Photo by Ned JIlton
Tens of thousands of gallons of water showered down on a sea of dripping children as they scattered and dashed through the mist at Wednesday afternoon’s Fun Fest Splash Dance on Ormond Drive.
“The kids love it, especially on a hot day like today,” said Kingsport Fire Department Public Education Officer Barry Brickey. “This is the little bit of extra fun at Fun Fest, and we love doing it. For the Fire Department, this is one of our favorite things to do.”
Before he and the other men turned on the three hoses, Brickey gave the children a fire safety quiz.
All week at Kids Central, fire department officials have been teaching fire safety with Sparky the Fire Dog, and the Splash Dance was the finale to these events.
Hundreds of families and children of all ages came out to play in the water.
Christy Thompson came when she was a child and was excited to bring her soaked son Sammy for the first time.
“It gives them a free thing to enjoy each year and to look forward to,” she said.
Children waited anxiously under the spray of the hoses for firemen to turn and soak them again. Some were even fully clothed, but content to be cool in the 90-degree weather.
Eleven-year-old cousins Brice and Amarissa Meade waited in line for the slip ‘n’ slide after getting totally drenched from the hose. Brice said the sprinklers and fire truck were his favorite part.
“It’s fun,” said Amarissa, who was happy to be outside playing with her friends.
Families lined the fence around the fire hose area and relaxed on towels, blankets and camping chairs throughout the area.
Bubble blowing stations were set up near the First Tennessee tent with baby pools full of bubbles and giant wands.
First Tennessee Bank, Kingsport Fire Department and WKPT-TV sponsored the event.
First Tennessee handed out towels, sunglasses and beach balls to families.
Johnson City Senior Vice President of Retail Sheila Whitlock said the children were all very gracious and polite when they requested giveaway items.
“We just really enjoy doing it for the kids,” said Commercial Event Specialist Sherrie Rountree of First Tennessee’s Kingsport Branch. “It’s hot and this is a good way to cool off.”