BUCKLAND â€” Now that the Buckland Volunteer Fire Department is separate from the village, raising money to support its services is more important than ever.
Itâ€™s largest fundraiser of the year â€” the 39th annual Buckland Firemanâ€™s Festival â€” was deemed a success by the volunteer firefighters and their family members who organize it each year.
â€śWe had a good weekend,â€ť festival Chair Capt. Mike Vorhees told the Wapakoneta Daily News on Sunday after the two-day festival in downtown Buckland concluded.
â€śThe weather held out both nights,â€ť Vorhees said. â€śWe had an excellent crowd Friday for the T-102 County Star Playoffs and another good crowd Saturday night.â€ť
He said the festival was so busy that several food items sold out.
Vorhees said with several new events featured at this yearâ€™s festival, their success indicates that many will return, but the festival will be re-evaluated by a committee and plans for the 40th Buckland Firemanâ€™s Festival made from there.
Money raised during the festival goes toward the fire departmentâ€™s general fund to assist with paying for equipment.
â€śWe appreciate everybodyâ€™s support and thank them all for coming out,â€ť Vorhees said. â€śWe couldnâ€™t do it without the communityâ€™s support.â€ť
Rachel Winkler, vice present of the Buckland Fire Departmentâ€™s Ladies Auxiliary, said their newly formed organization wanted to do what they could to assist in adding to the success of the event and to take away from some of the work required of volunteer firefighters, who already give their time in so many ways for the community.
The busy Kids Tent was one such idea suggested by the significant others of the departmentâ€™s firefighters. They built and set up several games for the tent, gave away miniature firefighter hats and did face painting. For each 50-cent game children played they won a prize.
â€śWe thought it was important to come together and do this,â€ť Winkler said. â€śItâ€™s a way we can help raise funds for the fire department.
â€śItâ€™s a great way we can give back, too, and itâ€™s a great place for families to come out and have a good time,â€ť she said. â€śThereâ€™s a lot for everyone of different ages to do.â€ť
For Wapakoneta residents Pat and Gary Grieves, the family visits the festival often to enjoy good food and visit with family that serves on the fire department.
Their great granddaughter, Riley Vorhees, also was having fun playing games, winning prizes, and jumping in the fire-fighter themed bouncers.
â€śWe always come out to support them,â€ť Pat Grieves said.
For the volunteer firefighters putting the event on, their hard work at the festival translates into money to spend on equipment and training to improve how they are able to assist the community.
â€śWeâ€™re all volunteer,â€ť Allen Scott said. â€śWe do it just to help others in their time of need. Usually if they need us, something is really wrong.â€ť