Lake Cornelia games include melons, frogs

LAKE CORNELIA – Bob Powers, who helped organize an afternoon of children’s games as part of the Lake Cornelia Independence Day weekend, had a little trouble obtaining frogs for the frog race.

“You can hear them,” he said. “But you can’t get to them.”

The ones he was able to obtain, were tiny – which was good. They didn’t have to hop very far across the grass before a winner was declared.

Powers said the inspiration for the afternoon was purely social.

“We want to get the kids together and get the kids to know each other,” he said.

Reese Billingsley, 9, of Denver, Colo., and Piper Wright, 9, of Johnston, were able to do just that by tossing an egg at each other and hopefully, catching it without breaking it.

They were successful until the rather fragile missile finally hit a hard spot on the grass.

“It sort of bounced,” Billingsley said.

Emily Neuendorf, of Waverly, brought her son Elijah, 3, to the afternoon of games. He not only ended up with a medal to wear, but he also collected a toy bow as a prize.

“It’s a nice way to bring all the families together,” Neuendorf said.

The tiny frogs – one of which her son got to help release – were a hit too.

“Eli called it cute,” she said.

While the real frogs were on the tiny side, the leapfrog races simply required children able to hop.

Nevan Foss, 10, of Clarion, and his friend Eli Toomsen, 9, of Renwick, had their winning strategy down to a simple science.

“Just try to jump the farthest,” Foss said.

Of course, after the race, Toomsen had his own assessment of how it went.

“That’s why I jumped the farthest,” he said.

The final event of the day involved the combination of running, wading, hand-to-eye coordination, watermelons and several tubs of butter.

Jacob Hansen, 9, of Garner, was first up for his team in that particular racing event. He had no problem grasping the butter-covered watermelon with his butter covered hands, which resulted in, well, a butter-covered Hansen.

“It’s not that bad,” he said.

He expected some difficulty with the waves, he said, but otherwise anticipated a smooth run.

His mom, Lori Hansen, was watching the event. Like any good mom, she had already figured out how to remove the butter from her son.

“Back into the water he goes,” she said.

She expected the waves and perhaps a bit of abrasive sand would do the trick.

“Whatever it takes,” she said.

He had his own solution.

“You want a hug Mom?” he asked.

She politely declined – for now.

While almost anything slippery can be used in a watermelon race, butter offers something that dish soap, grease or even lard can’t – a good flavor profile and an enticing aroma.

Brier Boyd, 13, of Goldfield, found it was making him a little hungry – but not hungry enough to eat it.

“I haven’t tried it yet,” he said.

Did it increase his desire for a slice of buttered toast or perhaps a sandwich?

“A little bit,” he said.

Each of the approximately 50 children who participated go a medal on a ribbon to remember the day, along with a prize. In the evening, a boat parade and fireworks completed the Independence Day weekend celebration.