ROCKINGHAM — There was a taste of spring in the air on Saturday as families and friends of all ages flocked to Castlewood Park beside Ledbetter Dam near Rockingham.
The parking lot at the park was filled to the brim, forcing cars to line up on the street. The kids took advantage of the bright sunshine and warm weather as many of them played together and even made new friends.
The spot to be was on the tire swing, where a number of children stood and waited their turn to swing around and get dizzy from the spinning.
Ansley Hayes, 5, of Rockingham, was one kid who took advantage of her place on the tire swing. She had come to the park with her dad and ended up meeting a whole bunch of new kids in the process.
Her father, Brandon Hayes, smiled as he watched his daughter spin around wondering how on Earth she didn’t get queasy.
“I’d probably be sick at this point if I was on that swing,” Brandon said.
He and his family had just recently moved to the area, and he wanted to take his daughter out to have some fun while spending some quality time with her. Brandon works for Duke Energy Progress and sometimes due to his work he has to go away from time to time, so he takes advantage of the time he has with his daughter.
Brandon and Ansley spent more than an hour at the park before she had to say goodbye to her new friends. He laughed as she waved excitedly towards them before someone took her vacant spot on the envied tire swing.
Dannica Locklear, 6, of Hamlet, wasted no time bouncing from place to place, talking and playing with other children, including her friend Destini Campbell, 6.
“Well, I’m on baby sitting duty today,” said Katherine Locklear, Dannica’s mom. “And it was such a pretty day that we couldn’t waste it staying inside. So, since I had both girls I brought them out here. It has been really crowded. There were three parties going on here earlier.”
Dannica and Campbell had been out at the part for about two and a half hours and every time they looked a bit tired another burst of energy would rush through them.
“They’re both wild,” Katherine said with a laugh. “Hopefully they’ll use some energy up after a day like today.”
It was clearly a day for families as parents, brothers, sisters and cousins spent time together.
Devin Register, 9, of Rockingham was spending the day with his cousins and friends. He and Ray Martin, 13, of Rockingham were climbing over everything doing stunt tricks. Martin even pulled off a back flip from the swing set.
“We’ve been out here playing for an hour or two,” Register said. “There’s a lot to do here.”
It was a day well spent as Register and his group took advantage of the facilities and met other kids.
“It’s been fun today,” Martin said. “It’s nice to not have to worry about the weather on a day like today. We’ve just been playing.”
But Martin certainly wasn’t the oldest to be found at the park. Katey Smith, 14, and Madeline Crawford, 14, both of Hamlet, were taking full advantage of the swing sets. They made goofy faces at each other while attempting to swing as high as possible.
“Well, you know there’s not a lot to do around here, so we actually come out here a lot,” Smith said. “It’s fun, and today is a perfect day to be outside.”