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Community ready to welcome state fire fighters' convention

Volunteers drape quilts over frame of the county's parade float.

Sun Advocate reporter

One by one, the pieces of lumber were nailed and screwed together. Each section was carefully measured to ensure that the spacing is adequate. The project is important not only to the local firefighters, but also to many people in the community as their hard work will be put on display for all to see.

The float will essentially serve as an exhibit for the hundreds of quilts made by many community members and groups that will all soon be delivered to the University of Utah Burn Center for patients in the burn center. The exact number of quilts to be included within the float will 200 to 220, according to Rita Dunn, with the Price Fire Auxiliary.

While there are still some in the community who have yet to turn in their quilts, Dunn said the quantity of quilts was much more than anticipated. The original amount of quilts to be donated for the Burn Center started at 125. But that number has been left in the dust, as contributions from many individuals and community groups have raised the number to over 250 quilts.

"People have just been so generous with this project," said Diane Carlson, president of the Price Fire Auxiliary. "The float will definitely be one of many colors with all of the quilts."

So generous in fact that the amount of quilts may need to be divided into smaller amounts to be sent to the Burn Center because of the amount of storage space available, according to Dunn. The quilts are expected to be brought up to the Burn Center sometime in July.

While many of the quilts will be featured on the float, one in particular will be displayed prominently. A large quilt that includes an eagle, firefighter emblems, a 9/11 scene and more will be placed at the top of the trailer for everyone to see, Dunn said. The quilt was created by a local woman who, as did many others involved, spent hours putting together the hand-made creations. The special quilt will be raffled off as people can by tickets for a chance to win it. The proceeds from the raffle and other donations that come with it will all go to the Burn Center to help send burn victims to burn camps.

"Every quilt was hand-made and took a lot of time and work to finish them," Dunn explained.

Representatives from more than 30 fire departments around the state will attend the convention, Carlson said. The total amount of people that will be visiting the area for the convention is estimated to be between 450 to 550, she said.

A parade will be held on Main Street starting near the Subway Restaurant and will continue down to Heritage Park starting at 7 p.m., Carlson said. The fire departments have been given the option to join the parade with a truck from their local area. It's one of the more exciting parts of the convention, especially for children, Dunn said.

"The kids just love to see all of the different firetrucks in the parade," she said.

With all of the people from outside of the area making the trek to Price for the convention, the economic benefits could be a boon to many local businesses, according to Delynn Fielding, economic development director with Carbon County. Fielding said that the formula for examining the impact visitors have on the area includes a figure of about $125 per person for each day they are here. That figure includes the cost for a motel room, food and leisure activities during the day.

"This is a significant event and hopefully more and more events like it will take place in Carbon County," Fielding said noting the possible boosts in tax revenues for the city and the county.

Other than the parade, there are many other activities and events that will be taking place through the weekend. A fireworks demonstration will be held at the Carbon County Event Center at 9:30 p.m. To help train and educate firefighters who help with celebrations with fireworks including the fourth of July. There will also be a competition for the firefighters including a fire engine rodeo and a firefighter challenge on Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Carbon County Event Center.

With many fire departments and firefighters from around the state expected to attend the conference, Dunn said she and others with the Price Fire Auxiliary are thankful for the service each man and woman gives in their line of work. Many of the firefighters serve as volunteers for their departments and the Auxiliary wants to make sure the convention is one that everyone will enjoy.

"We're just trying to make this a great convention for everyone and show our appreciation for their service," she said. "Not just for the people who are coming here for the convention, but for our local community as well."

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