A mini street festival to save a downtown park

Hoping to save Dereef Park from development, many in downtown's Cannonborough Elliotborough neighborhood are pulling together to host the "Neighborhood Revival: A Party for Peace and the Parks" with history, food, music, and general fun.

The date is Sunday, September 16, from 1 to 4 p.m. around Morris and Cannon streets.

Here's more details from an e-mailed release (at the bottom is also a video about their cause):

When our neighborhood was presented with the reality of a proposed high density development - Morris Square Phase II

in one of our few remaining green spaces - Dereef Park

in our neighborhood - Cannonborough Elliotborough

we rallied into action and formed a non-profit group - Friends of Dereef Park.

Our mission is to preserve green space and foster the development and creation of an American Heritage Park Site - highlighting the contributions to our neighborhood and city of Native Americans, African Americans and Jewish, social, cultural and economic institutions.

You can visit our web site at http://dereefpark.wordpress.com/

Our efforts are bringing about a happy occasion - a party we're calling "Neighborhood Revival." It's a Party for Peace and the Parks, promoting peace amongst neighbors and the importance of parks in creating communities.

Please come enjoy good food, hear good music, and have a good time with your friends and neighbors while learning about the history of our neighborhood on Sunday, September 16th from 1 to 4.

We anticipate a large turn out. We hope you can attend, and perhaps help spread the word about this exciting event.

Please see the attached poster for the event.

Please read on if you would like to see more about our efforts and the resulting party.

In the process of trying to save our park, we became advocates for preservation of park space, of historic structures such as the Praise House in Dereef Park, of appropriately scaled infill and for the unique history here in Cannonborough Elliotborough. We learned (and are still learning) about the rich history associated with Dereef Park, Morris Street, and the surrounding area. That history reaches to the early days of the city, the civil war era, and the civil rights era.

The name - Neighborhood Revival - is a reflection on the revitalization of Cannonborough Elliotborough, and also a nod to the spiritual aspect and community enhancing role of churches and synagogues in the area. Physical manifestations of that history can be found in the historic Praise House in Dereef Park and the Jewish Cemetery on Coming Street.

One reason this Neighborhood Revival Party is so exciting is that the Cannon Street YMCA, The United Order of Tents, Peace Happens, and the Preservation Society of Charleston are all participating. We will have music by Ann Caldwell, story telling, tours of the immediate area, and local artists. Friends of Dereef Park will be collecting information to help in efforts to record oral histories. History Press will have some authors of books about Charleston on hand. The United Order of Tents will be serving up delicious food and raising money for restoration of their historic building. (Sugar Bakeshop will be serving up homemade, ice cold, fresh fruit popsicles.) There will also be a jump castle and other games for children. We are also having old fashioned "revival style" hand held "Neighborhood Revival" fans made for the event to help folks cool off.

We have received permission from the city to close a block of Morris Street between Jasper and Smith Streets. Attendees will be encouraged to check out various hubs of activity including at the United Order of Tents, the Cannon Street YMCA, the Coming Street Jewish Cemetery, Simonton Park, and on Morris Street - which fronts Dereef Park.