It’s that time of year! AlleyFest 2013, a three-day street festival, will be held in downtown Longview May 10-12. Presented each year by the Longview Chamber of Commerce One Hundred Acres of Heritage Main Street, this fun-filled festival promises something for every member of the family. Make plans to enjoy AlleyArt and the MusicFest, or register to participate in AlleyRun. Children will have fun at KidsFest, and the World of Wonders and ArtsView Children’s Theater will also be there with special activities. New this year will be a car show on Saturday and there will be numerous arts and craft and food vendors available.
This event could not take place without the dedication of numerous volunteers. Husband and wife team, Kari and John Tatom, are once again counted among those volunteers. Mrs. Tatom is serving as co-chair in the finance office and Mr. Tatom is serving as lead runner. Their commitment to AlleyFest begins well before the gates open on the first day and continues through Sunday afternoon when the gates close on another fun-filled, family weekend.
“Everyone volunteers for different reasons,” Mrs. Tatom said. “Some out of obligation or responsibility, others for fame and recognition. But for my husband and I, we believe volunteering comes from the heart, and it is something we can do together.”
In addition to their commitment to AlleyFest, Mr. and Mrs. Tatom also team up to volunteer for the American Cancer Society Relay for Life held each April and the Great Texas Balloon Race, scheduled this year in July.
“These events bring hundreds of people to our community. They provide needed tourism and have economic benefits for our city,” Mr. Tatom said.
Mrs. Tatom is originally from Corpus Christi, Texas, and Mr. Tatom hails from Columbus, Georgia. The couple settled in White Oak after Mr. Tatom retired from the United States Navy. The Tatoms have been married for 19 years. Mrs. Tatom is a loan settlement specialist with Texas Bank and Trust and Mr. Tatom is employed with Business Computer Solutions as an information technology manager. Mr. Tatom is also an associate pastor and leads church services each Sunday at Colonial Village Retirement Home. Mrs. Tatom leads the music and provides encouraging hugs and smiles to the residents in attendance.
“We were both raised in families that volunteered,” Mrs. Tatom said. “We have always volunteered wherever we were stationed (with the Navy) and we knew after we moved to East Texas that is was just a natural thing to volunteer in the place we now call home.”
For more information on AlleyFest 2013, please visit www.alleyfest.org.