by Megan Schiffres
CALLAO—The Callao Volunteer Fire Department (CVFD) hosted it’s Summerfest Celebration last Saturday. A harbinger of area Fourth of July celebrations, the event raised funds for the department.
“We need all the funds we can get. What it costs to outfit a firefighter today, I mean just the coat and pants alone is over $2,400. We have 58 members,” said assistant chief John Newsome. “By NFPA rules we’re supposed to keep everything within 10 years for our firefighters and as a volunteer department, we just can’t do it. So we try to keep our guys who are going inside, fighting fire the most, in the newest gear.”
The Summerfest Celebration was held at the Callao Ruritan Lot, 185 Ruritan Lane, Callao, and featured food and drink for sale, jewelry and hand-crafted art vendors, an auto show sponsored by Callao Car Center and a snow cone and bake sale by the Gibeon Baptist Church for Operation Christmas Child, an evangelical charity that delivers gift-filled shoeboxes to children around the world.
The all-day celebration also included music performances by The Northern Neck Big Band, Slice of Bred, DJ Steve Davis and The Janitors.
Newsome, who owns Callao Car Center, judged the auto show based not on the vehicle’s retail value, but the thought and effort put into the presentation.
“I’m judging them all on the amount of work that went into them,” Newsome said. “I have a big heart for these older trucks, to make them look as nice as they are.”
Nick Goodwyn, whose 2014 Dodge Ram placed second in the auto show’s truck category, says he enjoys having his car inspected by fellow car enthusiasts.
“It’s very fulfilling for somebody to notice the time and effort you put inside of a vehicle to make sure it looks good,” said Goodwyn.
Kids were kept busy throughout the day with classic summer activities including a dunk tank, bouncy castle, blow-up slide and face painting. The celebration also featured a pie-eating contest, watermelon-spitting contest and a crab race, which were open to all ages.
“I remember doing more family-oriented activities here in Callao when I was younger and I love that they’re doing it today,” said Dawn Hale, who came to the celebration to support her husband and volunteer firefighter, Ronnie Hale.
The department is already planning next year’s Summerfest Celebration, which they hope will be even bigger than this year’s event, reported CVFD vice president Pam King.