INNISFAIL – They ran. They stopped. They aimed. And they fired.
All targets succumbed to each onslaught. But they all laughed.
But this was a different kind of battle. It was all fun.
The first-ever Innisfail Water Warz! - a free event – was successfully staged during the afternoon of July 30 in the soccer field west of the Innisfail Aquatic Centre.
In fact, it was a true blast for the more than 100 wet young and old soldiers of play who pursued fun and relief from this summer’s extended heat wave.
“This is so fun and the kids are having a blast,” exclaimed Sylvan Lake’s Lance Steffes who heard about the Innisfail Water Warz! from a friend. Steffes, an adult water warrior, was also on the losing end during many battlefield encounters.
“It’s actually a great turnout for our first Water Warz event for the town,” said Kelly Eggink, a senior lifeguard at the aquatic centre who was helping out at the inaugural event that played out all afternoon in four different time slots for families, teens and adults.
“We had a lot of pre-registration so I did expect this many people but I am still surprised that everybody is still out there having fun.
“A lot of these people aren’t pre-registered. They just kind of showed up, so hopefully that is how the whole day goes and we’ll have a steady crowd for five hours,” she added, noting the battlefield zeal displayed by the grown-ups. “I’ve been hit by more adults than kids I think.”
The Water Warz event was the brainchild of aquatic centre staff after being inspired by the recent Netflix Jennifer Garner-led movie Yes Day. The initial idea was to create a battlefield, complete with big soft pillowy green and grey bunkers for combatants, and fire off reusable water balls filled with colored water at whoever is brave enough to engage.
However, many came armed with their own water guns for water-filled combat. There was also a special kids’ section for the young to play in while the bigger folks squared off. There was also face painting available to make one look more warriorish if they chose.
Volunteers also handed out Iron-On decals to combatants for permanent badges of honour. And there were food trucks to feed the warriors who needed a break from combat.
“It’s a pretty big event, especially coming off COVID right now,” said Eggink. “It’s great to see all the people together again.”
In the meantime, senior town officials were pleased with the event, noting up to 120 attended.
“Everything pretty much went as planned. There were no hiccups or delays with the event. We are very happy with that,” said Ken Kowalchuk, the town’s communications coordinator.
As for making the event an annual fun family outing, Kowalchuk said it would be the decision of aquatic centre staff but added they would “probably” run it again in 2022.
“I can tell you that I got a lot of positive feedback from people who I had spoken to about it, not just within Innisfail but outside the community as well," said Kowalchuk.
“But the one thing they (aquatic centre) did say is that they probably won’t run it as long. They had it running for four hours.They will probably tighten up the time a bit.”