The midway smelled of powdered sugar and fried chicken and rang with the joyous sound of children.
Thunder on Water kicked off Thursday evening with bustling crowds. Folks were eager to enjoy the food and rides after rainy weather postponed Grenada’s marquee outdoor event for 24 hours.
More than 93,300 came out this year to enjoy the Thunder festivities, according to the Army Corps of Engineers.
Thursday, the clear sound of ringing bells sounded over the spillway, along with the startling pop of balloons and the bright, sunny sound of laughter. A careful observer could look at the rocks flanking the spillway, along which Rebel Amusement had set up the midway, and see the high water mark, the place where the tea-colored water, carrying a thin scrim of flotsam, finally crested and rolled back, just feet away from coming ashore.
As the sun sank Thursday the crowds grew, with the bright, multi-colored lights of the 64-foot Ferris wheel casting a blue and green glow into the breezy night.
Eleven-year-old Jayden Phillips peeked out over the rim of a bucket on the ride called the Hustler. She smiled at her daddy, who watched from the bottom of the stairs.
Seven-year-old Jessica Moore tried her pitching arm at throwing darts and won a stuffed animal.
Simrah Sajjad, 10, and Azshia Williams, 8, rode tiny, toy motorcycles round and round, giggling each time they passed their parents.
Up and down the midway, carnival workers called good-naturedly to passersby, urging them to throw a tiny ring around the neck of a Coke bottle, or to make two out of three shots with a basketball. Men tested their strength by swinging a giant hammer and sending the plunger up the pole to ring the bell.
Six-year-old Julez Anne Moore and four-year-old Jett Lewis whooshed down the long, plastic slide on potato sacks, smiling all the way. Michael Francis, 3, and Trenn Brown, 5, followed close behind.
“I’m just a kid at heart,” said Jospeh Cadena of Grenada, as he strolled the midway absorbing the atmosphere. “I love the rides, the food, all of it,” he said.
The opportunities for children were what Marcus Smith of Grenada liked best.
“That and funnel cake,” Smith said, laughing.
Keifer an Ashlynn Hughes, along with James Greer and Kacie Jones, brought their family to the festivities, including one-year-old Avery Brown and nine-month-old Kassidy Hughes.