Ellerbe, Hamlet to host Independence Day festivities

Watermelon races, music, fireworks highlight July 4th fun

By Kevin Spradlin

* 2014 PDP coverage – EllerbeHamlet

Ellerbe Lions Club Park is the place to be on Saturday for traditional Independence Day fun — in true Ellerbe style.

Fireworks won’t begin until dark, but the town’s volunteer firefighters are central to the day’s festivities. Gates open at 10 a.m. and the pond and playground are open for business. At 2 p.m., the games and festivities begin — highlighted by the annual watermelon races.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com The water pressure varies depending on the age group of watermelon race competitors. It's not easy no matter your age.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
The water pressure varies depending on the age group of watermelon race competitors. It’s not easy no matter your age.

Firefighters fill Tupperware totes with soapy water and watermelons, then use fire hoses to complete the obstacle. Whoever runs into the fray and back out with the striped green fruit wins the prize — the watermelon itself, along with bragging rights.

Joey Bostick, outoing Ellerbe Lions Club president, said there will also be a bounce house.

At 4 p.m., Bostick will past the torch of Ellerbe Lions Club leadership to incoming president Ken Lyerly. Club officials also will present the Lion of the Year and Citizen of the Year awards.

At 4:30 p.m., 2nd Chance Ministries, based in Florence, S.C., but with members in Rockingham, will be on stage and Pinehurst-based Dark Horse will play beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Volunteer firefighters will spearhead the fireworks display at dark, Bostick said. Sunset is set for 8:42 p.m.

Admission has increased over the past year. This Saturday, admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children 12-and-under. In 2014, it was $3 for adults and $2 for children 8-and-under.

* * * 

In Hamlet, the turnover in key personnel within the city of Hamlet government as well as medical issues with key volunteers have forced the lowering of the number of offerings — but that doesn’t mean Hamlet isn’t worth a visit on Saturday.

Kim Lindsey and she and her husband, David, along with other members of the Hamlet Business Development Association have stepped in to fill the gap as much as possible. There won’t be watermelon-eating contests, water balloon tosses, tricycle races. There also won’t be inflatables this year.

Out, too, is the classic car show this year, but Ron Mayo said the Main Street Cruise-In took place as part of the July 4 festivities last year because it was the first Friday of the month. And the Great Hamlet Hunt is out, Lindsey said, because of the change of the museum manager position. Last year, Miranda Chavis was in place to coordinate, supervise and judge the hunt, water balloon toss contest and the tricycle races. But she resigned later that same month and her replacement resigned after fewer than four months on the job.

“Unfortunately, due to a health issue, the person (who) coordinated it last year is not able to do it,” Lindsey said. “Things are very different this year. My husband and I have picked it up. We’re going to do what we can in four weeks.”

Band of Gold will play from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., and members of the Hamlet Fire Department have worked with David Lindsey, city staff and Gene Ross to build a “super soaker sprinkler.”

It’s “a homemade sprinkler that will absolutely drench any person in its vicinity,” Lindsey said. “It’s 50 thousand million times better” than an inflatable water slide.

The 12-nozzle sprinkler head will be attached to a 2-inch water feed line that is “going to absolutely drown these kids. There is no standing in line and waiting until it’s your turn to slide down again.”

Lindsey said firefighters joked that when the nozzle’s on wide open, “it’s like a jet engine.”

The super soaker will be set up in the parking lot next to Birmingham Drug. Lindsey encourages everyone to wear swimsuits and bring their own towels.

“Don’t wash the kids, ’cause we can blast the grime off,” Lindsey said.

Members of the Hamlet Business Development Association voted last week to use proceeds from the group’s Christmas parade to fund the July 4 festivities. That means the super soaker won’t cost kids anything, she said. Neither will getting a face tattoo and a balloon specialist will offer animals in a variety of colors — at no charge.

Senior residents from the area will be presenting an art show at the Hamlet Depot.

Lindsey said patrons should plan to rely on vendors in town, as local businesses Jones on Main as well as the Seaboard Station Restaurant are expected to be closed on Saturday. Italian ice, hot dogs, cotton candy and funnel cakes will be available for purchase.

Fireworks are scheduled to be set off at approximately 9:15 p.m. by Hamlet firefighters from the Hamlet Fairgrounds. Parking there will be prohibited there and along Main Street from Raleigh Street by the post office to Bridges Street. The alleyways behind the stores and Palmetto Wye also will be closed from vehicle traffic to ensure pedestrians’ safety.

That situation allows for additional seating right on Main Street, Lindsey said, for a great view of the fireworks.

She’s been told that the “fireworks are even more spectacular this year than they have been in the past,” Lindsey said. “I’m hoping to see Main Street (be) nothing but blankets and chairs waiting for dark-thirty.”

* * * 

The town of Cheraw gets a head start on Independence Day fun on Thursday, July 2 with its annual Children’s Bicycle Parade.

The parade, dutifully filled with children and decorated bicycles, will start at 10:30 a.m., running down the 100 block of Main Street ending at Town Hall.

Parade participants are asked to assemble behind Flemming Funeral Home. Prizes will be presented for “Most Patriotic” and “Best Decorated Bike & Wagon.” Refreshments will be served.

The celebration continues from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday in downtown on Second Street.

This is a free event with live entertainment provided by “The Legacy Motown Revue” band. There will also be kids’ games and rides, food & fireworks at dusk. For more details, call the Cheraw Recreation & Leisure Services Department at 843-537-8420.

* * *

Fireworks, a live band and children’s activities highlight the town of Wadesboro’s Independence Day celebration on Friday, July 3.

The fun starts at 6:30 p.m. at the Plank Road Realty parking lot at the corner of Wade and Washington streets.

The event features Gary Covington and THE MIXX, a popular local band playing a variety of music. Activities for kids include beach balls, tie-dye painting, glow bracelets, and chalk to draw in the pavement. You will need lawn chairs or blankets for seating. The evening will conclude with fireworks at 9:30 pm. Admission is free.

Uptown Wadesboro is sponsoring the event with support from the Town of Wadesboro and sponsors. Don’t forget to bring the kids and your dancing shoes.

For further information, contact Uptown Wadesboro at 704-695-1644 by email at uptownwadesboro@windstream.net or by visiting the website at www.uptownwadesboro.com


Filed in: Latest Headlines, Outdoors

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