NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — At Berkley Park in Norfolk, crews didn’t seem to mind summer’s heat as they prepared for an annual event that makes the community proud.
The three-day Berkley Reunion, which is expected to draw a crowd of 10,000 people over three days, will feature faith, fun, and soul food.
Food trucks will be on hand, but some families have pitched tents and will cook some 757 classics on the spot, including smothered pork chops, fried fish, fried chicken, potatoes and onions, and green beans with white potatoes.
Also on the menu: COVID-19 testing and vaccinations.
According to the Virginia Department of Health, across Norfolk, less than 48% of adults and less than 11% of teenagers have been vaccinated. The numbers are even lower in Berkley.
Wiliam D. Tyree is the pastor of the nearby First Baptist Church Berkley where free testing and vaccinations will take place on Saturday. No appointments are needed.
“Where we are — in the 23543 zip code and 23504 zip code — where you have large concentrations of African American people, less than 35% of the population has been vaccinated,” lamented Tyree.
Uplifting the community in health and wealth is on the agenda. Twenty-four employers will be on hand for those who need a job.
The event was canceled in 2020 but it’s operating on all cylinders for 2021. It kicks off with a parade Saturday morning. Organizers hope 2022 will bring brighter days for the place they call home.
“More of the organizations [in the community] just coming together, maybe we can do something really really big for the community,” said reunion chairperson Lisa Wilder.