Looking for something to do this Saturday and help raise money for an area volunteer fire department?

WHEATON — Looking for something to do this Saturday and help raise money for an area volunteer fire department?

The Wheaton Volunteer Fire Department will host its 55th annual barbecue at the Wheaton City Park, with countless things to do, including a barbecue dinner, free children's rides, a duck race, music, horseshoe pitching, and arts and crafts booths. The event is open to the public.

"Serving starts at 11:30 a.m., but there are so many events going on before that," said Lindy Lombard, a volunteer firefighter with the fire department. "The Wheaton Street Machines is putting on a show and shine car event, it starts at 9 a.m. and runs most of the morning."

The menu consists of half a barbecue chicken with baked potato, baked beans, bread, milk or coffee for $6 for adults $5 for kids or a homemade pulled pork sandwich and baked beans for $5. Other food items also for sale include ice cream at the firefighter's ice cream booth and homemade pies by the Wheaton United Methodist Women.

"At 1 p.m., the free children's rides begin, for smaller children, kiddy rides and that is free," Lombard noted. "And I stress free, because we have had 42 businesses sponsor this and that is a record. That is from 1-9 p.m."
Throughout the day, there will also be some arts and crafts booths.

"I keep saying record, because it keeps growing," Lombard said. "We have a record number of crafters, right now we are up to 20 crafters. We have added another tent, we have plenty of shade. We do not charge anything for craft booths. A lot of our crafters at the end of the day make a little donation to the fire department. "

Another event is the annual duck race, which will be at 8 p.m.

"This is our 20th annual duck race," he said. "That is the little ducks in the pond. The fire department gives away $1,000 ($500 for first down to $50).

Proceeds from the event help the volunteer fire department.

"All of the money goes to the fire department to be used for our expenses throughout the year," he said. "And this is our only money maker for the year. So, we kind of rely on this one Saturday a year to fund us throughout the year. It costs so much anymore for our expenses."

Items they use the money for range for fuel for the fire trucks to fire equipment to insurance.

"We have been lucky enough to get a few federal grants to help us with some things in the past, but it just costs so much now," said Lombard. "We respond as first responders to medical calls and plus the fire rescue. Anytime anything happens in our little area, at least one truck or two or three go out and the fuel cost every month and just buying supplies to get us by and the wear and tear on our vehicles — that is something that comes out of our account. We really, really rely on this one day."