This fest is all wet
KENOSHA NEWS CORRESPONDENT
SILVER LAKE — Dozens of people turned out Saturday for the fights in Silver Lake.
The water fights, to be precise
The object of the event, featuring teams from area fire departments, is to drive a barrel past the opposing team with a stream of water shot from the fire hose. The result is a thunderous crashing of the barrel across the pavement and a refreshing shower of water on the spectators.
Official judge Bob Kunde of the Wheatland Fire Department said the water fights have been going on for at least 40 years.
“It is a good workout,” he admitted. “It used to be we had to win the best three out of five fights, but now it’s two out of three. I remember one time we went all five fights, four of them were each two minutes long and the last one was a minute and 57 seconds. It brought me to my knees when it was done.”
Trophies were awarded to the four best teams, and a consolation trophy called the “Horse’s Ass” was awarded to the team spending the least amount of time on the court.
“You don’t want to be the fastest loser,” joked Tim Pacey of the Wilmot Fire Department, displaying the trophy that looked like, well, the back end of a horse.
The water fights were just part of an Independence Day celebration that, despite the absence of fireworks, did not lack in fun family activities.
Music, games, food, a spaghetti-eating contest, duck races and businessmen water fights were among the activities that kept a steady crowd streaming into Schmalfeldt Park.
The performances by students of USA Martial Arts in Antioch, Ill., were fluid, precise, controlled and intense.
While their demonstration looked like a dance, it is actually a kata, a series of fighting moves. Set to music, they demonstrated confidence, board breaking, kickboxing, discipline and weapons fighting.
An American flag painted on her rosy cheek, Rebecca Krupa, 10, of Pell Lake, sat mesmerized by the martial arts presentation, and was looking forward to the water fights later in the day.
“We come here every year, and it’s a lot of fun because a bunch of my family members live here and we get to see them,” she said. “I will miss the fireworks, but we are having fun anyway.”
For her mom, Chrissy, it was an opportunity to reconnect with family and enjoy an almost-free Independence Day.
“They are just great and so organized here,” she said. “Many of the activities, including the face painting, are free. We used to live here and come back every year because we really miss all the great people. It’s like a family reunion.”
While the city of Kenosha has plenty of holiday events, Pricilla Hauser brought her two children Mia, 3, and Collin, 7, to experience a slower paced celebration in the county.
“We just wanted to spend time in the county where it wasn’t so crowded,” she said. “Collin loves firefighters and was very excited when I told him we were coming for the water fights.”