This past Saturday, I attended the “Kuleta Pamoja” market festival at the Johnnie B. Wiley Amateur Sports Pavilion. What I found was a number of start-up entrepreneurs and vendors that I was not previously familiar with.
Upon arrival to the festival-market, I ran into Mike Billoni, who is a staunch advocate of this new Saturday series. The two of us ended up walking the grassroots pop-up event, end-to-end, talking to vendors and learning about the hopes, wants, and needs of festival supporters and participants.
The “front door” of the Sports Pavilion turned out to be the perfect setting for an undertaking of this nature. The wide sidewalk, with a hulking concrete backdrop, created a natural display and viewing arena for the participants, who specialize in selling everything from herbal lemonade to “blingy” sunglasses. Mike ended up treating me to an artisanal lemonade from 93 Grandiose Vibrations, which was a real treat (more on this vendor to come in a future article).
As we waited for our lemonades to be prepared, we ran into Carlanda Meadors from Black Resource Magazine and her organization Most Valuable Parents (MVP). As we shared “media and community stories” with each other, we discovered that there was a great need for high speed internet at the Sports Pavilion, which hosts countless community events. It was community activist Marshaun Quinney who clued us in to this “readily fixable” inequity. Mike and I found it mystifying that such an invaluable community resource was being hindered by the lack of high speed internet. To that end, we will be posting information (in coming days) pertaining to how we, as a community, can help further fortify this market effort that is quickly becoming a staple East Side community-building series.
Kuleta Pamoja will continue each Saturday through September 25 (8:00 am to 3:00 pm) at 1100 Jefferson Avenue between Dodge and Best Streets. Stay tuned for additional information on the movers and shakers that have “popped up” over at Sports Pavilion, and who are making their indelible marks upon Buffalo.