The town of Ellerbe celebrated Independence Day with an event sponsored by the Ellerbe Lions Club, Ellerbe Telephone, Iron Horse Auction and Pee Dee Electric, held on the grounds of the Lions Club.
The temperature, pushing 100 degrees, didn’t deter many of the fun-seekers. Lines of cars weaved their way into parking spots, and families unloaded coolers and snacks as they readied for a day in the sun.
“We come here every year,” said Ellerbe natives Kenneth Webb and Tommy Goodwin, taking a break from practicing for the corn hole tournament. “We can bring the kids, and let them run around and play without having to worry about them. Some of our kids are over by the lake getting soaked by the fire hose now.”
The Ellerbe Fire Department set up a truck by the lake, and created a tricky game for kids to play. A hillside was doused in soap suds, a tub was filled with water and a melon and kids raced to the bucket trying to be the first to pull out the melon.
“We’ve been doing this for several years, and the kids love it,” said David Boles, who serves on the fire department.
The game is made quite a bit harder because, in addition to the slipper hill, kids had to fight a spray of water from the hose to make it to the bucket. Winners of each race got to keep their watermelons.
“I went around the water and the soap,” said seven-year-old Ryan Baker, from Vermont.”I was fast, that’s how I won!”
Baker was visiting his grandmother, Oma Lawhorne, who recently moved to Ellerbe.
“I just love the hometown atmosphere in Ellerbe,” said Lawhorne. “This is my first time attending the Fourth of July celebrations here, and we’re having the best time.”
Bobby Bailey, of Wagram, was another out-of-towner attending the event.
“I grew up coming here,” said Bailey. “It’s a great place to bring my kids because there’s no drinking or craziness going on.”
Young Ellerbe locals, like 14-year-old Jessica Poland, like going to “hang out and talk to people.”
In addition to the watermelon run, the day was jam-packed with events.
Gospel singer Vickie Daniels, bluegrass band Backlash and country rock bands Van Haggard and Dixie Stills provided live musical entertainment. The Quicksilver Cloggers jumped on stage to dance their heart outs, while the audience cheered them on.
“I’ve been clogging for 30 or 40 years,” said Newell Galimore, of Ellerbe.
A bounce house was set up for kids, and corn hole games set up in the shade entertained the older crowd. There was also face painting, a climbing wall and a hay bale toss to keep everyone busy before the fireworks show that evening. Vendors sold everything from airbrushed T-shirts to barbecue.
Many guests brought their own grills, and set up canopies so family and friends could congregate in the shade.
“I’ve been coming here for 17 years,” said Mellie Webb, who was under her canopy with her son, Matthew, Betty Webb and Mary Goodwin. “It’s a time for us all to get together, sweat and hang out!”
— Staff Writer Kelli Easterling can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 18, or by email at email@example.com.