East Dundee meat raffle, picnic returns to Max Freeman Park Aug. 25

The East Dundee Fire Department is inching toward reviving its summer carnival.

Firefighters will take a step to their goal on Saturday, Aug. 25, when they hold their annual meat raffle at 1 p.m. in Max Freeman Park. More than a decade has passed since they have held their fundraising carnival.

"We decided to go back to the park, instead of having it at a bar, because it's a nice piece of property that we can build an event on," said Joe Saenz, president of the firefighters' association. "We'll be testing the waters this year."

Along with the bacon, burgers and other uncooked meat that will be raffled away, the firefighters will host games for children and games of bingo. They will team up with Neu Family Dental, an East Dundee business, and host a community picnic, said Paula Roland, association secretary.

People who attend will buy raffle tickets for the 30 spins of the wheel. The lucky ones will walk away with enough meat to barbecue for weeks.

Families who don't play will be entertained with live music, a bouncy house, and other games.

The party will have the same flavor of the festival, but it will not have amusement rides as previous carnivals have had.

Firefighters stopped holding their carnival because amusement companies were reluctant to provide rides for such a small gathering. After it stopped, the association, which hosts the carnival and the meat raffle, staged the sale in local bars.

They traditionally held two sales during the year: in summer and fall, near Thanksgiving.

"This will be our only sale this year," Saenz said. "We may come back with a turkey raffle, but for now, we want to concentrate on the summer sale."

Like the carnival, the meat sale is a way to raise money for equipment the fire department cannot afford. Firefighters hope to raise enough money to buy another automatic CPR device paramedics use when responding to traffic accidents and sick calls.

One of the devices costs $15,000, Roland said.

"Having the sale in the park will make it family-friendly," Saenz said. "This is something we can build on."

For more information about the sale, call the fire department (847) 426-7521.

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