The Ties That Build
Mel Franklin Family & Friends Day Brings community Closer To Small Business
Story and Photography By Raoul Dennis // Additional Photos By Karen McConnell-Jones
Sure, the Prince George’s County Family & Friends Day Festival, hosted May 19 by County Councilman Mel Franklin and his staff each year is a heavy with food, music, fun and it feels like a family reunion with a little shopping and services kicked in. (click here for photo gallery)
But he will be the first to tell you that it’s far more than that.
“This is about connecting our small business community with our citizens,” Franklin says. “The more small businesses thrive, the more that we as a county will thrive. Better salaries for our teachers, repave our roads, higher pay for public safety officers, more programs for youth , seniors and veterans – all of that costs money and small businesses are at the heart of our tax base.”
These are goals that have been a consistent part of the Franklin message throughout his years of public service.
But the sound of great music and the smell of one of the season’s first bar b que grill pits likely overshadow the philosophical message.
Talented R&B artists such as Trelli (who will be performing in Bound and Gagged Oct. 5 ) and Nasim Siddeeq (whose work is available on Amazon, iTunes, Spotify and more) kept audiences moving and toe tapping all afternoon.
WPGC 95.5 Radio Host DJ Flexx was on the wheels.
The Crossland High School drumline delivered a powerful percussive performance.
“We had over 1,000 people come through and 150 businesses and nonprofits and county agencies,” Franklin said.
“Family and Friends Day is also a great way to build community pride in Prince George’s County, celebrate our talented young people in our high school bands, and provide a great opportunity for families to enjoy the amenities of our parks and recreation system,” he shared in a message to the community before the event.
“When our small businesses grow we have more generational wealth that’s created in our community and to help narrow the wealth gap and narrow the income gap.
The Prince George’s County Family and Friends Day Festival was held in previous years (2011-2017) at the Showplace Arena in Upper Marlboro. This is the first year that the event is being held at Watkins Regional Park.