Mulberry Starts Summer Vacation With Fourth Annual Summer Splash
by James Coulter
Stan McMahan, Pastor of Greater Hope Church in Mulberry, has four children. They don’t often visit the local pool, but they do love getting wet, especially on a hot summer day. So any opportunity to get wet like during the annual Summer Splash is a good one for them.
“Summer is hot, so anything with water is something that they love,” he said.
For the past three years, he and his children have been attending the annual event at the community pool to celebrate the pool opening to the public. Aside from being able to splash around, they also love the other water activities including the inflatable water slides.
As a local pastor, McMahan takes any opportunity to attend an event like this and offer visibility to his church and their ministry. Often he will participate within these events with a booth for their church, though during this particular event, he and his children focused on having good, wet summer fun.
“Not only do I love the city that I live in, but our kids absolutely love events like this, especially when it involves water slides and the pool,” he said. “So that is why we are out here.”
For the fourth consecutive year, the Mulberry Community Pool in Spence Park hosted its annual tradition of celebrating the end of the school year and the beginning of summer vacation with the Summer Splash event on Saturday.
The local pool is only open from the start of summer vacation to the start of the next school year within the public school system. As such, the event serves to officially kick off the summer season in Mulberry and the opening of the community pool to the public.
Aside from being able to take a dive into the pool for the very first time during the summer, the event also offers other fun water activities including water balloon tosses, inflatable water slides, and a dunking booth. Attendees could also enjoy a free hot dog complimentary of the pool and city staff.
The idea for the event was inspired four years ago by Nicky Carol, the former director of the Mulberry Cultural Center, where the pool passes are administered. Since the center is open during the same time as the pool, and is overall open to the general public, the location served as the ideal place to offer the passes, explained current director Chelsea Young.
“She [Carol] has kids and realized we need to offer some slides and activities so that we are at capacity because we are so popular there is more to do,” Young said. “We offer programs throughout the summer, and we always love to partner with city programs as much as possible.”
Young has been participating in the event in past years, not only to help local residents celebrate the start of summer, but also inform them about programs offered at the cultural center, from
their “Magic School Bus Days” to the “Summer Swatches” art program. Overall, she loves volunteering with the event as a way to help local residents, especially young children, receive a great and fun start to their summer vacation.
“I think summer has good memories for everybody, especially in a small hometown, so it is wonderful to see balloon tossing, slip and slides, all of the classic [games] growing up, [and] now your kids can be a part of it too,” she said. “It is one of my favorite events to be part of the community. I love seeing the kids so excited being out of school and seeing what the summer holds and it just feels like a good time to get together and celebrate.”
This year had more inflatables added to the festivities. This was also the second year to utilize The Mulberry Civic Team Advisory Board, a local youth council that provides volunteers to local events and functions.
Within the first hour of the event, more than 150 local residents gathered to enjoy the pool and other activities. Such a high turnout shows how much the community loves their local pool, explained Louis Holstein, Mulberry Programs Director.
“For us it is a big deal because we are a small community, so anytime we have good numbers it is always a success; and the weather is beautiful, which we could not ask for better weather,” he said. “Anything to get kids wet, I think kids love it, and they come out for it. This year, it seems like we will have the best turnout we’ve ever had.”
From now until the pool closes to the public, the Mulberry Community Pool will be offering other free events for the public, including monthly movie nights and their Annual Fourth Of July Celebration to be hosted on June 29. Both Louis and the new lifeguard staff are excited for what the upcoming season has to offer.
“I love what I do,” he said. “I love the City of Mulberry, and we are only just growing, so it is really exciting to be part of a vibrant community.”
Mulberry Community Pool is located at 307 NE 10th Ave., Mulberry, FL 33860. For more information, call 863-393-8166, or visit their Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/mulberrycommunitypool/