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David City Volunteer Fire Department hosts annual open house despite snow

October 18, 2018

The scene was a firefighter-themed playground.

Kids climbed aboard firetrucks, wore plastic firefighter hats and played firefighting-themed games and activities on Sunday. They were part of the hundreds who braved the snow and cold to attend the David City Volunteer Fire Department’s annual open house.

Fire Chief Matt Hilger said officials planned on 400 people attending. Last year, the event was held at the fire station, but this time was moved to the Butler County Event Center at the Butler County Fairgrounds. This was due to the downtown construction. Hilger said the move, along with the inclement weather that day, possibly deterred some from coming.

“That’s all right, even if we’re (only) able to talk to a couple dozen kids and keep them from making poor choices from fire and things like that,” Hilger said. “It’s still worth it.”

Kristin Scheele, of David City, came to the open house with her spouse and two kids. She said the kids’ school, St. Mary’s Catholic, encouraged all children to attend the open house.

“We really love doing this stuff, our kids love playing in the fire trucks,” she said about the event. “The fire department does a really good job of making this fun and exciting for kids. We always learn something when we come to these things.”

Louise Niemann said she comes out to the event every year to support local fighters.

“Why are we here? To support the David City Volunteer Fire Department,” she said. “They need the community’s support, and they need us to come out and show them that all the effort they put into making the community what it is, (is appreciated).”

The open house featured various games and actives like exploring the inside of fire engines, playing a giant rendition of Connect 4 and a bean bag toss. This year, the open house added the Junior Firefighter Obstacle Course. Kids raced each other to see who could carry a firehouse and rescue a stuffed bear the fastest.

“We always try to mix in something new to keep it a little more lively,” Hilger said of the course. “Kids’ attentions are getting harder and harder to keep, but usually fire trucks are a pretty sure thing.”

Noah Schneider was one of the many children who participated in the relay. He ran down the obstacle course with a smile on his face and said he enjoyed the race, but the crawling portion of the course “kind of hurt my knee.”

David City Fire Department volunteer Morgan Hoeft said the course was quite popular with the kids.

“They love it because they’ve been going at it, racing each other to see who’s faster. So that’s fun,” she said. When asked how she would do on the course, she said: “I think it would be fun, (but) I’m not very good at running, and I’m not very fast either.”

Eric Schucht is a reporter for The Banner-Press. Reach him via email at eric.schucht@lee.net.