Fullerton Collaborative presented its 16th annual Faces of Fullerton festival on Saturday, April 14 in the Fullerton Downtown Plaza.
This event brought people together of all ages and walks of life to celebrate having a healthy and strong community with plenty of free food and entertainment.
“We are really about bringing people together so that they understand there are a variety of services in the city of Fullerton, and that we are working on issues that are important to our community members,” said Danielle Nava-Mijares Maol, a board member of Fullerton Collaboration.
Local organizations, businesses and vendors supported the community by setting up booths that provided information and exciting interactive activities for all to participate in.
This event was made possible by Fullerton Collaborative, which is a non-profit organization made up of directors, educators, activists, leaders and volunteers whose goal is to work collectively in providing necessary resources, services and outreach opportunities for people in the community.
As people visited each booth, they were given fun-filled activities to complete so they could be entered into a raffle to win prizes at the end of the day.
Some of the activities included arts and crafts, coloring, drawing and plenty of games.
Most areas emphasized mental and physical health awareness, education programs for children and adults and community safety.
Some of the local businesses and organizations that partnered with Fullerton Collaborative for this year’s festival were the Fullerton Police Department, Fullerton Fire Fighters Association, Fair Housing Foundation, U.S Army, Fullerton Host Lions Club, Fullerton College, Planned Parenthood, Leon Owens Foundation, Pathways of Hope, Orange County Elections and many more.
The North Orange County SWAT team showed their community support by having an information booth and also giving people a inside look at their SWAT vehicle and various equipment that they use such as helmets and bullet proof vests.
The Fullerton Fire Department also brought smiles to the community in a different way by whipping up fresh pancakes for all to enjoy.
One of booths that covered the area of education was the Leon Owens Scholarship Foundation. Based in Fullerton since 1994, this foundation was created to focus primarily on awarding college and youth scholarships to students.
Along with awarding scholarships, they also provide shoes and other essential needs to children at local elementary schools in the area.
“Growing up here, [with] the sense of community people always come back together for a common good and keep on helping one another and lifting one another up. Coming back to this event, it’s always nice to see old friends and familiar faces,” said Shirley Owens-McClanahan a member of the foundation.
Bourbon Street, a local restaurant that has been around for over ten years and is New Orleans’ themed was present for the festivities.
“The ‘Our City,Our Home’ theme today is a true representation of the togetherness of this community,” said Larry Houser restaurant co-owner and founder of Fullerton Cares Autism Foundation. “We have been apart of this festival for about five years now and always look forward to seeing all the new faces and organizations that contribute to building a stronger place for all us to live.”
Houser’s Foundation most recently put together the ‘Mardi Gras for Autism’ carnival, a family fun event that encouraged the community to come out and raise money for special education programs and supporting autism charities according to Fullerton Cares.
Twirling up cotton candy and fun games was the Fullerton Host Lions Club, another large non-profit organization serving the Fullerton community. Giving out cotton candy and friendly smiles were volunteers from the Troy High School Leo’s Club.
“The four main things our club focuses on in helping the community is vision,hunger, environment and youth. Being here we are able to share our vision and get the kids excited about being a part the community through positive interactions,” said Lions club member Walter J. Rountree.
‘Faces of Fullerton’ had a successful day by bringing a diversity of people together. The theme “Our City,Our home,” was truly represented at this event as people celebrated in unity, and worked towards the common goal of continually building a stronger community.
“The best part about being here is just seeing the joy that it brings to the kids, and of course all the free food!” said Essie Hollis, an Anaheim resident and regular attendee of the festival.