The first Festival of Hope is set for Aug. 31 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Idlewild Park and includes the five-year kick-off for Talbot Goes Purple.
The festival is a partnership between Talbot Goes Purple, Mid-Shore Restoring Hope in Women, Christ Church of Easton, and the Town of Easton, and coincides with international overdose awareness day. The evening event will include free pit beef and hot dogs; live music with Alive @Five; family fun including face painting, games and prizes; activities with the Talbot County Sheriff’s Office including K-9 demonstrations; resource tables; a memorial and a Walk of Solidarity.
Talbot Goes Purple will officially kick-off year five at the festival, with a brief lighting ceremony at 7:45 p.m. at the park gazebo. A Walk of Solidarity around the park’s track, honoring those lost while supporting people in recovery, will directly follow the lighting.
“The pandemic really brought new challenges to people struggling with substance use disorder,” said Talbot County Sheriff Joe Gamble. We want people to come out and have fun, learn about TGP, see what resources are available and hopefully, remember that prevention, treatment and recovery do work.”
Sherry Collier, founder of Mid-Shore Restoring Hope in Women, has organized overdose awareness day events in Easton since 2017. Her non-profit supports women in need of recovery services
“When I started this fight against addiction with my son, no one wanted to hear or talk about the opioid epidemic,” said Collier. “We’ve made great strides since then and this event is aimed at awareness around preventing more deaths and reducing the stigma of overdoses and addiction.”
Bruce Strazza, a local recovery advocate and Alive @5 worship leader at Christ Church, has served on the Mid-Shore opioid task force and has twice spoken for the Lt. Governor of Maryland. He also serves as an active member with Talbot Goes Purple and a resource for Gamble. Strazzaand Alive @5’s performance at the festival is the final performance of a three-part summer concert series from Christ Church.
“We’ve seen the numbers that confirm what we already knew – the pandemic made our opioid crisis worse than ever before,” said Strazza, who regularly helps people struggling with substance use disorder. “But we all need to remember that there is always room for hope, and that recovery really is possible.”
Gamble also expressed gratitude for the continued support, and new partnership, with Easton Mayor Robert C. Willey and the Town of Easton.
“We’re grateful for the partnership with Easton Mayor Willey and the town, as it helps us with our educational efforts that affects all of our families,” Gamble said.
Talbot Goes Purple is an awareness and educational prevention program that empowers our youth and our community to ‘Go Purple’ as a sign of taking a stand against substance abuse. The initiative includes purple clubs in our middle and high schools through which students learn they do not need drugs or alcohol to meet life’s challenges. The purpose of the project is to promote the ‘new conversation’ – one that includes prescription drugs, alcohol, marijuana and e-cigarettes.
The community can again display purple lights and gear starting Sept. 1 and throughout the month as a show of taking a stand against substance abuse.
For purple gear, visit our online store at www.TalbotGoesPurple.org. Get your lights on our website or at ED Supply in Easton – and turn them on starting Sept. 1 and throughout the month.
Talbot Goes Purple is in partnership with Talbot County Public Schools and Mid-Shore Community Foundation. Generous support for the project this year includes: Easton Utilities, Spring & Associates, Forever Midshore 96,7 WCEI-FM and 94.3 WINX-FM (official media partner), VFW Post 5118, Attraction Magazine and Shore Home and Garden.
Talbot Goes Purple is a component fund of the Mid-Shore Community Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization – donations to which are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.