WATERVILLE — Three-year-old Kayne Yeoman launched his best pitch at the dunk tank.

Missed.

He scooted a little closer.

Missed.

He scooted to about a foot from the tank.

At last, he hit the target square on the bull’s-eye to the cheers of volunteers and his mother Katrina.

“High five,” said his sister, Madison, 9.

The Yeomans were among more than 600 people who turned up for North End Night, a free block party in Dave Quiron Park off Drummond Avenue. The seventh annual event was started as a way to bring the community together for a large free gathering and has steadily attracted 500 to 700 people. The family event is heavy on kids activities such as bounce houses, face painting and, of course, the popular dunk tank.

“They love it and it’s free so you can’t beat that,” said Katrina Yeoman. “The kids have a blast.”

To the right of the dunk tank, lines of people snaked around the park waiting for a plate of free food cooked by North End Night volunteers.

Volunteer Larry Jordan stood coated in flecks of cotton candy that flew off as he spun the sweet treat around handles for attendees. Jordan said that he and other members of Living Waters Church help out annually at the event both to reach out to the North End and because of church members already living in the community.

“We’ve developed a lot of relationships with this area,” he said.

To his left, one of the event organizers, Nate Smart, manager of the Waterville Housing Authority, stood flipping burgers. He said it’s important that the event is free so everyone can attend.

“There’s certain folks who don’t get to always do a lot of this stuff,” he said. “It’s important to be free.”

Steve Aucoin, former director of the Waterville Boys and Girls Club, said he helped start the event seven years ago because he likes to throw large community events.

“You just go out and invite everybody,” he said.

He said it takes about two months to plan and start rounding up the event sponsors, though, he said, by this year, they started contacting him wondering when the block party was going to be.

Despite the large crowd, Aucoin said the event has gone smoothly each year without kids fighting or other problems among partygoers.

“One of the coolest things, I think, is that we haven’t had any incidents over all the years,” he said.

Kaitlin Schroeder — 861-9252

[email protected]


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