SUNNYSIDE – The summer season’s last public day at the city pool was the Park and Recreation’s inaugural carnival where more than 200 kids jumped in feet first for a social dunking of water fun activities from 3 – 5 p.m. on Saturday, August 17.

The two hour, locally produced event consisted of water-soaked laughter and attractions all for $1, along with vibrant engagement for party goers and seasonal staff.

Root beer floats fueled the enthusiastic carnival crowd to participate in soaking the lifeguards contest, diving for rings, inflatable floating race and water polo competitions, T-shirt tie dying and face painting activities.

City lifeguards, Alicia Martinez and Kameran Rodriguez, assisted youth with crafting their own tie dye creations. Eighteen-year old Martinez will be attending Yakima Valley College at the city campus while also working part-time. Sunnyside High School senior Rodriguez has been playing summer basketball and preparing for the upcoming fall soccer season.

Eight-year-old Lashawn Rome-Nose of Sunnyside glided down the water slide attraction and generated a gust of cool air as he splashed into the pool. The water goggle wearing thrill seeker couldn’t get enough of the high-speed fun and proceeded to walk up the stairwell for another and then, another.

Recreation Coordinator Lander Grow ran over to the grocery store for more vanilla ice cream and rescued the late afternoon celebration from having to tread water while guests didn’t miss a spoonful of the tasty carbonated, carnival dessert and party favorite.

The recipe of success for making the memorable treat, “You need more float than root beer,” Grow disclosed

Zaiden Gonzalez of Sunnyside returned for another root beer float following Grow’s call to action response. The 11-year-old gulped down the poolside dessert while he walked over to the dunk tank to test his aim at soaking a lifeguard.

After the carnival concluded and swift cleanup was complete, the pool opened back up for dive in movie night at 7 p.m. Advanced tickets were $3 or $5 at the gate. About 50 kids attended the evening’s final summer extravaganza.

The feature presentation was “Captain Underpants,” which began at 8:15 p.m. Guests were encouraged to bring snacks and drinks in plastic containers, and a personal floatation or poolside chair to watch the big screen event.

Grow stated one of the biggest positives from this summer’s series of Park and Recreation programming was how the department is continuing to build their brand while gaining public participation and interest in both activities, facilities and rentals.

He also pointed out how they shifted the public pool schedule to accommodate more rental opportunity this year.

“We had some new groups and returning businesses renting out the facility,” Grow noted. He explained how there was new and exciting potential of renting both the park and pool together.

“I was extremely pleased with this year’s pool staff. They were all wonderful. From management, lifeguarding to cashiering, they all did an excellent job,” Grow proudly acknowledged.

Patrick Shelby can be contacted at 509-837-4500, ext. 110 or email

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