Posted by Bill
Southport is the host of the North Carolina state 4th of July festival. Every year a crowd of 50,000 people gather for the week long celebration. There are events happening every day, but most of the real craziness begins on Thursday and runs through the weekend. This past Saturday was the start, and we walked downtown to check out the Fire Fighters competition. Area fire fighters compete in several challenges, and from what we have been told the winner moves on to state competitions.
When we arrived they were doing a bucket brigade competition:
The team of fire fighters man buckets and dip water from a pool that is filled to the same level for each team. They then run with the buckets and throw water on to a small building that is around 20 yards away from the pool. The building has a roof and gutter system that takes water from the roof down to a large trash can. The team that can fill the trash can the fastest is the winner. We were watching the event next to where one of the teams had a tent set up as their base, and it was interesting to hear them develop their strategy.
Next was the truck pull:
Each team was timed to see how long it took them to pull a 36,000 pound tanker truck from a start line to a finish line. Here again, it was interesting to see how each team tried something different to gain an advantage.
Next, the challenge was to see how much water you could shoot through a 6″ diameter hole in a “wall” in a 3 minute time period:
The wall was a plywood prop, the hole leading through a pipe to a trash can. The team consists of 3 guys who wear blacked out goggles, that walk from the wall to a fire hose some 20 yards away. There is a 4th guy who stays at the wall who directs the others because they cannot see. The 3 guys have to find the hose and then shoot water at the wall. It was hilarious! We were standing in what they called the “get wet zone”, to the left of one of the walls, and we did get some minor spray. I am sure it could have been much worse!
Last, was the barrel push:
An empty beer keg is suspended on a high wire, and 2 teams stand opposite one another and use fire hoses to see who can push the barrel over the other team’s start line, like a tug of war. We watched most of the teams compete until the barrel broke loose from the high wire and came crashing to the ground. They were trying to figure out what to do next when we left.
There were lots of kids playing in a fountain they had set up and that was fun to watch too:
It was the first time we had seen anything like this and we had a great time! Stay tuned as we’ll report on the other festivities as the week progresses.