Bishop Claude Alexander, senior pastor at Park Ministries, has recruited two former Qcity mayors – Harvey Gantt and Richard Vinroot — to co-moderate a mayoral candidates forum at this weekend’s Park Fest.

Vinroot, a Republican, and Gantt, a Democrat, will bring “balance” to the Saturday event, Alexander said.

“But also, persons who have been mayor have an understanding of the position,” he added. “It will be intriguing to have people who have sat in that seat and had to make decisions.”

The November election is expected to boil down to a race between city councilman John Lassiter, a Republican, and fellow councilman Anthony Foxx, a Democrat.

Gantt and Vinroot could not be immediately reached.

The forum is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. at the former Charlotte Merchandise Mart on Independence Boulevard.

The Park Ministries bought the 529,000-square-feet complex three years ago. It eventually will become the congregation’s main worship site, while still hosting trade shows and other events.

Alexander described Park Fest as a meet-and-greet for the church and its eastside neighbors.

The event will include a health fair, workshops on wellness, career transition and surviving the recession, as well as workshops for singles and married couples. A North Carolina Employment Security Commission bus is expected to be onsite to help attendees conduct job searches.

Alexander said the church has made a special effort to invite and attract a diverse crowd, including inviting various ethnic food vendors.

“While it is sponsored by the church, it is not simply for the church,” Alexander said of the event. “It just stands to reason that if we are in the mot racially and ethnically diverse area of the city that we should conduct ourselves that way.”

Park Fest is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is free.

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