Wilton Woods Road resident Rob McCullough knows from his work as a real estate agent that Wilton can have the reputation of a place where neighborhood means homes standing alone as islands among all the other houses on a street. "To an extent, it's true," he says but he believes events like the 24th annual Wilton Woods Road Block Party more accurately defines community for both Wilton and his long time street address.
About 30 families showed up this Saturday to acquaint themselves with new additions to the block and reacquaint familiar friendships around busy work and family obligations. "It showsthe old fashioned neighborhood is still alive," says this year's organizer Karen Prescott.
The party kicked off with the little kids parading down the street proudly with their bikes before happily retiring to the inflatable bouncy castle that was brought in for the day. Kids older than nine or ten were clearly absent early on but that was easily explainable, according to Ms. Prescott. "The big kids show up later once we bring out the food," she said.
On the age cusp and in from the start, 10 year old Nick Jebsen was pretty satisfied with the bike he's been riding at the parade since first grade. He also liked the idea of keeping the bouncy castle year round, but knows the limits of getting the most of a good thing from the adults in charge. "I'm pretty good at getting myself stuff but I don't think I could get them to go for that," he said.
10 year old Izaak Jankowski had some pretty good ideas, at least, about making next year’s party even better. "A swimming pool, a Jacuzzi, and a shaved ice machine," he said would be great additions. Brainstorming a little more, his seven year old sister Natalia thought it a good idea to replace the water balloon toss with a water balloon fight, but seemed to also know
Their mom brought the street talk back down to street level and welcomed the chance to meet people she sees only in passing everyday. More importantly, Beata Jankowski pointed out how she thinks a little familiarity will help Izaak and Natalia when school starts. My kids get the chance to meet some of their classmates instead of going into a new school all alone, she said.
At her second party, Alison Zareski could concur on what the party does for a new family. Whether driving by or taking out the garbage, a somewhat recognizable face usually left her with a question. “Do I know that person, should I waive to them,” she would always ask.
Not anymore but the biggest change the party (and street) has seen over the years is the number of kids in attendance. “Now, it’s a young neighborhood,” said Helene Hickey, as she remembered back over 20 years.
On the other hand, her husband had a different take on the passage of time on Wilton Woods. “Just the houses have gotten older, we haven’t,” he joked.
Sitting every year at the center of the event is the home of Steven Howansky. His property plays host to the main activity and gathering point. It was part of the home purchase agreement, he joked with Mr. Hickey.
Nonetheless, the efforts and care exhibited by everyone involved satisfies the original sentiment Mr. McCullough expressed in opening. “Wilton Woods is the quintessential neighborhood,” he concluded.