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Saturday in the Park 

A free festival in Monroe Park carries a political message.

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For the planners of Party in the Park, scheduled Jan. 15 in Monroe Park, politics and partying do mix. The free neighborhood festival will feature storytellers, poets, face painters and three stages of performers — as wide-ranging as the Diamond Center, Julie Karr, the Just Plain Sounds Hip Hop Collective and a No BS Brass Band parade.

“Music will be happening all over the place,” co-organizer Lily Lamberta says. The occasion? To show support for the Monroe Park Campaign, a community-run initiative that seeks to keep open a section of the park (at least 25 percent) during forthcoming renovations for Monroe's sizable homeless population.

“[The city is] being absolute about closing the park and the homeless really don't have anywhere to go,” says Lamberta, who also founded All the Saints theater company, pictured. The park-wide Saturday festival has generated sizable community support, and not just from entertainers: Crossroads CafAc, Lamplighter Coffee and CafAc Gutenberg are among the businesses that have volunteered services to the event, which starts at noon, and there will be free refreshments as well as a used toy and book giveaway in the middle of the street theater, giant puppets and something advertised as “pickup truck troubadours.” And, Lamberta says, “City Council members are cordially invited.”

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