100-person drum event to mark Building Healthy Communities kickoff Saturday

Building Healthy Communities of Southwest Merced/East Merced County will host a community Kickoff Celebration event on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Gilbert Macias Park in Merced.

The park is at the corner of E. Child and G Street, near the Flea Market. Highlight of the event will be a 100-person community drum circle, with drums and instruments provided by Drummmm!

There will also be free food, free entertainment, bounce houses, face-painting, additional free kids’ activities, DJ music and exhibit booths from local community organizations.

Entertainment will include Polynesian dancers, belly dancers, hip hop dancers and Ballet Folklórico. Raffle prizes will also be given.

The nonprofit said all community members are invited to attend. The event will proceed, rain or shine. For more information, contact Katie Thompson at United Way at (209) 383-4242, ext. 516.

Building Healthy Communities is a 10-year, $1 billion plan of The California Endowment. In connection with staff-led, statewide policy initiatives, 14 communities, including Southwest Merced/East Merced County, are trying to improve employment opportunities, education, housing, neighborhood safety, unhealthy environmental conditions, access to healthy food and more.