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BERLIN -- A family fun event held every year that enables the East Holmes Fire personnel to get out and meet the community it serves -- that's the idea behind the annual East Holmes Firemen's Festival, to be held Saturday, July 15, beginning at 4 p.m. on the grounds of Berlin Elementary School.
Bennie Miller is the chair of this year's festival, but admits that it wouldn't happen without the time and efforts of everybody on staff, along with spouses and significant others.
"We are very fortunate to live in a community like we do where we receive so much support," Miller said. "This year we've had some other people step up and volunteer to help with serving."
The annual event will have an array of good food, games, fun activities for children and adults, a gun raffle, an auction and musical entertainment. The evening caps off with a fireworks display.
Five musical groups are scheduled to provide entertainment, including The Aaron Stutzman Band out of Indiana; The Miller Brothers (also from Indiana); and Small Town Band, a young Amish group.
"We're still waiting on one more act," Miller said. "We're hoping they can come. They are all really good.
"It's sure to be a fun time for the whole family," he continued. "There will be something to do for everyone. The food includes our annual Byler's chicken barbecue and the home made ice cream. We start serving at 4 p.m."
The festival annually goes through 2,200 halves of chicken.
There will also be fun and games for the kids, featuring bounce houses.
"This event is held every year to honor the many volunteers who protect life and property in Holmes County," Miller said. "We put a lot of time in, try our best to do what we can."
Some of the 45 volunteer firefighters and EMS staff will also compete in the ever-popular water games against members of other area fire departments who come to town to show their support.
"This is our annual community event that serves as a fundraiser for equipment, but it also enables us to interact with the community and let people know what we're all about," Miller said. "We're very fortunate that the businesses in our coverage area do a wonderful job of supporting us at our events."
Raffle tickets can be purchased from members of the fire department or at the event, and the drawing will be held just prior to the fireworks.
Funds raised at the event go towards equipment, training, supplies and the general fund for things needed around the station.
"This event continues to grow every year," Miller said. "We appreciate the support. All we can hope for now is some nice weather."
Reporter Kevin Lynch can be reached at 330-674-5676 or firstname.lastname@example.org.