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In Calexico no holiday fireworks, but lots of splishing and splashing

July 05, 2001|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — As the sun went down, a firehose blasted a stream of water high in the air.

Bemused firefighters looked on from the shade of their fire truck as children splished and splashed in the puddles of water collected on the grass of Crummett Park.

The kids looked to be bathed in gold, the sunset refracting the mist and water in which they played.

One boy among the kids stopped moving — stood still, head bowed — letting the water from the hose pound him. He stood still for seconds until a friend walked toward him and playfully smacked his head.

Wet hair ruffled, he went after the other boy and splashed him with authority. The smacker laughed at the smackee and they ran around for awhile.


The water the boys cavorted in came courtesy of the Calexico Fire Department, which kicked off the Calexico Chamber of Commerce's annual Fourth of July celebration by turning on a firehose for kids.

At 7 p.m. most kids stopped slipping and sliding for about a minute and 30 seconds as the national anthem played and the Calexico Police Explorers color guard presented the colors.

After the ceremony, Mayor Victor Carrrillo greeted the audience and thanked all those who helped organize the celebration.

Before his speech was finished the kids were back a'splashing.

The kids not tromping through puddles celebrated their independence from a day of summer school and the tyranny of King George III by running around with sparklers, buying raspasdos, browsing novelties ("How much for the glow-in-the-dark belly-button thingy?") and munching churritos.

One of the novelties evidently purchased was an exploding silly-string contraption. Kids amused themselves to no end by running up on a friend and popping the contraption.

This served two purposes: the friend was surprised — "Wah!" — and covered in silly-string shrapnel — cool.

Their brothers and sisters — the slightly pre-and slightly post-quinceñera crowd — walked in clumps with their respective genders.

Eventually the clumps would meet and wannabe Blink-182 boys would actually talk to Shakira-styled girls.

Since local reggae and rock bands were blasting through heartfelt tunes for most of the night, it was pretty hard for the teens who did meet to have a conversation unless they stood really close.

That must have been the reason they were all standing by the speakers.

While the "TRL" crowd flirted and their "Blues Clues" siblings ran around in literal circles, their parents sat in chairs fixed toward the stage or plopped on their grass.

Sometimes they ambled over to the chamber's beer tent or bought a personal pizza.

In past years they would have had great seats to watch the fireworks show but this year the fireworks company that was to have provided the bangs pulled out of the deal.

Hildy Carrillo-Rivera, chamber executive director, said the chamber did good business and is happy to see that Calexicans supported the annual event despite the lack of fireworks.

All in all, the splashing kids, rockin' teens and their relaxing parents looked to have a fun Fourth of July.

Fireworks, schmireworks.

Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419.

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