Merlene Davis: Winburn Neighborhood Association invites you to its celebration

More than 16 years ago, the Winburn Neighborhood Association started Winburn Day, celebrated each September to show those outside the working class community how much residents love living there.

About a decade ago, Vanessa Sanford started Winburn Weekend Bash, a three-day celebration for families living in or visiting the neighborhood that is bordered by Russell Cave Road, Interstate 75/64, and the Griffin Gate Subdivision off Newtown Pike.

Why all the celebrations? Because Winburn residents are not particularly fond of the negative characterization of their community directed by the criminal actions of a few.

"I was raised in Winburn," Sanford said. "I know Winburn is not a bad place. I just want to show that something good can come out of Winburn."

And it has.

Mary Cloyd, neighborhood association president, said the residents, including the growing Hispanic population, look forward to the social events.

"We mingle more together," she said. "And we all are beginning to know each other better since they have been coming for a number of years now."

That is what a neighborhood is all about.

The number of incidents of criminal activity has slowed in recent months because police, churches and residents have formed a coalition to prevent violence and to give the youth more positive images to model.

Sanford, a retired Lexington Urban County Government employee, said she and the association set up yard signs last year with words of encouragement printed on them. The words could be seen while the youth played basketball or during water games, or at the ice cream social.

"Crime is everywhere," Sanford said. "But it is improving here."

Not willing to rest on that victory, the association is also looking to bring in wellness and other activities for older residents.

"We want to draw our seniors in so that we have a complete community for youth, families and seniors," Cloyd said.

Sanford is inviting everyone to attend this year's Winburn Weekend Bash, July 26-28. All activities are free.

The annual ice cream social at the Community Action Council, 1169 Winburn Drive, starts the celebration.

Rosetta Quisenberry, who published the Black Saga five-book series, said she attends the social not only for the sweet treat but also for the chance to interact with fellow residents.

"It is a fun thing to do during the hot season," she said. "The kids love it."

July 27 is Super Soaker Day, when children are given the opportunity to thoroughly douse one another with water at the Martin Luther King Jr. Park. Later that evening is movie night, when a family movie will be projected outside the Community Action building, drive-in style.

On July 28, 3-on-3 basketball teams, and three-point masters will vie for trophies. Sign-ups are on site at King park.

The events have been supported by current and former 1st District councilmen and various merchants, Sanford said.

"I felt that by getting positive events going, that would show the residents that we care about each other and that would help," Sanford said. "Now they look forward to it."

Things are changing in Winburn, and residents there invite you to come and see for yourself. And all it has taken is a concerted effort to know their neighbors.

If you go

Winburn Weekend Bash, a three-day event celebrating love for the neighborhood

July 26: 7-9 p.m. Ice cream social. Community Action Council, 1169 Winburn Drive.

July 27: 3-6 p.m. Super Soaker day. M.L.King Jr. Park; 9 p.m. movie night. CAC building.

July 28: 6 p.m. 3-on-3 basketball and 3-point shoot-out. Registration on site. ML King Park. Ages 10-18.

Cost: All events are free.