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The 42nd annual water fights kick off Corn Fest

Now that they have seen the water fights, Corn Festival has officially begun for Linda and Art Barker of Morris.

“It kicks off the Corn Fest,” Linda Baker said. “You gotta do this and you gotta have a corn dog, and then it’s officially started.”

The Barkers joined hundreds gathered on Washington Street in Morris to watch area fire departments face off in the annual water fights.

The Morris Fire Protection and Ambulance District water fights put area fire departments against each other in a hose fight. The firemen shoot water from their hoses at a small barrel in the air and try to force it down a wire to the other department’s side.

This year was the 42nd year for the event, which had 12 teams participate, said Morris firefighter Jake Niewinski, who ran the water fights for the third year in a row.

“Oh I love this,” he said. “Growing up coming to watch them and then being in charge of them is a lot of fun. I’ve never fought, but I enjoy running them. It’s a blast.”

Sandwich Community Fire Protection District firefighters were the winners last year and retained their title again this year. Minooka Fire Protection District took second and Lisbon-Seward Fire Protection District third.

Morris fire and South Wilmington Fire Department started out the competition, with South Wilmington winning two of the three rounds and moving on to the next. As the two departments faced off most the kids and adults shouted “Morris, Morris, Morris!”

This was 11-year-old Kaysie Mire’s first time at the water fights and she rooted for her hometown department – Morris.

“They’re amazing,” she said. “I’m just a little bit wet, but I like it.”

As firefighters finished their rounds some would head to the curb soaking wet to talk with family until their next turn.

“You made that look easy,” said John Varland of Braidwood who watched his son-in-law, Minooka firefighter Mike Thompson, compete.

It may look easy, but it is not.

This was Katie Wisniewski’s second year participating. She is a firefighter and EMT for Lisbon-Seward, but fights in the water fights for Mazon Fire Protection District.

“A lot of stuff plays into it, the water, the sun and most of the time you can’t see it until you run up to it because it is moving all the time,” she said.

But Wisniewski said she loves it for the atmosphere.

“And being with all the firefighters doing what we like to do best,” she said.

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