FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Although temperatures soared in the triple digits Saturday, Christmas came early to Fort Bragg " five months early.

The scene was almost surreal. It was a supremely hot and muggy North Carolina afternoon by the pool … but Christmas carols were churning out of the PA system and staff were running around in Santa hats.

The Normandy Pool was busy Saturday afternoon as Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation sponsored the Christmas in July event. Fort Bragg Families sought to cool off and enjoy the “dive-in” movie, “Polar Express.”

The dive-in themed afternoon was the brain child of Jessica Rockhill, director, Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Aquatic Branch.

“It’s mid year and I had heard of Christmas in July themed activities. I decided to put an aquatic spin to our event because of the heat,” said Rockhill. “We’re even serving iced (hot) chocolate to cool down.”

About 50 Families participated in the event and Rockhill said they are always looking for ways to put a different spin on their activities to entertain Families.

“We just got into town and checked out the MWR calendar and found this event,” said Sgt. Zach Irwin who was there with his wife Stephanie and their daughter Emily.

“We try to get out and about and spend time together so we take advantage of MWR events, I just wish more people would,” he said.

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Joyce Tenner agreed.
“I’m here out of Fort Jackson (S.C.) and I went on MWR’s Facebook page and got the information. I think this is great,” she said as she kept a vigilant eye on her two young sons who were swimming with her.

As they strive to serve servicemembers and their Families, FMWR is always looking for ways to provide Fort Bragg Families with fun, affordable entertainment. The aquatics branch staff recently hosted a boat regatta featuring cardboard boats that were raced at the Pope pool.
After the event. a trophy was presented to the first place winners and prizes handed out.

Another event hosted by the aquatics branch is raft night at the pool. Normally rafts are not allowed in the pool, but once a month, usually on a Friday, rafts are welcomed said Rockhill. Also planned is a big, end-of-summer pool party on Aug. 19, from 5 to 9 p.m.

But chilling by the pool is not only for the hot summer months, the aquatics branch has events planned through Christmas at the Tolson Youth Center indoor pool. There is a planned Halloween pool party, a Turkey Splash mini-swim meet and a Gobble Wobble Turkey Egg Hunt.
The aquatics branch also offers swimming lessons and water aerobics, as well as youth and adult swim teams.

To learn more about FMWR Aquatic Branch events and activities call 643-8533 or check out their Facebook page at Fort Bragg Recreation.