12Hope Mills Lake It only figured that since the town of Hope Mills has been fighting so long to get its beloved lake back, the celebration to welcome its return couldn’t be limited to a single day.

Ralph Molina, chairman of the Lake Celebration Committee, said the upcoming lake celebration is important for many reasons. “I think it’s important that we celebrate this and include everyone in the community,’’ he said. “This cost a lot of money, twice. It’s been a long process. Now that it’s completed, everyone should come together.

“They get to see what progress was made, and they’re looking to the future to put the Hope Mills area at a higher level.’’

The final plans aren’t completely in place, and the lake committee is tentatively scheduled to meet through the latter part of May, but enough of the plans for the event have been announced to give folks an idea of what to expect.

The dates have been tentatively set to run June 30 through July 4.

It will open with a street dance and gala June 30 and a Heroes on the Water kayaks and canoe event July 1.

That same day, church on the lake will be observed, followed by jazz on the lake on July 2. July 3 will feature beach music and kayak races.

The July 4th events are still in the works but could include the annual parade, vendors, bands, fireworks and a Miss July 4th contest. There will also be patriotic decorating of the piers by lakefront homeowners, as well as pontoon rides.

One event Molina is excited about is a plan to have people construct cardboard box boats and hold a regatta with them. “The lake becomes front and center in the cardboard regatta,’’ he said. “I’m sure a lot of families and businesses are going to have fun sponsoring boats.’’

Another event that is still in the planning stage is the gala. “The intent is to have a formal event where the city’s members can come, participate and raise funds,’’ Molina said. He’s also excited about the involvement of Heroes on the Water in the celebration, an organization founded in 2007 that provides active-duty and retired members of the military and their families no-expense kayak fishing trips. “It’s important we do activities for those guys as well,’’ Molina said.

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