Fireworks capped off the night's festivities at Heritage Park. (W.C. Mann for The Tribune)
CULLMAN – In what has become a local tradition, thousands gathered in Heritage Park, as well as surrounding streets and business’ parking lots, for Desperation Church’s 2018 Cullman Fireworks Festival. Inside the park, kids played on inflatables, and folks of all ages had fun with games like kickball and cornhole. Food vendors like Chick-fil-A, Devil Dawgs, Son’s Smokehouse, Steel City Pops, and Heritage Park concessions made sure plenty of food was available.
And the fun wasn’t even limited to Heritage Park. Knowing that fireworks watchers were filling parking spaces in lots other than those of the park, the Desperation crew made a plan, explained by executive pastor Cody Miller earlier in the evening:
“For everybody that’s watching in surrounding parking lots like Lowe’s, Wal-Mart, Marvin’s, we’re going to be sending out teams–parking lot parties . . . We’re going to be doing challenges, games with them in the parking lots, giving away gift cards, lots of different activities.”
Miller went on to talk about the whys of the event:
“Pastor Andy (Heis) just has a huge heart for our cities. We just want to do anything and everything that we can to make just an impact on our cities. So this is a huge event that brings families together. We love the opportunity just to get to love on families, do something special for them.
“We enjoy the partnership with the City of Cullman. They’re great to work with. I think it just builds roads into the community when they see organizations working together and just loving the city in practical ways.”
Heis shared, “It’s very community-driven. We’re a community-driven church. We love being outside the four walls of our church. This is probably my favorite event of the entire year that we do, and we do a lot of stuff. But I love it when you get all the families together from throughout our county for one reason, and that whole reason is to watch fire in the sky. To see families sitting on tailgates, hanging out, laughing together, playing games together; there’s nothing like it. Seeing everybody hanging out and talking to each other, people meeting new people. It’s community-driven; everybody’s here for one purpose. It produces unity in our community and stuff, I believe.
“We are people that love the community. We want anybody and everybody, no matter their past, no matter their present. We want them to come be a part. Ain’t nobody going to be judging; nobody’s going to be looking down their nose at them. It’s a place where we want people to belong before they believe.”
Later in the night, Heis shared, “The main reason why we do what we do: we want people to discover the beauty of who Jesus is, that He is madly in love with them. There’s a reason why it’s called ‘good news:’ it’s because God is for them, not against them. And we want them to discover the greatness of Jesus, that He produces abundant life. And we want them to discover His greatness and what it’s about: what the cross is about, what the resurrection’s about, what all of it’s about. And we want to do that by the way we reach the community: we go outside the four walls to serve other people for the purpose of–number one: for them to see it, and number two: if they come, and even while we’re out, they get to hear it–hear about the beauty of who God is.”
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