August 13, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez
A jam-packed festival focusing on activism and inspired by the life of a young Sunnysider will take place this weekend.
“A Better World Festival” will take place on Aug. 18 at Bliss Plaza, and features dozens of free activities for children and families to partake in—all in the name of making a difference.
The event, the first of its kind in Sunnyside, is inspired by Hallie Geier, who died in 2004 at age 11 after being struck by a car near her home on 46th Street. Since then, her parents have created the Love, Hallie Foundation to promote activism, kindness, and empathy—all values Geier held near to her.
“Hallie felt that she could make a difference,” said Ted Geier, Hallie’s father. “She always wanted to do something special.”
The event includes a number of speakers, performers, non-profits, and merchants, and will be led by Ellis Rubin, the 13-year-old actor who played young P.T. Barnum in “The Greatest Showman,” and who is also an active member of the Love, Hallie Foundation.
Geier, who wrote many essays, poems, and stories on positive action and empathy, will have her works read by youth activists, with actors Barbara Feldon of “Get Smart” and Buddy Mantia set to perform a special reading of her works.
In addition, kids will be able to sing, dance, and be creative at the festival with local arts groups, while more than a dozen non-profit organizations will focus on engaging and informing attendees. Do Something, for example, will register voters, and Chess in the Schools will offer free chess instruction.
The event, organized by the Love, Hallie Foundation, Sunnyside Shines, and Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, will take place from noon to 5 p.m.
“We’re thrilled to welcome all to join us for an exciting day, to get motivation and information that will improve communities across the city and the lives of people everywhere,” Van Bramer said.