Wet fun for the Fourth

By: By Christine S. Carroll - Staff Writer
Teams of Ellerbe firefighters man a couple hundred feet of hoses, spraying them at all comers attempting to grapple melons smeared with dish soap and bunched in buckets at the firefighters’ feet. Smaller melon-grabbers braved the spray, but things got crazier as larger children joined the contest a little later. Wter siphoned from the nearby lake. That left their tanker fully loaded in case of a call-out.
Krash the Milkman of Lillington — the self-proclaimed “biggest thing to hit Ellerbe since Andre the Giant” — awaits his turn to wrestle in the Lions’ arena, passing the time talking to his “manager,” Mr. Moo-Moo, a hand puppet. Dressed in a cow-spotted hat and bell bottoms, Krash did not cut an imposing figure, although he claimed he would win against whoever was pitted against him.
Four-year-old Neveah McLaughlin of Ellerbe slurps down a hard-won watermelon Wednesday afternoon.

ELLERBE — Giggling like girls, the men of the Ellerbe Volunteer Fire Department beat back those grappling for soapy watermelons, using double the hose power of years past at the Ellerbe Lions’ Fourth of July fete.

But still the intrepid melon cravers came — some, succesfully, grabbing the slippery fruits at risk of lost pants and lost footing in the newly swampy grass.

“Runaway melon!” firefighters called as an occasional green-striped orb slipped away. “There it goes! Down the hill!”

By midafternoon, the contest had become a bit more aggressive yet no less good natured as bigger kids crashed into the bins holding the prize melons, cracking them and spilling the fruits and several gallons of water siphoned from Lions Lake.

A football field’s length away from the fray, families set up their grills and coolers for what has become a yearly event for some, such as Robyn and Justin Berry of Rockingham.

“This is like a family tradition,” said Justin Berry, adding that the couple were waiting for the arrival of several others, including in-laws.

“We come out here, we bring friends,” said Robyn Berry. Then they feed them all hot dogs, hamburgers and chips, she said, and hand out sparklers to the small children nearby.

Sheriff’s Deputy Chris Smith was on hand for the celebration, remembering tractor rides he took around the lake as a child attending the decades-old celebration. This time around, he was working a holiday shift so he could make sure others could have fun safely.

“I enjoy it,” he said, remarking that it was no less fun working the event. “We volunteered to do this.”

Gates to Lions Park opened at noon. Opening celebrations began at 2 p.m.

At 4 p.m, the Lions announced the Lion of the Year, Donnie Richardson, after 10-year-old Alyssa Sellers sang a nervously rendered national anthem.

At 4:30 p.m, the bands came out.

At about 5, the “wrasslers” of Adrenaline Pro Wrestling strutted and hulked into the nearby arena, ready to rumble.

And for hours still, cars full of celebrants continued to pull into the park, ready to tailgate and watch fireworks after dark.

Teams of Ellerbe firefighters man a couple hundred feet of hoses, spraying them at all comers attempting to grapple melons smeared with dish soap and bunched in buckets at the firefighters’ feet. Smaller melon-grabbers braved the spray, but things got crazier as larger children joined the contest a little later. Wter siphoned from the nearby lake. That left their tanker fully loaded in case of a call-out.
https://www.yourdailyjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/web1_ellerbe4th_18_hose.jpgTeams of Ellerbe firefighters man a couple hundred feet of hoses, spraying them at all comers attempting to grapple melons smeared with dish soap and bunched in buckets at the firefighters’ feet. Smaller melon-grabbers braved the spray, but things got crazier as larger children joined the contest a little later. Wter siphoned from the nearby lake. That left their tanker fully loaded in case of a call-out.

Krash the Milkman of Lillington — the self-proclaimed “biggest thing to hit Ellerbe since Andre the Giant” — awaits his turn to wrestle in the Lions’ arena, passing the time talking to his “manager,” Mr. Moo-Moo, a hand puppet. Dressed in a cow-spotted hat and bell bottoms, Krash did not cut an imposing figure, although he claimed he would win against whoever was pitted against him.
https://www.yourdailyjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/web1_ellerbe4th_18_wrestler-2-.jpgKrash the Milkman of Lillington — the self-proclaimed “biggest thing to hit Ellerbe since Andre the Giant” — awaits his turn to wrestle in the Lions’ arena, passing the time talking to his “manager,” Mr. Moo-Moo, a hand puppet. Dressed in a cow-spotted hat and bell bottoms, Krash did not cut an imposing figure, although he claimed he would win against whoever was pitted against him.

Four-year-old Neveah McLaughlin of Ellerbe slurps down a hard-won watermelon Wednesday afternoon.
https://www.yourdailyjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/web1_ellerbe4th_18_watermelon.jpgFour-year-old Neveah McLaughlin of Ellerbe slurps down a hard-won watermelon Wednesday afternoon.
Fire hoses, watermelons, wrestlingand fireworks highlight celebration

By Christine S. Carroll

Staff Writer

Reach Christine Carroll at 910-817-2673 or [email protected]

Reach Christine Carroll at 910-817-2673 or [email protected]