By Kelly Werthmann

DENVER (CBS4) – One of Denver’s largest neighborhoods celebrated a milestone Saturday and held a day-long festival for the community.

In honor of its 50th birthday, the Montbello neighborhood organized a Celebrating 50 Years of Diversity party at the Montbello Recreation Center.

“Our community has predominantly been people of color from the beginning and continues to be so today,” Chris Martinez, Chair of the Montbello Celebration Committee, told CBS4. “So we thought we’d get out to not only celebrate our birthday, but our diversity as well.”

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

The celebration began with a parade involving community leaders, student athletes and kids from a variety of youth programs. There was live entertainment, vendors, food and various activities. The main stage featured a number of local musicians, including Denver’s first lady Mary Louise Lee’s band.

“With all the crime, the violence going on and all the things they’re saying about Montbello, we want them to know there’s some positive stuff going on in Montbello. We want the families to come out and know this is a safe event,” resident Dianne Cooks said.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Montbello is located in the northeastern section of Denver with more than 9,000 housing units and population of more than 30,000 residents. About 42 percent of the community is African American and 54 percent is Hispanic or Latino. The neighborhood is sometimes perceived as a crime-riddled area, but Councilwoman Stacie Gillmore said statistics are proving otherwise.

“Our crime stats continue to decline, and so that’s a celebration for us,” Gillmore told CBS4’s Kelly Werthmann. “We’re a really safe, beautiful urban community out here and really embracing the positive aspects of our families, longtime residents and new neighbors.”

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

All the more reason to celebrate.

“Regardless of your ethnicity or background we can get along and we can have a beautiful community. I think today will show that,” Martinez said.

Kelly Werthmann joined the CBS4 team in 2012 as the morning reporter, covering national stories like the Aurora Theater Shooting and devastating Colorado wildfires. She now anchors CBS4 Weekend Morning News and reports during the week. Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter @KellyCBS4.


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