Facebook’s first festival, the Cajun Carnival, took place on Saturday, May 18 as a charity event for all ages. Entering the Facebook parking lot revealed a mini-festival filled with carnival rides, food stands, and charity events open to the public.
Facebook’s goal is to improve the Menlo Park community by sending the profits made by the five festivals to local organizations. Each festival has a theme and will feature local farmers, artisans, musicians, and dancers.
The Cajun Carnival had two stages playing music while a third was in place for upcoming events. A beer garden served wine and beer under a patio and trucks of all sorts could be found selling donuts, hot dogs, and chicken, among other foods.
A children’s center featured carnival rides including a spinning strawberry ride and games. Children ran around the grounds as their parents sipped their drinks and enjoyed the free concerts.
“This place isn’t too big so I feel comfortable watching my kid on the rides as I sit to listen to the band. I have eyes on her at all times while getting to enjoy myself,” attendee Lisa Nilun said. “There’s so much to do here and it’s so close to my home. It’s a carnival for the kids and a farmers market for the adults. I see something to do here for everyone.”
Like a miniature farmer’s market, the first booths set up in the lot were filled with local produce. Facebook gathered local businesses to promote their products, creating the feeling of a close-knit community.
“I love that I can sell my products at places like these. I can sell the things I make to what feels like my very own neighbors,” clothing creator Cynthia Lu said. “People here are so friendly and I get to meet and make business connections with other local entrepreneurs.”
The first festival was a success with over 50 thousand attendees, according to Facebook. The list of their upcoming events can be found on their page. The next few themes include “Red White And Brew,” “Island Vibes,” “Bands on the Bayfront,” and “Fall Fiesta.”
“I thought this was very successful. Coming here I didn’t know what to expect. My friend sent me the flyer and I was curious to see how it would turn out,” said Rick Lorence, a first-time attendee. “I’m happy I brought my kid because he seemed to have a blast. I am for sure coming to the next ones and I hope more people hear about this. It’s really a great event and it’s designed to help our community. A win-win situation in my eyes.”
All are highly encouraged to attend these community events in support of local businesses and charities. Designed for all ages, rain or shine, make sure to catch at least one of the remaining events!