Chris Hillyer has the coolest spot at the Tri-City Water Follies.
In fact, at 17 degrees, the coaching director for Three Rivers Lacrosse team has access to one the coldest places at Columbia Park — a semi-trailer full of ice.
For more than five years, the youth lacrosse organization has been the sole distributor of ice at the event, and it’s one of the largest fundraisers for the Kennewick sports organization.
Three Rivers Lacrosse fields teams for students from first to eighth grade. They can continue playing at the three Kennewick high schools. The money the organization raises pays for equipment and to help some children who can’t afford to play otherwise.
While outside temperatures have been in the triple-digit territory, more than 100 volunteers were busy delivering 10- and 20-pound bags of ice across the park.
It’s been hot enough to keep them hopping.
“We go through about 27 pallets,” Hillyer said. “It depends on the year, though. A couple of years ago, it wasn’t really hot and we didn’t sell a lot of ice. The last couple of years we’ve done pretty well.”
Four vehicles carry the ice through the park, with team members helping to unload it.
The adults are committed to helping the kids succeed, and they’ll go to some extreme lengths to get the job done, he said.
“We had a guy that wanted ice, and he bought ice for the kids and he wanted a guy’s shirt, so he ended up buying a guy’s shirt right off of him” Hillyer said. “We’ll sell the shirt off of our back for these kids.”
Fairly quiet Follies, so far
The thousands of people filling Columbia Park for the 54th annual Water Follies are keeping the excitement on the water, said Kennewick police Cmdr. Scott Child. Kennewick officers and Benton County sheriff’s deputies were joined by more than 100 security officers on Saturday to keep people safe.
The only thing they saw during the day was some people who didn’t drink enough water, he said.
“We encourage everyone to stay hydrated,” he said. “The crowd down here has been fantastic. It’s been a very good family event. ... We just want to create a safe environment, so people can come down here and enjoy themselves.”
Police reminded people to keep their pets safe, as they had to help rescue a dog left in a hot car around 2 p.m. on Friday. They were able to get him out and get him some water, said Lt. Aaron Clem.
“We were able to get him out and get him some help,” he said during a video statement Friday. “It’s super hot today. It’s supposed to be 98 today and 93 and above tomorrow and Sunday. No dogs allowed here, OK?”
While the people at the park have been behaving themselves, the drivers heading to the boat races have been a different story. A Washington State Patrol plane caught several drivers racing toward Kennewick on Interstate 82.
“We are already stopping cars between 90-100 mph,” Trooper Chris Thorson wrote on Twitter. “Highest speed so far is 119 mph.”