Musings from the ever-changing, ever-amazing and occasionally ever-baffling Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Firefighters Pancake Breakfast 2011

In years past when my kid was younger the firefighter's yearly open house and pancake breakfast was a much-anticipated event. I would say it was actually the event my kid most looked forward to every year. It's not a bad event for moms, either, what with the firefighters being there (as you may have noticed if you read this blog regularly I happen to be of the female gender, and like about 95% of women have a decided weakness for men in uniform). So, every year off we'd go to the pancake breakfast even though my kid has never really liked pancakes. The draw was the activities, the mascots, and the general atmosphere of the event. In recent years my kid's interest has waned, though, so it's been a couple of years since we attended. Yesterday, despite the rainy weather, I decided I wanted to go, and I'm pleased to report several hundred other people decided to show up, too.

Now, the pancake breakfast is always a good time. There are things for the kids to do, like seeing inside helicopters and fire trucks. The braver ones can even see what it's like to put out a fire, which is pretty thrilling when you get yelled at for even looking at matches. The food is pretty good, too, and plentiful as well. There is the dunk tank, and watching a kid toss a ball and dump an adult into a pool of water is always fun as their face just lights up (not the soggy adult so much, but the kid). There are the displays of post-accident auto extrications, which is pretty cool (and one of those things you hope you never need be done for you, but seeing it done so efficiently and calmly gives you great faith should it ever be required). There are the mascots wandering around, either delighting the kids or terrifying them a bit. There are displays like the one from Sustainable Resources Development, which give people like me a chance to thank them personally for all their hard work this year. There are local "people of note" there, like our city councillors and mayor (I love seeing them at these events with their families). Oh, and did I mention there are firefighters?!?

Proceeds from the breakfast go to local charities, which is great, but it's also just a chance to see some of the municipality's hard-working employees in action. In recent years I've had some experience with emergency response personnel and I've always been so pleased with their professionalism and, most of all, their kindness. Events like the pancake breakfast are an opportunity to see them at a time when the mood is light and their professional skills can be displayed. It's a chance to thank them for all they do. There are times when we take these services for granted, but I am so profoundly grateful to know that in an emergency I can pick up the phone and have these dedicated people respond. I have such trust and faith in them, and I think most of the people in Fort Mac do, too. So, while you can have pancakes, your face painted, and fun at the pancake breakfast you can also do something else. You can show the firefighters how much they mean to us all, and I think we did that today, folks. Thanks for braving the rain, firefighters and fellow pancake-breakfasters.

Honestly, people, I cannot think of a better way to kick-start the summer than Summer Solstice on Friday and the pancake breakfast on Saturday. Both events just set such a great tone for the rest of the summer, and if you are like me your summer dance card is starting to rapidly fill. The next time someone moans about there being nothing to do here I'm dragging out my daytimer to show them the events I plan to attend (and all the ones I regret I will miss due to my own holiday plans). I find myself having to choose between events as no one can possibly attend them all (for instance also happening this weekend was the Backyard Picnic at Mac Island with chef Michael Smith, and Treaty Days at Fort McKay). I've said it before and I'll say it again - this is going to be one helluva summer, Fort Mac. Get out there and enjoy it!

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