Hundreds came out to Charlie Daniels Park in Mount Juliet on Saturday with sunscreen and towels in hand.
The grand opening of a new splash pad was a moment near and dear to many people in the community.
"I must say, I wondered if I'd ever be standing up here at the end of this journey," said Krista Bright of Mount Juliet, speaking to a crowd at the grand opening. "Certainly, in my dreams I've played this moment over and over in my head; but to actually be here, I feel like someone should pinch me."
Three years ago, Bright's 2-year-old daughter, Ava, died after complications from a surgery to remove her tonsils and adenoids. Bright said she made a promise to herself Ava would not leave the world unnoticed.
"I didn't want to just lay down and give up on life," said Bright. "I wanted to give back to our community."
After three years raising money through events and being awarded a grant by Waterplay Solutions, Ava's Splash Pad is now open. Everything in the park is a representation of all Ava loved.
"She loved to eat blueberries and strawberries," said Bright, referring to two berries shooting water at the park. "The rainbows have a huge significance to us. The night that we lost her, it had just finished raining, and there were double rainbows that popped up everywhere from Vanderbilt to the interstate. We felt like she was sending us a sign she was in heaven and she was OK."
Now, with parents swinging their kids through the water and the park filled with laughter, Bright said there's no better way to keep her daughter's memory alive.
"It's been a three-year journey that has ended wonderful," said Bright.
Ava's Splash Pad is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
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