Watch CBS News

Mellow vibe marks Lakefest Oakland on Saturday in wake of week's violence

Family-friendly vibe marks Lakefest Oakland on Saturday
Family-friendly vibe marks Lakefest Oakland on Saturday 02:49

OAKLAND -- Oakland is still reeling after gunfire at a Juneteenth celebration at Lake Merritt left 15 people injured Wednesday night.  So, on Saturday, security was ramped up for the annual "Lakefest Oakland" in the same area. 

The family-friendly event went off without a hitch.

There were concerns about how Wednesday's violence would affect attendance at Saturday's fifth annual celebration.

"It was just disheartening because I know how hard it is to put this event together." said Lakefest co-founder Shayla Jamerson.  "And not only that but to get the 'A-OK' from the community because, the thing about it is, in these times a lot of people are hesitant to go out in Oakland."

Organizers were pleased with the turnout as people waited in line to get in. Fencing surrounded the entire area and visitors had their bags checked by security. There were plenty of Oakland police officers circulating through the crowd.

"Just making sure that our officers are out here," said OPD chief Floyd Mitchell. "Engaging with people and just trying to create that connection to understand that we're out here working with our community to make it safe."

If anything made the event feel safe, it was the presence of parents and small children as they enjoyed bounce houses, rode mechanical animals and got their faces painted. It was also true in the vendor booths. The Bala family was selling a line of self-published children's books that father Omar began creating on a whim during the pandemic.

"It just came one day," he said.  "During COVID, everyone had their minds going so I was, like, 'let's just make a book together.'  I always wanted to but I just sat down and did it one day."

Now, all the pictures in "Books By Balas" are drawn by 11-year-old Khalil, who said he doesn't hope to be a professional illustrator one day because he already is one.

"I never made a book before when I was younger," he said.  "Now I get the experience making books.  It's kind of fun."

His 7-year-old sister Anaya has also written a couple of the books so it's become a real family project.

"My thought was: I wanted to write a thousand books in one day!" she said.

"The importance is just working with my family," Khalil said. "We're a team. We do things together."

That's a lesson that was being embraced by the organizers of Lakefest.

"Oakland people, Bay Area people -- we get real protective over our spaces," Jamerson said. "And, you know, we have to come together."

Violence often captures the headlines in Oakland but Lakefest was a reminder that's not the end of the story.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.