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East St. Louis festival brings community together

The event aims to unite neighbors and restore part of the city's past

ST. LOUIS — Neighbors and local businesses filled Jones Park for the first-ever East St. Louis Family Fun Festival.

The event was organized by the Emma L. King Foundation.

The East St. Louis Flyers marching band led the parade into the park on Saturday morning. People enjoyed food, entertainment live music, and strengthened bonds with neighbors.

“We are pumped, we are absolutely pumped,” a neighbor named Denise Johnson said. "That means there's some vitality here in the city. We are trying to keep it in the city. We have our young ones out here trying to show them there's a better way. We're looking at the big end game where all of our kids are educated and have the support to thrive athletically and in the arts.”

Organizer Jerome King said the good time is only half the reason for the festival. The Emma L. King Foundation is looking to raise $2 million to restore the Lily Pond in the park that was built in the FDR Era.

 "It’s a large Lily pond with a 3-tier fountain and it's just incredible,” King said.

When completed the pond will be named Emma L. King Memorial Fountain at Jones Park Lagoon.

Here’s how you can donate: https://emmalkingfoundation.org/home/donate/

Jones Park is the hub of the city. King said taking care of it will make sure future events keep neighbors and generations close.