Joy Mobile brings Party in the Park to the streets for socially distanced fun

For the past six years, the Kennedy Heights Arts Center (KHAC) has been hosting Play in the Park at the Kennedy Heights Park. The initiative started to bring residents together and provide weekly free arts and cultural events in an area that had become known for illegal behavior. Each week, there was live entertainment, free food and treats, and arts and crafts.

This year, the event was cancelled due to COVID-19, and the arts center’s team started thinking about creative ways to bring people together safely.

Enter the Joy Mobile. Just like an old-fashioned ice cream truck, the Joy Mobile (a decorated pick-up truck) will drive down selected streets playing music, and neighbors are invited to come out to their front yards to participate in the fun. All are encouraged to wear a mask and keep six feet away from each other for safety.

“During this time of social isolation, the need for neighbors to connect and have fun has never been greater,” says KHAC executive director Ellen Muse-Lindeman. “Since residents aren’t able to gather together in the park, we are bringing the play to them. We’re calling it ‘Play in the Street.’”

The first two Play in the Street events (July 22nd and 29th) were a success, and there are two more on August 5th and 12th. Check out the art center’s Facebook page for details, times, and rain dates.

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Read more articles by Jessica Esemplare.

Jessica Esemplare is the managing editor of Soapbox Cincinnati and a graduate of Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. Shortly after completing her degree in magazine journalism, she began covering local and regional topics at The Cincinnati Herald and, later, as an editor at Ohio Magazine. Her writing has also been featured in U.S. News and World Report.