Many annual community events had to be canceled last summer due to the COVID-19 outbreak. One of them was Dewey Fire Company’s highly-anticipated five-day carnival, which is normally held in mid-July at Dimmick Park in Hellertown.
The event features rides, concessions, games, food vendors and the opportunity for the community to come together in a relaxed social setting, so it wasn’t surprising that many residents were disappointed when the 2020 carnival didn’t happen. The good news is that Dewey officers say they are hopeful they will be able to hold it again this summer.
Complicating matters for event planners right now is that the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. is continuing, with no clear end in sight in spite of a mass vaccination effort.
Like many volunteer organizations, the fire company remains hopeful that conditions will improve to allow for large public events to be held, with precautions in place if necessary.
Speaking last year, fire company president Gail Nolf promised that post-pandemic, the carnival “will come back bigger, stronger and more exciting.”
She recently told Saucon Source that determination is guiding the team that is involved in making preparations for the event while working toward making other improvements at Dewey, with support from the community as a whole.
More manpower is needed, Nolf stressed, not only for the carnival to be a success, but also for the future success of the fire company.
“We’re always looking for sincere, community-minded individuals to become part of this valued team,” she said.
Revenue, too, is an issue that can’t be overlooked.
“The carnival is Dewey’s biggest fundraiser and…remains a vital component to our sustainability,” Nolf noted.
Without the ability to hold the 2020 carnival, whether the annual fireworks that are part of it would be held last year quickly became a question. However, community members and business owners stepped up to donate thousands of dollars; money that was used to fund a show staged by Celebration Fireworks at the Steel Club golf course in August.
Nolf noted that a final decision about where this year’s fireworks show will be held is pending, and that its location will be contingent on borough council’s approval.
Some of the money raised in 2020 was kept in reserve for this year’s show, and Nolf noted that the borough also recently made a funding commitment to the fireworks.
“There was palpable community pride in these fireworks because everything else was being shut down or already closed,” Nolf said of last year’s show. “To this day, people share it was the best fireworks they had ever seen.”
With continued community support, a future bright spot for Dewey’s bottom line will be revenue from food and beverage sales as well as event bookings, once its banquet hall and bar reopen this spring. Both have been shuttered for the better part of a year, and have been undergoing extensive renovations during the closure.
“We recently received a perfect score from the Department of Health with regards to the Dewey kitchen,” Nolf commented. “We have a new chef (Joe Stout, owner of ChefMeals LLC) working out of the kitchen. The Dewey banquet hall is almost completely renovated, a lot of it through board commitment and (the) fire side volunteering personal time towards completing the work.”
Until you can book a wedding or other party at Dewey, or enjoy food and drink at its new bar, there are other ways to support the fire company, as a volunteer and/or a donor.
“We have a few thoughtful community citizens who donate financially on a monthly or annual basis and we love and greatly appreciate their commitment,” Nolf added. “All are invited, when able and so inclined, to share with us their time and/or financial support.”
More information about how to become involved and support Dewey Fire Company No. 1 may be found on their website, where visitors can also purchase an EMS subscription, which helps support the company. Use the website’s contact form to make a direct connection if you are interested in donating your time or providing financial support.
To stay up to date with further updates and news from Dewey Fire Company, which has served the borough as an all-volunteer company since 1898, like and follow the company’s Facebook page.