HAMLET — Kids climbed, leaped, hopped and slid on a sunny Saturday as two gridiron greats put on a summer festival for families in their home county.
For the first year, New Orleans Saints inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe joined San Diego Chargers outside linebacker Melvin Ingram to sponsor the Melvin’s Mission Family Fun Day at Hamlet Memorial Park.
The NFL players provided a bounce house, inflatable slides, a rock-climbing wall, a trampoline bungee jump, face-painting and more for hundreds of Richmond County children.
Parents gulped bottled water and held their kids’ cotton candy and popcorn as the youths participated in free activities in the park from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
“For Melvin and Dannell both being from Richmond County, coming home to where they came from is important,” said Maurice McLaurin, director of Hamlet Parks and Recreation. “It’s fun for us when they do, but what impresses me is that it’s important to them that they come back.”
The free festival in the park wasn’t the only thing Ingram and Ellerbe had up their sleeves. The fun continued with a basketball tournament planned from 5 to 10 p.m. at Richmond Senior High.
Both pro athletes were standouts on the Richmond Senior football team.