GUERNSEY – With the threat of rain coming in from the west, the participants of the 10th annual Guernsey 69 Block Party weren’t deterred from a night to celebrate community.
The town of Guernsey which has seen it’s share of adversity in the past year found a way to celebrate nation, community, friends and family last Saturday night at the 10th-annual 69th Block Party held at the home of local contractor, Brad Cook and his wife, Stacia.
The event which drew hundreds of people to the neighborhood and community gathering had a little something for everyone as there were water slides and water-bouncy houses for the kids, a plethora of pot-luck dishes of food, a corn hole tournament and great music for a backdrop.
Those who participated said that it was a good way for Guernsey to come together in a spirit of unity and with the heart to move forward into the future with high hopes.
“This house has been here as long as Guernsey has,” said Cook. “It was what it was built for. The town to enjoy the yard, the food and an investment back into community. That’s what this town is all about. I think we should call this appreciation day.”
Cook who was manning multiple grills, including the barbecued pork cookers and the brats and sausage grill was dubbed the pitboss and grill master of ceremonies for the event.
Under the shadow of inclement weather that Guernsey has been experiencing nightly for the two previous nights, the participants drank their adult concoctions and with the extreme heat, welcomed the rain.
One of the annual features that draws people from all over Platte County is the GBP69 Cornhole Tournament and this year there were 24 teams competing. When the dust cleared, DJ Brinkley & Travis Gretch were crowned the champions.
“This is quite a turnout,” organizer Kellie Augustyn said. “I think I started this at my house in 2013 and for the last five years we’ve been here at Brad’s house. I was looking at pictures that surfaced on FB the other day and all the people who were there 10 years ago are still here and so many new faces.”
People started to arrive to help set up
The party has been a very anticipated event in the town for the past nine years and for the first four five years, the location was councilman Kellie Augustyne’s back yard. The last four years the event was held at Cook’s place, utilizing resident’s outdoor space to host the party. The idea is to keep a hometown family atmosphere with backyard parties and a chance to get to know your neighbors.
According to Wikipedia, A block party or street party is a party in which many members of a single community congregate, either to observe an event of some importance or simply for mutual enjoyment. The name comes from the form of the party, which often involves closing an entire city block to vehicle traffic. Many times, there will be a celebration in the form of playing music and dance and activities like pony rides, inflatable slides, popcorn machines and barbecues.
As a form of activism street parties are festive and/or artistic efforts to reclaim roadways as public space by large groups of people. They were made known in Western Europe and North America by the actions of Reclaim the Streets, a widespread "dis-organization" dedicated to reclaiming public space from automobiles and consumerism.
The party, true to its reputation for having a lot of people had over 200 people that filled the backyard, spilled into the front yard and even to the street just north of the Guernsey-Sunrise High School football field.
All the tents and tables were donated, and the invitation that went out via Facebook instructed people to bring their own chairs and beverages for their family. People could also bring food which was in addition to the hot dogs, sausage and pork that was purchased by the organizers.
The tournament began at 3:30 with the registration and the first bag was officially thrown at 4 p.m.
“It’s just gotten better and better over the years,” Augustyn said. “Everyone’s relaxed, they’re having a good time, lots of conversation. It feels like family and it is community. There’s been so much turmoil over the last couple of years countrywide, citywide and it’s just nice to have everyone just get together.”
Augustyn said that the set up was done Saturday morning in an hour and a half and he said that there were many willing volunteers that came together to make 2022 another memorable event.
“It went great this morning,” Augustyn said. “75 pounds of pork in the smoker and people are ready to just let their hair down and celebrate the last bits of summer here in Guernsey.”
Wheels are already turning for 2023 where there is talk of a possible 5K race and a creative race T-shirt contest.