FORT HOOD — On the beach at Belton Lake Outdoor Recreation Area on Saturday, Spec. Thomas Valdespino and his family enjoyed a 20-foot water slide, sling-shot water balloons, sand castle building and swimming in the lake at the 20th annual Water Fest.

“I way, way liked it,” said Kaylee Valdespino, her toes in the sand.

Water Fest kicks off BLORA’s summer season. More than 10,000 people were expected to attend the two-day event Saturday and today on Belton Lake.

Other activities included canoeing and a professional bass fishing demonstration.

Lisa Bass, BLORA’s outdoor recreation program coordinator, said the goal of Water Fest is for families to enjoy the water activities and being at the lake.

Cherie Bonine and her children, Cody, 5, and Izzy, 7, attended Water Fest for the first time Saturday. Both children said they enjoyed swimming in the lake, while Cody was thrilled about the canoe rides.

The most popular Water Fest feature appeared to be the Giant Wave, a 20-foot-tall water slide. Although the slide attracted mostly children, some adults enjoyed it, too.

Autumn Engnehl, 24, tried it with her 4-year-old son. “I loved it,” she said.

Dennis Bass, BLORA’s maintenance supervisor, was responsible for assembling the Water Fest rides. A 40-person crew was needed to get the job done, he said.

“We actually set this all up yesterday morning.”

The event also attracted non-swimmers who kicked back and took in the lake scenery while their children played.

Water Fest continues from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. today and is open to the public. The cost is $6 per vehicle per day. A military identification card is not required when entering Fort Hood’s portion of BLORA from Sparta Road.

For more information, call (254) 287-4907.

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