Street party takes 4th by storm

Published 10:11 pm Tuesday, July 4, 2017

More people participated in the parade down Storm Avenue Tuesday than were watching it.

It was slow moving, as parents walked behind kids on bikes and motorized cars, waving to the few people left on the sidewalks and in yards.

Everything was covered in red, white, blue and patriotism.

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The parade was led by a Brookhaven Police Department cruiser and a Brookhaven Fire Department truck. The street was closed for the day.

Immediately before the parade, the Boy Scouts led the Pledge of Allegiance and Isabel Smith sang the national anthem. Mayor Joe Cox read the preamble to the Declaration of Independence.

The parade started on the Church Street end of Storm Avenue and made its way to the other end, where the Farm Bureau grill and agent Sam Sones and his crew were in full grill mode. Several tables held bowls of beans, potato salad and more than enough desserts. If brownies and blueberry cake wasn’t a favorite, stations were set up in front yards with fresh blueberry parfaits and homemade ice cream.

Missy Kilpatrick and her family manned the lemonade stand in their yard. On this hot July day, it was a popular spot.

“Last year, I bought five gallons,” she said. “I thought, ‘This year, I’m not going to run out,’ so I bought eight gallons and still ran out.”

Kilpatrick, the children’s ministry director at First Baptist Church of Brookhaven, has lived on Storm Avenue with her husband, Jay, for eight years.

Their children, 10-year-old Caroline, 8-year-old Elijah and 4-year-old Charlotte, enjoyed visiting the neighbor’s yards where waterslides and a dunking booth were set up.

“The kids look forward to it,” she said.

Kilpatrick grew up in the New Sight community, but she had friends on Storm Avenue in the ’80s and remembers the huge Independence Day street party that the neighborhood put on each year.

“I remember coming as a child,” she said. “I always thought then, ‘How cool is this that they do this?’”

Sones said they grilled 300 hamburgers and 100 hot dogs and they all disappeared.

After lunch, the children competed in a watermelon seed spitting contest. Will Loy, a seventh grader at Wesson Attendance Center, was the winner. They couldn’t get a measurement of the distance, Kilpatrick said.

“It was off the board,” she said. “He’s a good spitter.”

Sones, who grilled the burgers and hot dogs with his team, said he’s glad they decided to reorganize the street parties of his youth.

He loved the parade and neighborhood festivities when he was a kid growing up on Storm Avenue, so it’s great to see his children enjoying the same things all these years later.

“It draw peoples together and creates memories that one day will be memorable and nostalgic for the kids,” he said. “The nostalgic part because of the memories I have is my favorite part.”

This was Chris Huffman’s first time experiencing the Storm Avenue street party. A board member for the Lincoln County Fellowship of Christian Athletes invited him to the celebration. Huffman is the FCA area director.

“It’s a pretty cool experience,” he said. “We loved it. It’s a throwback to whenever I was a kid. We used to do stuff like that all the time. It’s definitely nostalgic.”

Huffman and his wife, Amber, enjoyed the day with their children, Malakai, 6, and Eden, 2.