Highland Park Festival in Little Rock

- LITTLE ROCK, AR -- Community matters to a Little Rock woman who started an annual festival to bring people together in a neighborhood that she says is known for crime.

Over the past six years, the festival grew and today hundreds of people went to Barton Park for the celebration.

The woman who started Highland Park Day says it's been a long journey.

Anita Ray said, "The project that I grew up in, some of us didn't make it out, some did."

Ray says she grew up on 12th street and saw crime daily, so she wanted to create something positive in the area.

Today, kids played with cartoon characters and jumped on bouncy houses while adults cooked out and listened to music.

Ray says this festival helps knock down stereotypes in her neighborhood.

She said, "It just makes my day just to see that we all can come together like this without any gang banging and drugs, guns or anything, this is our day."

In the six years since Highland Park Day started, Ray says there's never been violence.

However, we did spot Little Rock police cars out there today.

A spokesman with the department said extra officers patrolled the area to prevent any problems.

If you would like to follow Melissa Schroeder's reports on Facebook, you can click here and like her page.

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