Your Southside Lawyer presents 4th annual Fall Fest

fall festival, featured
Thousands of people showed up to the Fall Festival to enjoy family fun, live entertainment and free food

 

BY ALLEN A. BUCHANAN, Staff Writer

ST. PETERSBURG – Community Partner Jeff Copeland walked through the new location of the Fall Festival Turkey Giveaway just across the street from Tropicana Field. He smiled non-stop as he greeted several people with their families and friends from surrounding communities.


Before the end of the picture book autumn day, over 3,000 residents streamed into the transformed parking area to attend the yearly festival.

As James Flynn, Your Southside Lawyer guided his little girl through the petting zoo filled with goats, four horses stood to the left waiting for a little tyke to ride them.

“In an urban environment, it’s kind of rare to find a petting zoo,” said Flynn. “So we wanted to expose kids to things they wouldn’t normally have a chance to be exposed to.”

A horse named Little Bit was the one that caught his daughter’s eye, and she couldn’t wait to show off her equestrian skills.

“This event brings people from all over the area together that would not normally cross paths,” said Copeland. “And at the end of the day, hey, they realize we’re all just people.”

Both the city and the community worked together to pull the event off this year.

“The City of St. Petersburg via our Urban Affairs and Parks and Recreation were happy to be sponsors to help provide a lot of the infrastructure and the facilities necessary for the event,” said Director of Urban Affairs Nikki Gaskin-Capehart.

Since their usual venue across the street from the Manhattan Casino had been sold, there were some concerns about finding a large enough vacant lot to accommodate the thousands of people that were expected. However, the Tampa Bay Rays stepped in a saved the day.

“The Rays have been very supportive of a lot of community initiatives, and they were more than happy to work with Advantage Village Academy to bring the turkey giveaway to the 16th Street Corridor,” said Gaskin-Capehart.

Mayor Rick Kriseman commended Copeland and Flynn for putting on the event despite the challenges that they have faced.

“Every year it’s grown bigger with better locations, but it’s all about giving back to the community and that’s what these guys are all about,” said Kriseman.

As the 18-wheeler with 1,500 turkeys packed inside moved closer to the area where the giveaway would take place, the enormity of the crowd became apparent. Within five minutes of the rig opening its doors, 1,500 people filled the entire northwest section of the lot.

As the children lined up to bungie jump, ride the mini-train, get their faces painted and munch on hotdogs, parents and grandparents secured this year’s Thanksgiving feast.

With each passing year, more and more people show up for this free day of family fun and to be entertained by national and local recording stars. This year a bevy of local artist got the crowd dancing including R&B group Fanta-C, R&B singer LoMack and dance group Code Red.

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