Organizers are bringing back the most popular draws from last year's Fire Fest in the hopes of making this year's event the biggest and most informative one yet.
Fire Fest 2002 attracted nearly 5,000 people to the day of carnival fun and fire safety activities and raised more than $20,000 for local charities, said Craig Tucker, an event organizer.
The family event, scheduled for Oct. 11, is during National Fire Safety Month and is organized by the Rotary Club of Columbia County West. The day's goal is to teach children and adults about the dangers of fire and how to protect themselves.
With the recent death of 9-year-old Forrest Hutto, in a Martinez house fire in August, Martinez Fire Department Chief Doug Cooper is hoping this year's prevention information will have a big impact on participants to help avoid future tragedies.
In one of several fire safety houses planned for the Fire Fest site, children will be able to experience smoke-filled rooms to know what to expect and learn how to get out, Tucker said. Several local fire departments, emergency service agencies and forestry groups will have displays and activities available.
Billy Love, 3, aimed a fire hose with a little help from an Appling
volunteer firefighter at last years Fire Fest.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Helicopters from Gold Cross Emergency Service, the Georgia State Patrol and the Georgia Forestry Commission will be on site, with some offering vehicle rides.Hot air balloon trips and pony rides also will be offered.
Smokey Bear and other cartoon characters, clowns, a magician and animals at a petting zoo also will entertain children.
"The kids love it," Tucker said of the large number of children-oriented activities.
People hoping to grow into professional firefighters can shoot a fire truck hose and watch the popular Firefighter Muster competition, in which firefighters from all parts of the state compete against each other.
The event is free and will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Doctors Hospital field behind the Kroger grocery store in Evans, 4355 Washington Road.
Proceeds from the annual event benefit participating fire departments and the Rotary Club's charities, which include the Joseph M. Still Burn Center at Doctors Hospital, the Southeastern Firefighters' Burn Foundation, Faith Hospitality Network, Golden Harvest Food Bank, a scholarship for international students at Augusta State University and a scholarship for prospective firefighters at ASU.
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