The smell of sunscreen and barbecue wafted in the air as nearly a thousand residents beat the heat by sliding their way into summer on Monday. The third annual “Splash Bash” saw the American Bank Center team up again with Dickinson Parks and Recreation’s West River Community Center to bring residents a summer-break bash featuring water games, a live DJ, free food and free admission to the outdoor pool.

“It’s a great community event and that’s where we like to partner, in opportunities to foster community relations with everyone in Dickinson and the surrounding communities. We have co-partnered with West River Community Center in the past, in fact, this is our third annual splash bash,” Rachel Ward, marketing and communications specialist with American Bank Center, said. “The pool has been a great partner with us, so we really wanted everyone to have fun and come out and enjoy the great weather, food, music and swimming.”

From hot dogs and cool pops to dance-offs and water slides, children delighted in the rare warm weather under the watchful eyes of a host of American Red Cross trained lifeguards.

“American approached us about three years ago when we opened the facility for the outdoor pool and wanted to get the community involved by offering an annual event where the community can come together and enjoy the facilities,” Caleb Burgard, facility supervisor with Dickinson Parks and Recreation, said. “They supplied all the food and covered any costs associated with community members who didn’t have a membership with the community center.”

The turn-out for the event continues to surpass each year’s previous record, according to Burgard.

“We’ve averaged right around 1,000 people each year, but today we’re already at 300 people in less than an hour, so I expect that we’ll surpass our previous two years stats yet again. Without this event we only average about 100 to 200 people on days like this, so this is a great partnership for our community and for the city of Dickinson,” Burgard said. “I think people are certainly appreciative of events like these and you can’t beat having a free hot dog and a splash in the pool when the weather is this nice.”

Jackson Prellwitz, 4, played catch with an inflatable beach ball as he darted in and out of the pool — an opportunity he has been counting down the days to experience.

Others, like Ben Melvin, a 10-year-old who attends Lincoln Elementary School, took full advantage of the live music and DJ as he gathered the crowd with his dance moves — much to the delight of his mother, Rachel.

American Bank Center plans more opportunities like the Dickinson Splash Bash in other cities.

“We are based in different communities and we are doing a community Splash Bash in all our local communities that have a pool,” Ward said. “We are really striving this summer to give back to the communities because that’s what we do at American Bank Center — provide opportunities for families. We’re just a family-oriented and community-oriented entity and when we can give back, it’s what we do.”

For more information about upcoming events hosted by the Dickinson Parks and Recreations, visit dickinsonparks.org. For more information about upcoming events sponsored by American Bank Center, email rward@weareamerican.com