By Joe Earle

Two Brookhaven girls prepare to slide during the Historic Brookhaven Neighborhood Association’s 2009 street party.

It started more than three decades ago as a neighborhood potluck dinner.

In the beginning, Brookhaven neighbors coordinated the dishes they would bring by assigning residents of each street a different course of the meal. One street would bring appetizers, another salads.

“It’s always been a very family affair,” said Lisa Martinez, vice president of events for the Historic Brookhaven Neighborhood Association.

On Sept. 11, the association holds its 34th annual Brookhaven street party. More than 200 residents are expected to gather at the triangle formed by Lake Haven Drive, Davidson Avenue and East Brookhaven Drive, Martinez said.

The size and scope of the event has varied through the years, Martinez said. Some years it was low-key. During others “it became a big affair, an elaborate affair.”

This year? Organizers hope for a larger crowd than in some past years because they’ve learned to add televisions to the mix. It seems some residents were staying away because they wanted to watch college football games on TV, she said. Last year, they brought in some TVs to show the games. This year, the TVs will be back. “This year, people will know about it,” she said.

The street party also will offer a “toddler section” where members of the Brookhaven Moms Club and local teenagers will watch young children, an area for older children to play, and an area where local groups such as the Moms Club can present information about themselves.

“This is the event where you see how the community is a community,” Martinez said. “We don’t have walls around us, but within the boundaries of the Historic Brookhaven Neighborhood Association, they have built a community. There are some really strong ties there.”

The party is open to any residents who live in the Historic Brookhaven neighborhood, which is bounded by Peachtree-Dunwoody Road, Peachtree Road, Windsor Parkway and Osborne Road, Martinez said. Admission is $5 for residents who aren’t members of the association, $10 for families that aren’t members. Members are admitted for free, she said.

Food, which will be catered and not cooked up by residents, costs $8 for adults and $4 for children.

The association also is considering throwing a party in October to celebrate Brookhaven’s 100th anniversary. The association surveyed its members online to see what sort of event the community should hold to celebrate the centennial, and now is leaning toward a community party in the area, Martinez said.