When Greenfield Fire Chief Bob Dudley started the Greenfield Fire Prevention Festival in 1988, the city gave him $150. Thirty years later, he raises funds for more than $14,000 to cover the costs of the event that already has 225 law enforcement officers, EMS workers, firefighters and vendors registered to participate when festivities begin this week.
The festival now encompasses a week of dinners with proceeds going to local causes, 5K runs, cook offs, amusement rides and a parade. The festival drew at least 2,500 last year and Dudley is hoping to break 3,000 this year.
“We needed something to draw people,” said Dudley of his reasoning for initiating the festival. “We had had community fairs but nothing for some years. So, when South Fulton and Fulton Fire Departments decided not to have their fire prevention parade in 1988, I decided to start something here.”
The event now draws from two states and includes at least 75 different departments from cities and counties.
“They like to come for the fellowship with other firefighters to see what other people are doing,” explained Dudley of the sentiment that fits with the other friends and family members who return to Greenfield for reunions planned around the event.
While fire safety is the priority takeaway, Dudley says his reward comes from the children who participate.
“I love seeing the kids smile. That’s why I do what I do.”
For a complete schedule of festival activities, see the October 9 issue of the Press.