Santa Clarita residents are preparing for an annual battle of ballooning significance.
The Battle of Wettysburg is set to begin at noon, July 4 at Valencia Valley Park, with more than 110 people and 15,000 water balloons expected to enter the fray.
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The historically charged water balloon fight is organized annually by Ernie Stone and Matt McGeehan, both residents of Santa Clarita.
The first re-enactment was almost four years ago at the Battle of Waterloo, and past fights have featured loose recreations of battles from the Napoleonic era, the Battle of Stalingrad (Watergrad) and the Revolutionary War.
The event has grown significantly since its modest beginnings, Stone said.
“At the first battle, we had 14 people and one cooler, and it only lasted about 10 minutes,” Stone said. “Now we have developed a reputation. For two years in a row, we have had consistently good water balloon fights, which is even more of an incentive to come.”
The American Waterlution, held June 30, 2013, drew 80 fearless combatants to Valencia Valley Park. Attendees brought approximately 8,000 water balloons, which the British and Revolutionary sides deployed using water balloon launchers and the more traditional hand-thrown variety of balloon warfare.
This year, the event’s organizers will attempt to recreate one of the bloodiest battles in American history, The Battle of Gettysburg, with Civil War weaponry replaced by watery projectiles.
The Union will face off against the Confederacy and participants can pick a side by contacting the respective commanders on the Battle of Wettysburg Facebook page. Those who want to join can also simply show up in either blue or grey, the colors associated with the Union and Confederacy, respectively.
Stone recognized the potentially inflammatory nature of a Civil War reenactment, but said that wasn’t the point of the event.
“The only problem is we don’t want to offend anyone with people playing Confederates,” Stone said. “It’s all just for fun.”
While the past three water balloon fights have been purely for entertainment, this year’s re-enactment will also serve as a charity event. Those who wish to participate are asked to bring a few cans of food to be donated to the Santa Clarita Valley Food Pantry.
“We were thinking of ways to get people who might not be down for a water balloon fight, and we wanted to think of ways for it to be beneficial and to help other people,” Stone said. “If each person brings three or four cans of food that would be amazing.”
The event is BYOB with the final B, of course, standing for balloons. Filling stations will be set up in the days prior to the event for those who wish to meet some of the attendees while preparing their arsenals for the big day.
“I just expect an insanely good water balloon fight,” Stone said. “I would be disappointed if we had anything less than 110 people and 15,000 balloons. If you’re not going to come, why not? Its nice that you can still do the things you did when you were 6 and 7 and that you can get out and do it with your friends.”
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Source: Santa Clarita News