Grand Prairie, TX

Epic Waters Heats Up Their Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony

Stacey Doud
Epic H2Olidays BannerStacey Doud

Grand Prairie is the spot for the amazing Epic Waters Water Park. Only three years old, it offers visitors thrilling slides, a kid's area, cabanas, a grill, a lazy river, and much more! The Park held its Tree Lighting Celebration on Nov. 27 inside the park, complete with fire and aerial shows, singers, giveaways, and a visit from Mr. and Mrs. Claus.

“[The Tree Lighting] is something that we started last year. But of course, along came COVID, so we had to light the tree when the park was closed," said Melissa Repko, who wears many hats - from arranging birthdays to Manager of the Epic Events team. "We still tried to reach the community through Facebook, and our message for everybody at home was, ‘We miss you. We're still together. We're still a family. Let's still celebrate the holidays.’ So, this year, we're broadcasting the show again on Facebook at 7:00 pm but will have the entire show live here in the park. Plus, we have some special performers to celebrate our first live show,” Repko said.

“We've got prizes, and the Big Man [Santa] and Mrs. Claus are making a stop here tonight to light the tree to kick off our Epic H2Olidays, which we’ll be celebrating all month long. So, starting tomorrow all the way up until the New Year, we’ll be doing stuff, even after Christmas. There's going to be a program every single day. So, there's going to be a different show or a different craft or a different challenge or a different game daily. Tonight, we're doing a sneak preview of ‘Pie in the Face Trivia.’ If the person gets the question right, they get a free [admission] ticket. If they get it wrong, I get a pie in the face. And believe me, people know their holiday trivia,” Repko said with a laugh.
Mayor Ron Jensen and District One Councilwoman Jorja Clemson with some tall friendsStacey Doud

“Then we hit into the New Year. We are having our party. Many people don't realize that we're a family facility. Sometimes when you think of New Year's, you're picturing some crazy party. Instead of dropping a ball, we drop a duck. Our mascot, ‘Rubber Ducky Waddles’ will be here tonight as well as on New Year's Eve. We drop the duck five times so that the kids who have to leave early get to see his trip from near the roof to the ground. Our aerialists will be pouring drinks at the bar, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic ones. So again, it's like stuff is going to happen and it's going to be great,” Repko said.
Waddles makes sure everyone knew who he wasStacey Doud

“Our next big event is ‘Breakfast with Santa.’ He's making a special appearance tonight, but he’s coming back for breakfast in December. [Breakfast] is my favorite tradition. Since the first year, the kids and parents come at 9:00 am to have breakfast, and we do a craft. There are singers, there are dancers, there's entertainment, and then Santa comes and makes his appearance. Everyone gets a photo of Santa with their family, then he reads a story. This year, I've written the Christmas story about how Waddles met Santa. And the book is going to be of Epic proportions because it's going to be huge. Then all those people get to spend the rest of the day at the waterpark with full-day swimming admission,” said Repko.

It was showtime, and Repko welcomed everyone and handed the microphone to emcee Terrell Joyner, who introduced District One Councilwoman Jorja Clemson. She acted as representative for Mayor Jensen, as he was recovering from surgery.

“Welcome everyone to the Epic Waters’ Tree Lighting Ceremony event right here at Epic Waters indoor water park in Grand Prairie, Texas. I'm Jorja Clemson, your District One City Council Representative, and we even have our very own Mayor Ron Jensen to wave at us tonight. It's so wonderful to see all of you and your families out here having fun and enjoying this great tradition of Tree Lighting. Many things are in the works at Epic Central, like more restaurants, hotels, and so much more. The best is yet to come here at Epic Central, so let's go ahead and go on with this show,” said Clemson.

She handed the microphone off to Director for the Grand Prairie Parks, Arts, and Recreation Department, Duane Strawn.

“Hey everyone. I'm so happy to see everybody here,” said Strawn. “But what makes my heart warm, is to hear the kids tell me how much fun they're having. So, on the count of three, I need all the kids to yell at me if you're having fun. Can you do that? The louder you are, the more my heart grows.”

Needless to say, Strawn’s heart grew three sizes that night.

“Having a place like this under a Parks, Arts and Recreation Department is not something that every city is able to do. So, to have an indoor waterpark as part of your Parks Department is amazing. That all goes to your city council and your city manager's offices, who allow us to do these cool things. Something else they help us to do is called ‘Prairie Lights,’ which is our holiday drive-thru light show. Santa Claus is making special appearances this year at Joe Pool Lake at Lynn Creek Park for the next 35 days. Y'all come out to Prairie Lights. See the wonderful lights and get to see Santa Claus. Go through our magic forest, and have some really good hot chocolate, cotton candy, and popcorn,” said Strawn.

Epic’s General Manager Michael Hays came out to address the crowd.

“I hope everybody's having a good time. That's why we are putting on such a great show for all of you. We have a lot of fun activities for H2Olidays, including Breakfast was Santa's on the 11th the 12th, and the 17th, and 18th. We also have our New Year's Eve Family Fun extravaganza on December 31 from 1 pm to 1 am. We have a lot of activities; a lot of things for you to do. Hope you come out. Hope you enjoy it. And here we go. We're on to our next fun activity. All right, let's heat up some because we have our first fire aerialist. We're going to light up the house. We have Miss Karen who will mesmerize you with the fire performance. So, let's get the marshmallows out. Let's have some fun. All right, now we have Miss Karen coming to the stage,” said Hays.
Miss Karen performs with her fire batonsStacey Doud

“Hi everybody, how are you? I'm going to be performing with fire. So, this is very, very important. Kids don't try this at home. I have professional training on this. This is real fire. So, if you see one of the flames fall near you, move away,” said Miss Karen.

She proceeded to wow the crowd with fire batons, fire eating, fire hoops, and then she took to the air on two long pieces of fire-retardant material and performed several maneuvers near the roof.

The Snow Days Singers Quartet gave performances of several Christmas songs, a giant wheel was brought out for kids to spin for prizes, and Repko got quite a few pies in her face with the Trivia Game. Two performers were up on stilts all night to entertain and have their photos taken with children, families, and city officials.
The Snow Days SingersStacey Doud

Santa and Mrs. Claus came to officially light the Christmas tree and take photos with children and their families as patrons enjoyed the water park, the food, and the music.

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