Blistering heat shortens Patterson St. Fun Day

Ice water and shade trees were among the favorites as the summer sun beat down, however, a few kids braved the heat to take advantage of the activities.

News Staff Writer

For the third straight year, blistering August heat kept many people away from the annual Patterson Street Fun Day and plagued those who attended. If things go as planned, that will be less of a problem in the future.
A few youngsters took advantage of the bouncy house, and a few tossed a football around but most of the younger set and their guardians were rendered lethargic by the sun, which had driven temperatures above 90 degrees and the heat index to nearly 100 degrees by the event’s 10 a.m. starting time.
Most attendees lingered beneath a canopied tent or nearby shade trees, and a few took advantage of an air-conditioned tent set up just yards away, but those who ventured very far from those areas quickly returned.
Since the heat limited the number of youngsters in attendance and limited the activities in which those who did come took part, a decision was made to pull the plug around noon, and to hold the affair later in the year, starting in 2024.
“We discussed briefly with Mrs. [Councilwoman Eunice] Johnson that we should do this in October or November next year,” Police Chief Chuck Brooks said. “We normally shut down around 1 p.m., and we’ve gone later than that a time or two, but it was just too hot. It was a lot of work, but a lot of fun. I hope the kids who were there enjoyed it.”
Free hot dogs were cooked and offered, but most only took advantage of the coolers containing bottled ice water and soft drinks.
Numerous prizes — from basketballs and footballs to t-shirts, hams and turkey breasts — were given away this year. Many of the items were donated by local businesses and individuals, but others were purchased by Brooks, District 3 City Councilwoman Eunice Johnson and other community leaders who want to see the event succeed.
The Fun Day was created by Brooks and Johnson as a means of bringing local children and law enforcement officers together in a positive manner. Atmore firefighters also turned out in force but were mostly idle due to the lack of activity undertaken by the youngsters.
“We want them to run to us, not away from us,” Brooks said. “We want them to see us in a different light and to know that we’re there, that we care about our community. A lot of kids are taught at an early age to be scared of the police; we want to do what we can to change that.”
Patterson Street Fun Day is just a part of the Community Oriented Policing procedures put into action by Brooks and his officers.
“We do ‘Shop With a Cop,’ we read to the kids at school, we do anything and everything we can to show them that police officers are there to help them,” the police chief said. “Until something changes, (Patterson Street Fun Day) will be there every year.”

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