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Having a blast in the water

August 27, 2004

Andrew Edwards

The August sun burned overhead as a noisy bunch of Laguna youngsters

showed off their cache of water guns, and waited as others lugged

heavy red buckets filled with an arsenal of fun.

"Water balloons," 7-year-old Cora Bowers called out excitedly when

she saw the dozens of balloons, just waiting to be tossed at her and

her friends.

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The children at the Boys and Girls Club of Laguna Beach

commemorated "Water Blast Day" on Friday by playing three games,

which became more frenzied as the day went on. The event started on a

calm note with a water balloon toss, but got more hectic when it was

time for the water balloon fight -- when it was time to bring the

squirt guns into play, all bets were off.

During the toss, children paired up and tossed a balloon back and

forth. The teams had three "lives."

"If you drop it and it explodes, you're out," explained Athletic

Director Hans Laroche at the start of the game.

With each successful toss, the children upped the challenge by

taking a step back and making the next throw longer. When the players

caught the balloon, they cheered excitedly like 10-year-old Tyler

Brooks and 9-year-old Avery Crowl, who high-fived each other and

pumped fists after their catches.

"It's fun, I love playing with Avery, we're almost in the finals,"

Tyler said.

But when the children were out of the game, they had to pay a

price. As the crowd of children shouted "Get her wet," 6-year-old

Cayla Henderson and 7-year-old Crystal Coinon were drenched with a

bucket of water after three of their balloons popped.

"We got soaked because we dropped three balloons," Cayla said.

After the toss, the children ran around the blacktop in a hectic

effort to peg their friends with balloons.

"It's pretty fun," 11-year-old Devin Kent said. "You just run

around and smash water balloons over kids' heads. It's definitely

worth coming to."

The flurry of the water balloons was followed by an all-out squirt

gun face-off. Many of the children brought brightly colored high-tech

toys powered by air pressure, capable of a higher level of soakage

than old-fashioned water pistols.

"You can bring any toys you want," 9-year-old Sarah Mohanna said

just before she was soaked by a stream of water.

The children ran wildly, blasting each other and having a blast

themselves. The only rules were to have fun and drench each other.

"You just have to run around and shoot people without getting shot

yourself," 10-year-old Keynon Jackson said. "It's kind of like

survival, survival of the fittest."

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