By M. Scott Morris
TUPELO – Smoke from a barbecue grill spread across Fairpark during a community cookout on Tuesday.
The event was organized by Living Independence for Everyone and Our Artworks as a thank you for individuals and agencies that support people with disabilities.
“This is probably our sixth or seventh cookout. We usually do it at Ballard or Veterans Park,” said Emily Word, an independent living specialist with LIFE. “We decided to make it citywide.”
This year, tornado relief workers and emergency response personnel were given special invitations to enjoy the hotdogs, hamburgers, chips and cookies donated by Hometown Healthcare.
In addition to food, people had a chance to let their artistic sides show.
“Yeah, man,” said William Heard, Our Artworks founder, “if I’m going to be there, we’re going to have art.”
Okolona resident Morgan Williams and her 1-year-old daughter Nola mixed it up at the art tent.
“She likes to paint,” Williams said of her daughter. “That’s the first thing we did when we got here.”
The event ran from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and there were more than 120 people taking part at noon.
“Maybe by having it here some of the other people in town who just happen to be at Fairpark today can stop by and see what it’s all about,” said Kevin Orr, a LIFE board member.
Pam Coleman of Shannon was one of the people who’d planned to attend the cookout. Her son has autism and he takes art lessons at Our Artworks.
“I just wanted to be around people who know what I’m going through,” she said. “It’s a fellowship thing.”