Published 7:40 pm Thursday, June 17, 2004
By By Arthur McLean
An estimated crowd of more than 300 turned out for the 14th annual Unity in the Community celebration at Houston Avery Park Saturday.
With temperatures in reaching 90 and the heat index approaching 97, sought shelter under tents and shady trees, but enjoyed a day of food, fun and prizes.
"I feel like we had a very good turnout today, and we're proud that we've crowned our first baseball queen," said James McNeil, treasurer of the Concerned Citizens of Atmore, the organizers of the event.
"The whole day has gone pretty well, and we are happy to put on this event," McNeil said.
Earlier in the day, Atmore Mayor Howard Shell gave the opening address. "We've had sunshine and we've had rain on these days, but I'm proud that we have such a strong community and we are able to recognize and bring people together," Shell said.
Members of the Concerned Citizens group had food and refreshments on hand. Melissa Pullins said the group sold three cases of hamburgers by the middle of the day, and more than four cases of soft drinks.
Plans are to use some of the money raised during the event to make improvements to the park.
A baseball tournament of MLK League teams was scheduled for later in the day. While the players waited for their time on the field, many of them took part in pick-up basketball games and enjoyed an inflatable moonwalk.
Michael Arnold emceed through most of the day, hosting a prize session with prizes donated from about a dozen Atmore area businesses.
This year marked the 14th annual Unity in the Community day held at the park. But it was the first year to crown a queen of MLK League baseball. Team queens were elected for each team. Je-Lesha Lenea Johnson was crowned this year's MLK League Queen. She will ride in next year's MLK Day parade and she will now go on to compete in the Miss Bambino competition later this summer.