West Tampa's Armory Gardens to hold Safety, Security and Fun Festival

Public safety and security is top of mind lately, as we grapple with tragedies like the shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in South Florida. Such events are especially frightening when they target children, though the frequency of all domestic mass shootings is troubling on a broader level.

To that point, over 30 exhibitors from law enforcement, fire and rescue, and other governmental agencies will convene for a festival of safety, security, and fun, to allow local families and children to meet those who work every day to keep them safe.

Armory Gardens Civic Association, a part of greater West Tampa, will partner with the Tampa Police Department to host this fun and practical event for all ages Saturday, April 21, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Vila Brothers Park. The park is situated at 700 North Armenia Avenue, across the street from the Bryan Glazer Family JCC, a few blocks north of Kennedy Boulevard. Entry is free.

The goal of the event is twofold: to increase kids’ familiarity with uniformed men and women from the various entities they may encounter, and to increase their confidence in approaching these officials should the need arise.

A key feature of the event will be a free fingerprinting and DNA kit for children, as part of the Florida Masonic Child ID Program. Other activities will include a 9-1-1 simulator booth, Tampa Police Department special operations demonstration, Tampa Fire Rescue fire truck, and several recreational activities for children.

The Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative book mobile will be in attendance as well.

The festival will also function as a fundraiser for Armory Gardens’ proposed improvements to Vila Brothers Park, which include more tree cover and shade, landscaping, and an irrigation system to support the new greenery. The civic association will sell food and beverages to benefit this effort, and will have a 50/50 charitable drawing.

Further down the road, the association hopes to construct a pavilion over the monument honoring the seven Vila Brothers, each of whom were veterans of the U.S. military and Tampa natives, and for whom the park is dedicated.

For more information about the Safety, Security & Fun festival, please visit the Armory Gardens Tampa Civic Association Facebook page.

Read more articles by Alex English.

Alex English is a Tampa native who has lived in Sarasota, Seattle, New York, Bordeaux and Milan. He is passionate about urban development, retail and style, and publishes Remarqed, a personal blog on those subjects.
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