Traditions, old and older, kept alive in Ellerbe

 Fireworks set for after dark

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Alicia Whaley, 11, of Rockingham, carries out the third of four watermelons she managed to grab during the watermelon races. It was the first time, said her father Brian Blanton, that he could recall someone being prohibited from participating in the next heat. Yes, Alicia was that good.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Alicia Whaley, 11, of Rockingham, carries out the third of four watermelons she managed to grab during the watermelon races. It was the first time, said her father Brian Blanton, that he could recall someone being prohibited from participating in the next heat. Yes, Alicia was that good.

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

Photo gallery – about 600 pics

ELLERBE — Some of the ongoing activities at Ellerbe Lions Club Park Friday afternoon for the 4th of July Jamboree were as old, or older, than America itself.

Fishing, barbecue and simply spending time outdoors. Funnel cakes, swing sets and, a more recent source of entertainment, bounce houses, as well as music by Vickie Daniel and Stan and Linda Jacobs.

Then there’s the watermelon races. While newer than America’s 238 years, perhaps, they are a time-honored tradition in Ellerbe all by themselves. More than two dozen  boys and girls participated in the annual games, which pit an age-appropriate mob of children at one end of a short field.

The goal? Get to the bucket of water and, before anyone else, grab the soaped-up watermelon and carry it to safety. Oh, and members of the Ellerbe Volunteer Fire Department used fire hoses as another, more obstinate obstacle to add to the challenge.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Members of the Ellerbe Fire Department play a significant role in the annual 4th of July Jamboree at Lions Club Park.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Members of the Ellerbe Fire Department play a significant role in the annual 4th of July Jamboree at Lions Club Park.

The reward? Nothing but the watermelon itself, and certainly no small amount of bragging rights.

“That’s my boy,” exclaimed a father as his son ran away from the group with the green sphere clutched to his chest, smile on his face. “I’m proud of you!”

One woman noted the races were an annual event. Her child, she said. “has been looking forward to them all year long.”

Though each age-appropriate heat had a victor, no one was more victorious than Alicia Whaley, The 11-year-old Rockingham resident somehow managed to fight through the throngs of grappling hands and the moat of foamy mud to win four separate heats and bring home four separate watermelons.

Out of breath, Alicia said to be good, “you just gotta practice.”

Alicia also recommended that “you watch what you eat” and “work out” and, she noted, she might have been aided by her heritage.

“I’m athletic, like my dad,” she said as parents stood by — her mom noting she, in fact, was a former watermelon race champion.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com "That's my boy!"

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
“That’s my boy!”

There was plenty of parking still available as of 3:30 p.m. Fireworks, managed by members of the Ellerbe Fire Department were set to go off after dark.

Admission to Ellerbe Lions Club Park on Friday was $3 for adults and $2 for children 8-and-under.

Filed in: Featured News, Latest Headlines, News, Outdoors

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