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updated: 7/22/2012 8:02 PM

Fox Lake festival raises money for firefighters, community groups

Event in Fox Lake aids fire department

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  • Lake Villa Fire Chief Frank Slazes, right, judges the battle between Team Chain Crawl and Team Merlins during the water fights at the Fox Lake Fireman's Festival Sunday near the Fox Lake bingo hall.

       Lake Villa Fire Chief Frank Slazes, right, judges the battle between Team Chain Crawl and Team Merlins during the water fights at the Fox Lake Fireman's Festival Sunday near the Fox Lake bingo hall.
    Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

  • Bryan Bosack, left, and the rest of the Squad 2 team jump out of the way as the barrel goes shooting underneath them during the water fights Sunday at the 54th annual Fox Lake Fireman's Festival.

       Bryan Bosack, left, and the rest of the Squad 2 team jump out of the way as the barrel goes shooting underneath them during the water fights Sunday at the 54th annual Fox Lake Fireman's Festival.
    Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

  • Fox Lake firefighter Bob Smith wears a squid hat during the water fights Sunday at the 54th annual Fox Lake Fireman's Festival.

       Fox Lake firefighter Bob Smith wears a squid hat during the water fights Sunday at the 54th annual Fox Lake Fireman's Festival.
    Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

 

Even though there weren't any storms Sunday afternoon, some streets in Fox Lake were wet, courtesy of the Fox Lake Volunteer Fireman's Festival.

Beginning Saturday, teams manned their hoses, training them on a barrel in the middle of court set up by the Fox Lake Volunteer Fire Department by the bingo hall at 114 Washington St. The aim was to use the stream of water to push the barrel across the opponent's goal line.

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Besides the competition, the 54th annual festival also featured live music, carnival games and food.

Proceeds are used to pay for firefighters' education and training equipment. Tom Muehlfelder, president of the fire department, said the event originally helped the department pay for their fire trucks.

"They raised money to buy equipment and firetrucks and ambulances. There were no tax dollars back in the day," he said.

The event still raises money for the fire department, and some of the proceeds from this year's festival will be used for a memorial for Fox Lake firefighters in front of Station 2. The money also benefits Little League teams, Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.

"We're here for the community," said Muehlfelder, who compared the competition to a tug-of-war.

Originally, the festival was held in Nippersink, by the downtown train station. Later it moved to Washington Street, behind Fire Station 2, and, finally, by the bingo hall, because of the increased demands on the fire service.

"We didn't want to interfere with fire calls," Muehlfelder said.

"It's still tight these years, because of the economy," he said, adding that he hopes the event will raise $10,000 or $11,000.

Saturday night, the firemen competed with each other. The Wilmot (Wis.) firefighters finished first, and Lake Villa firefighters placed second. Sunday's competition involved local businesses. In the men's division, the team from Kiesgen Plumbing in Fox Lake took first place, Double D Pools took second, and Fairmont Shores was third.

In the women's category, the team from Fairmont Shores placed first, Rapp Supply was second, and American Family Insurance was third.

Each team used two hoses and participated in three heats, with the winner taking the best out of three. The court is 42 feet on each side.

"It's always fun. It's a good time to get together with the other departments, and it's good competition," Fox Lake firefighter Rob Rand said.

He said contestants are guaranteed to get soaked.

"It's clean water here. We're all right," he said. "Everybody's pretty much even in the competition, but some guys do it more often, and it's just working together as a team. It's a really a coin flip to see who wins these things."

Among the contestants Sunday was Jill Hunt-Wessler, who competed with a team from the American Legion in Wood Dale. She called the event "very creative."

"I wish more towns would do something like this," she said. Wet: Competition like a tug-of-war

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