way to engage as many citizens as possible, with an emphasis on reaching out to younger generations to learn about the opportunities and what the city has to offer, with the ability to have one- one-on-one conversations with city staff and non-profit organizations.
“It’s a different way of engaging with the community and telling them through their questions what the state of the city is,” added Nelson. “The state of the city is a booming opportunity.”
The nonprofit’s line of tents added a fun splash of color to Sam Houston Park. Strolling through the crowd were several four-legged friends dressed in different bandanas. These pets strutted around in hopes of finding a forever home and raising awareness of the different breeds of dogs that Amarillo Animal Management and Welfare (AAMW) has in its care.
“We are here to show that we have wonderful dogs for adoption and to show some of the things that we have to offer to the community. We enjoy these kinds of events and getting feedback and expanding on it,” said Kayla Seoo, AAMW Outreach Manager. Her tent was also giving away items donated by Chewy.com that people could use for not only their dogs, but their cats as well.
Along with the sound of Tennessee Tuckness performing in the center of the lawn, two new characters could be seen enjoying the music: Every Drop Counts’ new mascots, Oga and Lala. These dancing drops of water brought a lot of attention to his store.
“We are here to spread awareness of the Every Drop Counts campaign for the city of Amarillo. We named our new mascots Oga and Lala to pay tribute to our Ogallala Aquifer. This is a large part of the city’s operations. We want our citizens to be aware of the precious resource we have,” said Jennifer Gonzalez, utility billing manager.
Between sets in Tennessee, Mayor Nelson could be heard asking different people in our city questions about things they would do for our city.
A free art gallery will soon add more art to its lineup at the Hoodoo Mural Festival in October.
Artists will arrive on September 19 and will have two weeks to bring their visions to life. Five muralists will arrive from out of town, and nine muralists are local to Amarillo.
“We culminated it all on October 1 in the center of the city at the Hoodoo festival. We promote local and out of town artists; we have silent disco, food truck and many local vendors this year. We’re really excited because it’s so much fun,” said Andrew Hall, founder of the festival and president of the Hoodoo Art Foundation.
Keep an eye out for the call for volunteers on Instagram in the coming days @Hoodoomural. “The goal is to get our community together, but we want people to come from all over the country to see Amarillo, because we need to be a destination place, not a town that people just pass through,” Hall said.
Heal the City is a free clinic on Sixth Street that offers assistance to those without health coverage. With flu season and illness on the rise, they wanted the community to know that they are here to help.
“We serve patients without insurance, without Medicaid and without Medicare. If someone doesn’t have insurance and doesn’t know where to go and doesn’t want to go to the ER, especially as flu season approaches, we have a lot of resources and people to help with a wide variety of things,” said Rachel Scott, clinic director at Heal the City.
The NAACP was in high spirits at the festival, spreading the word that after a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic, their Freedom Fund Banquet is back and better than ever. The banquet is open to the public and everyone is invited to attend.
“We are here to be part of the community effort to ensure that the citizens of our community are aware of the non-profit organizations that exist, including ours. It’s nice to be around so many wonderful people involved in the work that moves us forward,” said Patrick Miller, NAACP President of the Amarillo Branch. “We were able to raise over $35,000 in scholarships for area high school seniors. . We are currently preparing for our one big fundraiser of the year, the Freedom Fund event. We will be live after a three-year hiatus and bringing people together to raise funds for our community.”
The State of the City Festival ended the night with a movie for all to enjoy.
The festival was full of happy faces and people who made new connections with the resources that the city they live in has to offer.
Nelson emphasized that with the growth of Amarillo, this event was a unique opportunity for city residents to find out more about the city they live in and what services are available.
“I hope that once people leave the festival, they will have learned something about the city that they didn’t know before they came,” Nelson said. “Amarillo is in a historic season of growth and opportunity that should be celebrated. . I am so glad to have the opportunity for all of us as a community to come together and celebrate.”