EH Fireman’s Festival is ready to let the games begin

EH Fireman’s Festival is ready to let the games begin

The annual East Holmes Fireman’s Festival produces plenty of high-powered fun in the water games that serve as a way for area firefighting crews to gain bragging rights. This year’s festival in Berlin will take place Saturday, July 20.


The members of the East Holmes Fire and EMS and other area fire departments are ready to turn up the water pressure for what has become a competitive, fun-filled evening of water games at the annual East Holmes Fireman’s Festival.

The big event will take place Saturday, July 20 at Berlin Elementary starting at 4 p.m., where the water games will join plenty of live music, a gun raffle, a chicken barbecue dinner, an auction, food trucks, kids games and more in one family-oriented evening that will culminate with a gigantic fireworks display.

According to John Schlabach, East Holmes Fire District chief, everything that takes place is a thank you to the community for its ongoing support as the district continues to develop relationships with the people of the community.

“This gives us a chance to interact with the people of the community and to thank them for supporting us and to give back,” Schlabach said. “We have an amazing, dedicated crew of volunteers who are ready to drop whatever they are doing at a moment’s notice and respond to calls, and our community is a big reason as to why we are able to continue to serve. This event has always been our way of saying thank you to them.”

Loren Hershberger, who is coordinating this year’s festival, said the event is geared toward families and fellowship, noting there will be something for people of all ages to enjoy throughout the evening.

“We’re grateful for all of the support of our community, so we want to create an evening that is fun and filled with plenty of activities, food and music,” Hershberger said.

The evening begins with a chicken barbecue dinner that is by donation and consists of a quarter chicken, potato salad, cheese, fry pies, a dinner roll and chips.

“That’s an awesome menu, but for those who may not like that, we have some fantastic food trucks too,” Hershberger said.

Those trucks include some familiar local favorites such as Byler’s BBQ, R&L Smoothies, Keating’s Concession and Smokin’ Chippers.

The musical lineup will feature local gospel/country music band Rhinestone from 4-6 p.m., and following the auction from 6:30-8 p.m. will be gospel/country band Bridgestone. The Aaron Stutzman Family will bring its bluegrass music to the stage form 8-9:30 p.m., with the giant fireworks celebration following shortly thereafter. The fireworks are sponsored by Mt. Hope Auction, Kaufman Realty & Auction and Pine Pallet.

The water games will feature plenty of hotly contested action with fire hoses as area firefighting teams challenge one another for bragging rights.

“The various fire departments always look forward to facing the challenge of beating the rest of the fire departments,” Schlabach said. “There is a lot of pride on the line, so we always see the very best guys in action, but it is always a very friendly competition because we do have a great deal of respect for each other.”

The gun raffle will feature 30 firearms with raffle tickets being sold right up until the drawing at 9 p.m. Tickets are available for purchase from any EH fire and EMS member.

The auction will feature several items including four Yeti mugs, each a different color. One of those mugs will be drawn as the ultimate winner of the grand prize, a 45-quart Yeti cooler filled with a variety of meat from His Provisions.

“We wanted to come up with something unique for this year’s auction,” Hershberger said. “We believe this will add some excitement to the auction.”

As always, the barbecue chicken dinner will begin at 4 p.m. The price for the meal or chicken is donation-based, with both dine-in and carryout options available.

There will be plenty for the kids to do, and the department will have some of its new equipment on hand to showcase, along with a tent that will feature some of the departments’ calls.

It is a full day, and Hershberger said it takes the effort of the entire department to pull it together.

“We have 13 different committees and 13 leaders of each committee dedicated to making it special,” Hershberger said. “We delegate a lot, and everyone pulls their weight to make sure everything is ready to go.”

When the sun finally sinks to the west and darkness falls, the night sky will light up with fireworks, another favorite of many of those in attendance.

“It’s a time for our community to come together and have an enjoyable and relaxing night of fun and fellowship,” Schlabach said. “We are honored to be able to bring everyone together to celebrate.”

For more information and any updates, visit East Holmes Fire & EMS on Facebook.

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