WHITMAN — There’s a new twist to the Family Field Day games at Whitman Park this July 4 — at least there’s one in the works — in the form of a greased watermelon relay.
The object would be for teams to pass said melon, slathered in vegetable shortening, from person to person without dropping it. Recreation Director Oliver Amado said the event is probable, but things could change.
What is definite is that there will be a few changes this year to bring out the crowds, including a water slide and police and fire vehicles for the kids to explore.
“We really want to see this take off,” Amado said of the Recreation Commission’s program. “I expect more people than last year.”
The day’s events begin at 8:15 a.m., with the annual 5K Fun Run — registration is from 7:30 to 8 a.m. A bike and carriage decorating contest takes place at 9:30 a.m., with field day games literally running (jumping and tossing) from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The town pool is open, free of charge, for Whitman residents from 1 to 5 p.m.
State Rep. Geoff Diehl, R-Whitman, plans to supply watermelon slices for refreshment and the Boy Scouts will be selling hot dogs, hamburgers, drinks and snacks to benefit Scout programs.
The 5K race will go on, rain or shine, unless there is lightning in the area, Amado said. Other events will depend on the amount of rain in the forecast, with updates available on the Recreation Department’s Facebook page.
The 2015 event was not thoroughly publicized due to the departure of the director shortly before the Fourth of July, Amado said. This year, fliers were sent out to schools and the event and summer park and recreation programs have been publicized more, including via mass e-mail.
The public will also be asked for suggestions at the Field Day about what they’d like to see added in coming years. For example, a basketball-related event is already being explored, and one person had suggested a greased pole-climbing contest for a donated $100 prize at the top — an idea rejected as unworkable.
“There was something about grease this year,” Amado recalled.
Another idea, rejected because of the potential for injury, was from a person in Braintree suggesting the Fire Department spray nontoxic foam on the field for kids to run through.
The potential for collisions in poor visibility rendered it a non-starter, Amado said.
Town officials remind residents that personal fireworks are also a poor choice for holiday entertainment.
Selectman Brian Bezanson, during the June 21 Board of Selectmen’s meeting, urged residents to be considerate of neighbors if they insist on flouting the state law prohibiting personal fireworks.
“It’s great that everybody has enthusiasm to celebrate the great country we have,” he said. “You have to remember your neighbors.”
Veterans and people’s pets can both be affected by the noise.
“[For veterans] it can bring back some nasty memories,” Bezanson said. “So think twice before you just, willy-nilly, shoot off these fireworks because it can be devastating to your neighbors.”