Greenspring Annual Multicultural Picnic
Greenspring I is a housing development with 120 single-family homes at the southeast corner of Greenbelt. These houses were completed in the early 1990s and the complex is one of the last built in the city. Each year the residents of Greenspring I get together for two summer cookouts—a multicultural picnic in July and National Night Out in August. These photos are from Greenspring I’s annual multicultural picnic on Sunday July 22 at Greenspring Neighborhood Park on Greenbury Drive.
This sign is at Megan Lane and Greenbury Drive. “Greenspring HOA Picnic Sunday 5PM.” Motorists enter the Greenspring I community on Megan Lane which connects to Hanover Parkway.
The picnic was scheduled for Saturday July 21 but heavy rain forced its move to Sunday. “Come enjoy food from the diverse cultures represented in our neighborhood. Free hotdogs and hamburgers. Meet your neighbors and elected officials. HOA volunteers would be contacting you for food or beverage donations.”
Greenspring Neighborhood Park is at the north side of Greenbury Drive near Craddock Road.
Eulalie Lucas (right), an organizer of today’s picnic, welcomes Greenbelt Mayor Pro Tem Emmett Jordan.
Lucas tells me a little about the neighborhood. She says that she came to Greenbelt because of its limited growth policy and moved into the newly completed Greenspring community in 1990. She also wanted her children to go to Eleanor Roosevelt High School which is highly regarded in the region. She tells me that students here go to Magnolia Elementary School in Lanham which is adjacent to Greenspring as is Doctors Community Hospital. They used to go to Robert Goddard Middle School but after it became a Montessori school, they now go to Greenbelt Middle School. The neighborhood is within a mile to Eleanor Roosevelt High School so there is no school bus; however those at the south side of Hanover Parkway do have bus service. For work, she catches a MARC train at the nearby Seabrook which takes her to Union Station in D.C. She also tells me that there was an economic downturn after Greenspring I was built so the developer paused for some time before building Greenspring II. The community is governed by the Homeowner Association (HOA) Board with block captains and a street watch group. The residents here hail from many countries all over the world.
Johnny Rogers (right) and his wife Rosezina grill hamburgers and hotdogs.
Getting buns for hamburgers and hotdogs
It is a tradition at the multicultural picnic for people to introduce the food they have brought. Eulalie Lucas, who is from Trinidad and Tobago, goes first.
She made pelau. “It is a mixture of pigeon peas, rice, chicken, rosemary, and ginger.”
A flag of Trinidad and Tobago goes with the pelau.
This lady is from Nigeria and she brought some roasted corn.
Austin Henry, another picnic organizer, brought German potato salad. “I’m a little bit German but I’m a little bit everything else,” he says.
Mexican chicken tacos
Walter Hamlin (center) cooked trout stuffed with crab meat. “Traditional American food,” he says.
These sausage rolls are from Maxine Strong who came from Britain.
Landmarks of London are displayed next to the British sausage rolls including Big Ben, Tower of London, Windsor Castle and St Paul’s Cathedral.
This lady is from the Philippines and she cuts up a cassava cake she made.
“It’s made of cassava, coconut milk, and eggs.”
These cod fish fritters are popular in Jamaica.
Greenbelt Mayor Judith Davis (second from right) joins the picnic.
Neighbors enjoy the picnic.
Sitting at the left end of the table and wearing a white shirt is Maureen Johnson, originally from Jamaica. Hearing that I came from China, she says that she has two colleagues from China, one from Beijing and one from Shanghai. She tells me about her trip to Beijing in 2008. She was in the Birds Nest and saw the Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt win Olympic golds. She says that she loves Beijing, was treated well by locals, enjoyed eating Peking duck, and wants to go back. I ask whether she plans to go to London this time around. She says that she will be in Jamaica and Bolt will be challenged by fellow Jamaican Yohan Blake.
Mayor Davis talks to the group. Sitting at the lower right end of the table is Maxine Strong who brought the British sausage rolls.
Mayor Davis and Mayor Pro Tem Emmett Jordan chat with Walter Hamlin.
The houses at Greenspring I are fairly large in Greenbelt standard.
Two cooks, Walter Hamlin and Johnny Rogers, take a break.
Austin Henry welcomes Mr. and Mrs. Kowtha, originally from India. (Read more about the Kowtha family in the recent Greenbelt Museum discussion on international Greenbelt. Venkata Kowtha and his son Vijay talked about coming to America from India.)
Eulalie Lucas welcomes the Kowthas.
Cold drinks on a hot day
Coconut toto is a favorite Jamaican cake.
A recipe for Jamaican coconut toto is left on the dessert table.
Hope McCalla wears Jamaica’s national costume. It is a skirt made of red plaid cotton with a matching bandana.
Abdul (right) and Fatmata Turay wear traditional clothes from their native Sierra Leone. They have lived in the neighborhood for three years.
Abdul Turay shakes the hand of Mayor Pro Tem Emmett Jordan.
This family from Vietnam is on their way out. Eulalie Lucas persuades them to stay for the cake which is about to be cut.
Austin Henry cuts the cake.
Will Smith and his two daughters smile for the camera. Smith tells me that his family enjoys living in Greenspring and uses both the playground here and the facilities at Schrom Hills Recreation Center not far away. He likes the neighborhood and tells me that his children used to go to daycare at a neighbor’s house and he could look out his windows and see them playing. Smith also has a son who is a member of the Greenbelt Cub Scout Pack 202. See a few of their photos at the pack’s annual Potomac Watershed Cleanup here.
It is about 8 p.m. and Austin Henry and his wife Sara take the tent down.
In a couple of weeks, on August 7, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm, neighbors will gather again at Greenspring Neighborhood Park for the annual National Night Out. There will again be hamburgers and hotdogs cooked on a grill, and sodas.