(Editor’s note: Circling the News received a June 16 email from Palisadian Tom Lavia, asking that this publication cover the 17th Annual Monument Water Balloon Fight. He wrote “It’s the oldest and the biggest water balloon fight in 90272 and Rich [Schmidt, a photographer] has covered it in the past. We welcome you to drinks and tacos, but can’t promise that you won’t get wet.” It only took CTN a minute to realize an event of this magnitude needed to be covered. But the idea of getting drenched. . . luckily CTN reporter Chaz Plager signed up for “hazard duty.”)
By CHAZ PLAGER
The best cure for a summer day’s heat is water. And the Monument Street Water Balloon Fight is just the place to get your fix.
Hosted by Tom Lavia and Aaron Bendickson every Fourth of July, the 17th annual water balloon fight drew more than 200 attendants and close to 30,000 water balloons.
“Our neighbors up the street— The Beaver family— started it 17 years ago,” Lavia said. “Eleven years ago, around when we moved in, they asked us to carry on the torch, and here we are.”
Participants were encouraged to bring their own balloons and water guns, from a small Squirt Blaster to the three-foot-long Super Soaker Ultra.
At 11:30 a.m., the event opened with a speech.
“Welcome to the best part of 4th of July!” Cohost Aaron Bendickson yelled. “We know what you want, and there’s 60 kids charging down that away that know what they want. Have at you!”
With those words, the fight began. Children squealed as massive balloons of all shapes and colors were lobbed into the fray, soaking all those unfortunate enough to be in the way.
A privileged few with water guns were able to spray down other children at little risk to themselves. It was a full half hour of simple joy, one appropriate for a holiday like the 4th of July.
When the fight ended, participants and parents could treat themselves to soft drinks and a taco bar, courtesy of the Lavias.
The event received rave reviews.
When asked how much fun he was having, 5-year-old Hunter replied, “One hundred percent!”