Old favorites return to Buckland

Some old favorites and some new ideas are being featured in plans for the 39th annual Buckland Firemans Festival.
Scheduled for Friday and Saturday, the downtown Buckland event this year will include the addition of a kids tent, novelty wheel and mechanical bull riding. Popular activities returning are to include a car show, T-102 Country Star Playoffs and a cornhole tournament, Buckland Volunteer Fire Department Chief Todd Vorhees said.
Festival Chair Capt. Mike Vorhees said the event features entertainment both nights, first on Friday with the Country Star Playoffs, which are always a big hit, and then Saturday with local band Staples returning after several years to the festival stage.
“We are hoping that will boost our Saturday attendance,” Vorhees said.
New activities — a kids tent and mechanical bull
riding — are to be featured both nights of the festival.
As the cake wheel for which community residents have donated bake goods has been a hit in the past on Saturday night, this year on Friday night there also is to be a novelty wheel, operating the same way except with winners walking away with homemade crafts and other items.
“We’ll have different games, pony rides, airbrush tattoos and an inflatable bouncer for the kids,” Vorhees said.
He noted the newly formed Ladies Auxiliary for the department came up with many of the new ideas.
“We felt we needed to put a boost into things,” the organizer said.
Vorhees said one activity that won’t be on the festival’s activity list for 2011 is the poker run, which he said never raised much money.
Other favorite activities of attendees year after year, including bingo and belt sander races are to return, as well as the variety of foods.
“It’s small town fun,” Vorhees said. “We hope people will come out and enjoy themselves.”
He said for many the festival serves as a time to get together for the community, a time to reminisce and give back.
“All the money raised goes back into the community,” Vorhees said of the festival, which serves as the fire department’s biggest fundraiser of the year.
While there are no specific plans for how the fire department plans to use proceeds from the festival this year, it would continue to go toward paying for equipment and training used to serve the area, Vorhees said.
Operating as its own entity now, separate from the village, funding is as important as ever, he said.
“We take a lot of pride in what we do,” the captain said. “Everyone volunteers their time to give back to the community through this department.”
The Buckland Volunteer Fire Department, which covers 52-square miles, has approximately 27 firefighters and four junior firefighters. They respond to between 45 and 60 fire runs and 25 to 30 first responder runs each year. It has served the area since 1901.