GUERNSEY – 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 August 7 at the ninth-annual 69th Block Party held at the home of local contractor, Brad Cook.
The event which drew hundreds of people to the neighborhood and community gathering had a little something for everyone as there was a bouncy house and water slide for the kids, a plethora of pot-luck dishes of food, a corn hole tournament and live musical entertainment.
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 the barbecue prepared sausage and steaks while his son, Nate Cook caught and cooked fresh crawfish.
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 Augustine’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.
Many people from Guernsey donated time and talents to set up things including Craig Frederick who is the president of the Guernsey Economic Development Organization. He brought, set up and ran the cornhole tournament at this year’s party.
This year the tournament had more teams than in previous years, boasting the largest tournament to date for the block party.
There were 30 teams and this was the third year of the cornhole double elimination tournament. First place went to Tim and Mark Gasque who won the top prize of $200. Second was Scott and Seth Frederick who netted $120 for accurately throwing the beans. Third place went to Marc and Jason Martinez who won $60. Fourth place went to Chuck and C.A. Frederick who won $20.
The tournament began at 3:30 with the registration and the first bag was officially thrown at 4 p.m.
The party went long past the amazing red sunset as guests listened to the sounds of Travis Ibarra and Daniel Ball. The duo played everything from pop to country and literally played for over four hours. Ball who is a full-time musician with another band sat in with Ibarra for the grass-roots backyard concert.
“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 2021 another memorable event.
Wheels are already turning for 2022 where there is talk of a possible 5K race and a creative race T-shirt contest.