The smiles tell the story: Quincy music festival highlights healthy community values

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QUINCY — The Quincy Housing Authority and the Harborview Residence Committee have never collaborated on an event to benefit the community of Germantown.

That changed Saturday, when the two groups came together to put on a music festival at Palmer Field in Snug Harbor, a part of Germantown to promote safe community fun.

“We wanted to unite the community and show them what a healthy community looks like,” said James Marathas, executive director for the Quincy Housing Authority.

Snug Harbor Summerfest featured non-stop live entertainment from noon to 4 p.m. for the community. Fairgoers walked off with more than $15,000 worth of prizes. Children bounced on inflatable obstacle courses and had a dance-off in front of the stage, while other attendees browsed through a series of booths providing health, recovery and other community services.

“It’s great to see the community together and it’s fun to meet new people,” said Jennifer Hiller of Quincy.

Hiller came to the music festival with her daughter Amber and 13-year-old grand-daughter Shawna Lewis. When it began raining around 4 p.m. and organizers called the event off, the group was upset they had to leave.

“We’re kind of sad, we were having fun,” she said.

Marathas has been working for three years to turn the housing authority around as executive director, from a lack of agency and management before he was in the position to a new committed involvement in the community.

“We’re really trying to improve the area, improve the quality of life and show people that we can have a great community with no drugs, no alcohol and no violence,” he said.

Marathas said the smiles he saw on the children’s faces and the support from the 100 volunteers tells the story of why they needed to host the event.

“It feels very rewarding to see that that we are successful in our attempt to change things,” Marathas said. “It’s not often that you get the opportunity to help change the lives of so many people.”

Other changes in the works for the community is the addition of two new playgrounds, one in Snug Harbor and another in Riverview, donated by Massachusetts Department of Energy.

“There’s a lot of positive change happening here,” said Karen Flaherty, chairwoman of the Harborview Residency Committee.

Flaherty and Marathas said due to the success of the event they are going to do a music festival every year for the community and they hope next year will be “bigger and better.”

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