Herald file photos/Steven Doll - Linda Hiles of Belton, left, watches as her niece, Charity Hiles, 12, and daughter, Jame'a Hiles, 7, race each other into the water Monday at Belton Lake Outdoor Recreation Area on Labor Day last year. - -

By Alicia Lacy

Killeen Daily Herald

As temperatures start to rise indicating the start of summer, the Belton Lake Outdoor Recreation Area is getting ready to kick off the season cooling off Central Texans with its annual two-day Waterfest.

Monty Campbell, Fort Hood's Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation public relations coordinator, said Waterfest is BLORA's official opening of summer where visitors can celebrate water and summer.

Some of the activities coming back include a Water Wars water balloon fight, which proved to be a hit, Campbell said.

For $6 per vehicle, visitors to BLORA can a variety of free activities from a Water Wars balloon sling shot shoot-out to a bass fishing demonstration, waterslides, kids' wash, paddleboats, Sierra Beach and a kayak pool.

The park's concession stands will be open for visitors to re-energize before getting back to the several activities available.

Several dry activities will be available.

A free to pet and free to feed petting zoo, pony rides, inflatable bounce houses and mountain bike trails will be available.

BLORA offers more than 300 family picnic shelters and sites and 143 covered picnic shelters and dozens of barbecue grills throughout the park.

For families and individuals preparing to come out, items they should bring include a picnic basket, sunscreen or sunblock, towels, blankets and any water safety devices for those less experienced swimmers.

Every year, the festival attracts thousands of Central Texans and organizers are planning for the same this year, so it's important to stay close to each other or have a central meeting place in case groups are separated.

As with any event, a lost and found and security will be available.Lifeguards will be at Sierra Beach, the waterslides and other water activities.

For more information or directions to BLORA, call (254) 287-2523 or go to www.hoodmwr.com/waterfest.htm.

If you go

What: Waterfest

When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. June 5 and 6

Where: Belton Lake Outdoor Recreation Area

Cost: $6 per vehicle per day

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