Shute Park was the site of Oregon's largest water balloon fight on record. H2OK attendees threw over 20,000 biodegradeable water balloons in a large fight on Saturday afternoon.

Festive partygoers ducked and dodged over the weekend, as they tried to evade a barrage of water balloons in what was dubbed "Oregon's largest water balloon fight," held at Shute Park on Aug. 4.

Saturday's event, the H20K water balloon fight, drew hundreds to Shute Park for a day friendly competition. Two teams, one in red, the other in blue, spent the afternoon hurling water balloons at one another in a friendly game.

Sponsored by bourbon maker Jim Beam, organizers filled more than 30,000 water balloons for the event.

"I love water fights," said Pamela Thompson, of Hillsboro, who learned of the event through the Jim Beam Facebook page. "I'm always the first one in line to have one. I saw Jim Beam was putting on this event. I love Jim Beam, I love water, and the weather's nice. Let's go."

In between hurling water balloons at one another, the party-like atmosphere included a DJ, a water slide, lawn games and plenty of food and drinks.

"How many times do you see water fight organized for adults, instead of kids?" asked Hillsboro resident Stacey Dietz. "It's something you don't see very often."

Organizer AJ Ramadan was inspired to create the event six years ago, after throwing a water balloon fight with friends.

Ramadan, who owns a video production company in Portland, was working on commercial pitches for a client, when he came up with the idea for an advertisement featuring a water balloon fight.

When the company he pitched it to closed before the commercial could be shot, Ramadan said he knew the idea was too good to shelve.

"We can throw a big water balloon fight on our own," Ramadan said.

With 2,000 water balloons, Ramadan and friends spent the day filling and tying each one, then held a water balloon fight for about 20 people, but the idea stayed with him.

"It was a really good time," he said. "But I always knew I wanted to do it better."

Ramadan said plans are already in the works for next year's event.

"Days like this reminds you of when you're a kid," Thompson said. "It's a chance to just have fun."

Organizers said the event was aimed at raising awareness about the importance of clean water. Proceeds from the event will go to conservation group The Freshwater Trust and to the Island Spirit Fund, which supports disaster relief efforts in the U.S. Virgin Islands after Hurricane Maria devastated the islands last year.

By Geoff Pursinger
Editor, Hillsboro Tribune
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