For the past 17 years, the Williams and Averette families have hosted their “Annual All White Party by the Sea.” It is also a celebration of life for family and friends.

Louis “Lou” Williams and his wife Claudia Averette-Williams opened their home in scenic Ocean Pines, Maryland, for the event again this year. More than 100 people traveled from far and near for the multi-day affair. Things began June 28 with a great fish fry, compliments of Steve and Karen Harmon, and ended July 4.

The celebration has blossomed from an intimate birthday celebration for Claudia, whose birthday is on the Fourth of July to a joyous celebration of life. Claudia is known for her effervescent personality that sets off fireworks to the delight of her family and guests.

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Planning for the festivities starts months in advance. Claudia and Lou, along with her siblings begin planning for their summer affair by reflecting upon significant events that have taken place the previous year. Family members Dianne Stedman, Debbie Averette from California and their cousin Lisa Ware collaborate on every detail such as the selection of music and delegation of tasks. The festivities include a delectable feast with barbeque, Maryland blue crabs and sautéed crabs. Claudia prepares her famous fried fish that Lou has caught. There were all kinds of activities with card games, movies, great conversation, music, dancing, cocktails and all the ingredients for relaxation, reflection and rejoicing.

Several of their guests rent shore houses in the Pines community so that they can enjoy the festivities. The festivities have grown over the years to span over five days. Some of their family enjoying the good times included their children and grandchildren; Louis Williams III (Tasha) and daughter, Atiya Smith from Delaware; grands; Louis IV, Zoey Williams and Chase Smith. Nieces and nephews; Tanya Averette, Nichelle Garnett, Chanee and Norman Anderson who traveled from California, Tennille and Montez from Harrisburg and Brian Rivers.

Canopies, tables and chairs are for the arrival of guests who are welcomed with a refreshing drink. A scrumptious brunch is prepared by Claudia’s brother and sister-in-law Jimmy and Rita Williams. It is hosted by family and friends: Steven and Lisa Ware, John and Kelly Chapman, Robert and Tanya Ward, Ronnie and Dianne Palmer, and a powerful “Word” was delivered by her brother Bishop Ronnie Averette.

Another traditional party highlight was neighbors welcoming guests with cheers and waves as they cruised down the canal. Smooth jazz played during the welcome and enhanced the moment.

The “In-Session Band” played as Lou entertained guests with a medley of Frankie Beverly songs. Wearing a white baseball cap, as the legendary singer is known for, he began with a great rendition of Beverly’s “Before I Let Go,” originally done by Maze featuring Beverly. He serenaded his Claudia with his rendition of one of the group’s classics: “Never Let You Down.”

“Everyone joined Lou on the pier during his performance to pay homage to all that have gone to glory and thank all that were invited to partake in our celebration. The recent loss of my son-in-law; Michael Smith devastated the entire family. The focus continues to pay homage to those loved ones that have impacted our lives and gone onto to glory,” Claudia explained.

This year, some of fellow members of The Philadelphia Carats Inc. joined their newly elected president, Claudia. Many of Lou’s fellow members of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., Philadelphia Alumni Chapter where he served as a past Polemarch, were “Out & About” as well.

Claudia and Lou said, “We always end our celebration with Lou inviting the family to join him “on stage” to be acknowledged and thanked for their participation. We end this by saying ‘We are grateful for your friendship and love. We don’t take it for granted that you have to celebrate with us and for that we say thank you.”

Everyone was thankful for the gracious hospitality of Claudia, Lou and their family. They look forward to carrying on the tradition next year!

In the meantime, have a fantastic week “Out & About” everyone!

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