Eagle Firemen’s Barbecue and Barn Dance marks a quarter century | VailDaily.com

Eagle Firemen’s Barbecue and Barn Dance marks a quarter century

Special to the Daily

Twenty-five years ago, the town of Eagle’s population was around 1,500 souls and the Eagle Fire Department was staffed exclusively by volunteers and financed on a shoestring budget.

Back in 1986, current Eagle Fire Chief Jon Asper was the co-owner of a local restaurant and bar when three of the Eagle Fire Department stalwarts – Bill Jones, Bob Shelton and Ken Norman – approached him with the idea of a benefit. The department was in desperate need of an air compressor, but didn’t have the $5,600 purchase price in the budget. The idea of a barn dance was born and the event has been celebrated ever since.

For more than two decades now, Eagle area residents have launched the fall season at the annual Eagle Firemen’s Barbecue and Barn Dance. The 25th annual celebration is Friday from 6 to 11 p.m. The event is celebrated at the fire station, located at 425 East Third Street.

The annual fundraiser benefits the Eagle Volunteer Firefighters Association and through the years it has paid for equipment and training that the department otherwise couldn’t afford.

During the past 25 years, the barn dance proceeds have purchased a thermal imaging camera, “Fetch” – the department’s ATV, Jaws of Life and other extraction equipment, wildland firefighting gear and more. It has also paid for safety training.

Participate in The Longevity Project

The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.

According to Asper, the annual event raises between $5,000 and $8,000. But fund-raising is only one dimension of the event.

“This is kind of our thing to thank Eagle and Gypsum and the whole valley for what they do for us,” said Asper. “It kind of closes the summer and starts the fall.”

This year’s event will feature music by two favorite local bands. Some Town will play from 6 to 8 p.m. followed by Airborne from 8 to 11 p.m. The department’s signature menu – barbecue beef, beans, corn and more – will be back for hungry event-go’ers. The department’s charcoal cookers will heat up early Friday morning to have the barbecue ready for customers on the food line Friday night.

Tickets are $30 per family, $18 per couple and $12 per single. The ticket price covers the food and entertainment and door prizes. “You can feed your whole family for just $30 and go back for more as many times as you want to,” said Asper.

Kids also can enjoy free fire truck rides. A cash bar is set up for the event. The Eagle Valley High School Dance Team plans special fire-theme performance at 6:15 p.m.

Along with the meal, firefighters are selling raffle tickets for $1 each or six for $5. Top prize is $1,000 cash. Second prize is $500 cash and third prize is $250 cash.

Barn dance and raffle tickets are available in advance at the fire station or at the gate on the night of the event. For more information call 970-328-7244.

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