Children scampered through giant inflated animals, scarfed hamburgers and rolled in sacks at the Eagles Edge block party Saturday, unaware the adults were biding their time.
Three hundred water balloons.
"We're planning on massacring the kids with balloons," said Carly Cummings, one of the organizers. "Last year they got us really good. We're taking them out. They're going down."
This is the second year for the block party, held on Brittany Place in the Lemon Creek area.
Carly and her husband, Del, who moved there three years ago, started it because they wanted to know their neighbors.
"It's such a big neighborhood," she said, as Del, who used to be a catering manager, carved turkeys. "It gives it more of an old-fashioned feel to know everyone in the neighborhood. That way, when you wave, at least you know who you're waving to."
Harry Elizarde, 8, walked by and announced to no one in particular, "My favorite vegetable is pickle."
The Eagles Edge Homeowners Association, formed to collect money for the mobile home neighborhood's common water bill, helps pay for the food.
"The rest of it's all neighbors getting together with neighbors," said Shawn Wille, the association's president.
In the past few years, the neighborhood also has rebuilt a small playgound on its own dime and with its own labor.
Green and yellow balloons festooned the playground's chain link fence, and a multi-colored bouquet of balloons floated from the arms of a giant stuffed statue of an indeterminate animal.
Wille thought the upright animal, a permanent feature of the park, was a wolverine or a wolf.
Harry, the pickle fancier, trotted by holding up a dressed hamburger like a trophy.
"The angel. The angel. He's going to heaven," he called out cryptically.
Tonya Isturis was the gatekeeper at the inflated whale's mouth. The block party reminded her "kind of like the way it used to be, when everyone got together to do things together," she said.
The adults get to know their neighbors' children, she added.
Two similar little boys, one slightly littler than the other, abandoned the long line at the inflated caterpillar and presented themselves at the whale's mouth.
"Do you have to follow me everywhere," the bigger boy said.
"Are you his big brother?" Tonya asked.
"Then he has to follow you everywhere," she said.
Austin Johnson, 10, visiting from Arkansas, passed through the whale again and again.
"You run through it, and there'll be a treasure chest and all these pirates and all these fish and stuff, and there's a big ladder," he said. "And you have to go through all these doors."
Firefighters Chad Cameron and Bryon Young arrived in a fire truck, a kid magnet. Cameron spoke briefly about how to behave safely in a house fire.
Meanwhile, Harry had found a man dispensing ice cream.
"They're selling root beer floats - for free," he called out to another boy, and gave unsolicited advice on whether the soda or the ice cream goes in the cup first.
Eric Fry can be reached at email@example.com.
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