Friday, July 4, 2008 | 7:35 p.m.
While the Sunrise Recreation Center lacks the twisting slides, gushing fountains and play areas of the county's flashier water parks, the atmosphere this Fourth of July was still one of lighthearted fun -- and all set to the tune of cannonball splashes, giggling children and the lifeguards' constant reminders to "walk, don't run."
In celebration of Independence Day, Clark County offered free entry to its admission-based community pools and skate parks, located all around the Las Vegas Valley.
County organizers said they hoped the event would introduce a new audience to the various community centers.
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Jackson Williams, a Las Vegas native, and his daughter took advantage of the free entry at Sunrise Recreation Center, 2240 Linn Lane. He lounged in the shade -- still dripping wet from a dip in the pool -- and watched his 10-year-old daughter continue to splash around with several other children.
"It's not real busy," he added, surprised that there weren't more residents taking advantage of the free admission Friday afternoon.
Nami Kremer, lying in the shade on a Betty Boop towel as her two daughters swam in the pool, also expected a larger turnout.
"I thought it would be more crowded," she said. "Many people have today off."
However, 17-year-old Jessica Deweese, who said she visits the pool about twice a week during the summer months, said Sunrise was much busier than normal. Deweese, whose pale cheeks already were starting to peel, said the appeal of the pool was simple.
"It's hot out," she said.
The free day of swimming, which concluded at 4 p.m., was just one task on the attendees' holiday to-do list. Williams, Kremer and Deweese all had similar post-swim plans: the Fourth of July traditions of barbecues and fireworks.
"Maybe a marshmallow roast," Williams added with a laugh, proving that sometimes simple celebrations are the best way to go.