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Zumba, face painting and more with Mel Franklin

dancing for mel 2UPPER MARLBORO – Despite forecasts for bad weather, District 9 Prince George’s County Councilman Mel Franklin’s 4th annual Family Fun Day continued Sunday without any major hurdles.

More than 1,000 people attended the event and there were more than 100 businesses and booths set up on the Show Place Arena grounds, Franklin said.

“We’ve had the biggest business turnout yet,” said Franklin. “It really brings the community together and lets people look at the local businesses that we’ve been trying to grow.”

Several elected officials, including Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown and District 9 Board of Education member Sonya Williams, spoke at the event encouraging people to vote on Nov. 4. Brown is the Democratic nominee for governor, while Williams seeks reelection.

“Prince George’s County has an opportunity to move this election in the right direction,” Brown said. “It has an opportunity to elect people who are going to partner with our county executive and our county council, to partner with our delegation and to make sure that Prince George’s County has a strong partner in Annapolis.”

Senator Doug Peters (D-23) said he looks forward to seeing Democrats “sweep the election” on Nov. 4.

“[Franklin] came and helped every single one of us [Democrats],” said Peters. “He didn’t have to do that. He could’ve sat back in the county chair […], but he reached out, he helped us campaign and he helped us get across that finish line.”

The festival focused on more than politics. Several performers entertained visitors throughout the day, and there were booths offering free food and free face painting spread out across the grounds.

Eniyah Vaughn, 7, said getting her face painted was her favorite part of the event.

“I also really liked all the candy things [they were giving away],” said Eniyah, showing off her Hello Kitty face paint.

Larry Johnson and Daniel Hall, from Novacayne Music, were among the performers at the festival. Novacayne Music entertained the crowd twice, singing songs about the community and bringing people together. According to Hall and Johnson, their church asked them to perform.

“It was amazing [to perform],” said Johnson. “We’re all about giving back to the community through the gift of music.”

“I was trying to get the electric slide going on [our first song],” said Hall, laughing.

Deanna Stealth, a 19-year-old rapper who has performed twice on Black Entertainment Television, also took the stage.

“Mel Franklin has always been very supportive of me and what I do,” Stealth said. “I think the audience response was very good, too.”

Stealth started her own business at 13-years-old, My Sweet Tooth, LLC, which she said focused on meeting the desires of adults and children with dietary restrictions.

Stealth she approved of the food available at the event.

“The turkey burgers were great,” said Stealth. “Turkey burgers are always so dry, but somehow these weren’t and the seasoning was perfect.”

Wanda Thompson, a Zumba instructor, said she received a call two days before the event because another act had cancelled. Thompson and her Zumba class danced on stage to hit songs such as “Turn Down for What” and “The Bikers Shuffle.”

Thompson said she and her class often participate in cancer drives and volunteer work for the community.

“[Franklin] is getting my vote,” Thompson said. “I think he’s doing a great job at getting people involved, and this event just goes to show how well he’s done getting people in the community involved.”

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