Leland Gellyball: Paint Ball Without The Pain(t)
STORY BY JOE JANCSURAK
PHOTOS BY ELIZABETH PENCE PHOTOGRAPHY AND LELAND NC GELLYBALL
A low-impact version of paintball—gellyball—is gaining popularity in the Leland area. Unlike the paintball guns that fire nontoxic-paint-filled projectiles known to cause bruising or welts, and a colorful mess, gellyball blasters fire biodegradable Orbeez water beads that explode on contact, without the bruising and welts. Also, they leave only a minimal mess. All this helps make for a great party event option for ages five and older, said Leland resident Derrick Wilkerson, owner of Leland NC Gellyball, which launched in 2022.
Now it’s popular worldwide, and Wilkerson became aware of the gellyball phenomenon last year while considering entertainment options for his 9-year-old son Bryce’s birthday party. Today, Wilkerson brings the gellyball blasters, ammo, inflatable bunkers and protective masks and goggles to kids’ and adult events alike.
“We bring the party to families and groups,” Wilkerson said. “This is a great area for gellyball because of the number of kids in Leland, Belville and throughout Brunswick County. In addition to kids parties, we’re partnering with Fuzzy Peach Frozen Yogurt Bar on fundraisers to benefit organizations such as Coastal Carolina Outreach, Teen Scene, Inc. and VFW Post 12196 of Leland.
“While the kids have a great time with gellyball, the adults get even more pumped up about it,” Wilkerson said. “This makes for great team-building opportunities, corporate events or even just a fun night out with friends. We can set up virtually anywhere.”
When he’s not sharing the joy of gellyball, Wilkerson enjoys family time with his wife Bilan and their children: Kaydence, 16, Bryce, 9, Evelyn, 7, and Chesedy, 5. He works as a quality control/level II non-destructive examinations (QC/NDE) inspector at the Duke Energy Nuclear power plant in Southport; is part owner of Premier Autocare in Leland; and owns and operates DW Fresh Vends ice and water vending machines.
“But my most meaningful job,” Wilkerson said, “is the volunteer position at my church, Lifepoint in Leland, where I serve as our ushers’ team leader. Knowing I get to play a role in pointing others to Jesus Christ, that’s what’s most important.”
Wilkerson recently had an opportunity to bless a family at his church, “known for doing so much to help the community,” with a gellyball event at their family farm. “First the kids played and then the adults. Let me just say, if you want to see adults come out of their shells and act like kids again, have a gellyball event.”
Looking ahead, Wilkerson anticipates having a permanent site where the community can come to play gellyball. “In the meantime, I want readers of this article to know that we’re here and would love the opportunity to show them how we can turn a regular party into something awesome. Sure, it’s a business, but at the end of the day, it’s about putting smiles on people’s faces, young and old alike.”
To book you Gellyball experience contact Leland Gellyball at :