By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
There was hand-clapping and foot-tapping at Tom Byrne Park on Saturday (April 13). There were hands raised to heaven, and eyes lowered against a soothing sun.
The occasion was the second Gathering at the Gazebo, a community Gospel sing featuring a variety of performers and musical styles that drew a couple hundred people to the city park on a near-perfect Spring day.
“We are having a good time, I’m really glad we came,” said Linda Scruggs as she and grandchildren Ella, Emma and Euri sat on a blanket with Joseph Moore. “It’s a beautiful day. Just look at what God did.”
Despite the impending threat of late Saturday or early Sunday storms — and the brisk winds pushed ahead of the system — the sky showed mostly blue throughout the afternoon.
“This is a great day,” agreed Sherrie Hursh, as she and other members of two groups from Grace Fellowship Church’s music team awaited their turns on stage. “There’s not supposed to be any rain until tonight, but you never know this time of year.”
Other entertainment included praise teams from Unity Baptist Church (one of the event’s host) and Greater Mt. Triumph Baptist Church, along with the group Sealed Covenant from Poarch’s Friendly Holiness Church, and husband-wife duo Aaron and Margaret Penton from Coastal Church in Daphne.
Notes from Dietrich Bondurant’s trumpet floated across the park and beyond its boundaries as the gathering continued, as did the voice of George Armentor.
The sunny day, along with hundreds of free hotdogs, also created a high demand for drinks from the Pepsi trailer and iced treats from Ms. T’s Ice Cream Bar.
“The weather has been good for selling Pepsi products and water,” said Unity Baptist’s Linda Lowery as she filled buns with wieners. “I don’t even know how many free hotdogs we’ve cooked and handed out today.”
Tammie Spurling, owner of the ice cream truck, agreed after the event entered its second hour that “it’s been a pretty busy day already.”
A brief interlude in the musical offerings allowed several dozen youngsters to make quick work of the hundreds of Easter eggs hidden among the pine straw and grass of the park.
“We’re having a pretty good time,” smiled Annie Hudson of Atmore, who chaperoned her nieces — Kloe Sanders, Tyliyah McKenzie and Treasure Jenkins, each of whom had a basket of plastic eggs and candy — as they enjoyed the outdoor event. “It’s really nice today.”
Lowery said the gathering was a success, and would have been even if the crowd had been smaller
“There’s a good spirit throughout the park,” she said. “And that’s what it’s all about.”