Rise Above Fest 2013

With a passion to serve the Williamsport community, Rise Above Fest 2013 will hold it’s fourth annual festival from 2 to 9 p.m. Saturday in Brandon Park.

Vaughn Wilson and Bianca Hooper, former residents of Williamsport, had such an interest for the growing community of Williamsport, they decided to start Rise Above to hold up Williamsport as a community and have a day for families of all ages to enjoy. The event, now in its fourth year, has been growing and growing ever since.

Although they are stationed in State College, Wilson and Hooper still hold outreaches in Williamsport.

“Wherever we feel there is a need. We have a motto, ‘If you capture the youth, you gain the future.’ It’s so important to get kids resources for education,” Wilson said.

Wilson, who attended Pennsylvania College of Technology, also was a former volunteer for The Center. From there, he always wanted to give back to the community, and a passion started.

“I love to give back,” Hooper said. “I think, especially with a lot of the unfortunate things that have happened in the Williamsport community, it’s a great way to give back to the community. When you impact the community, it reflects. My passion is to encourage and to raise up role models for tomorrow.”

Rise Above will feature many activities, including live music, a scavenger hunt, a local talent competition and food vendors.

In order to find performers, Wilson and Hooper both sent out letters, asking for talent to donate their time, as well as local churches.

“We wrote a letter to donate time, to come out and support the cause. The festival is really geared toward rising above every day circumstances that area youth face,” Hooper said.

Among the performers that will be at Rise Above will be a country group The Girls Next Door. The group is made up of Kayla Yaw, Tara Schuey and Amy Turner, who decided to form a trio after all auditioning for “The Voice.”

“We wanted to get something together locally,” Yaw said. “We had seen all the recent activities in Williamsport, and we wanted to get our positive music out and approach the community.”

With a wide variety of genres, Rise Above also will present State College artists Unity Soul and Tabby Emel; hip-hop artist The DreamR, aka Andrew Smith; R&B artist Aaron Thomas; and hip-hop artist Doc Hero, all from Philadelphia; R&B artist Vince Wilson; hip-hop artist Gareth Murray and local acts Loni Gamble and Sound Cheque, SoulFul, Christ Community Worship Team and Antioch Dance Team.

Painter Josh Duetch also will be doing a live painting, which he will donate to the city of Williamsport when it is finished.

“What you think a festival is, that’s what this is going to be. Games, food, good music, family bonding; everything for a community event, everything positive,” Wilson said.

Hooper explained that the scavenger hunt, which includes a scholarship prize, is a two-part activity, beginning with a short essay on why participants should win the funds and the scavenger hunt itself.

“The college scholarship scavenger hunt that we are doing – we are getting start-up funds for Lycoming youth to go to school. Bianca has worked very hard to push for these funds,” Wilson said. The festival also will feature a moment of silence, “Take a Stand Against Violence,” which Mayor Campana will be participating in as well.

“People needed to hear from him. He is one of the leaders in Williamsport. He is really excited to be a part of it,” Wilson said.

“We have a passion to reach our youth and community. If we reach them, we can change our community,” Wilson said.

For more information on Rise Above 2013, visit www.facebook.com/riseabovefestival or www.riseabove2013.com.