Langley City Firefighters help children put on turnout gear for the 2010 junior firefighter challenge.

Langley City Firefighters help children put on turnout gear for the 2010 junior firefighter challenge.

Parade, firefighter challenge highlights of Community Days

Langley City celebration will feature pancake breakfast and live entertainment in Douglas Park

There are many elements that make Langley Community Days such a success, and the City’s firefighters can count themselves among them.

Saturday’s event, which follows the annual parade through downtown Langley, will see the return of the firefighters’ challenge in which teams of firefighters show their prowess pulling hoses, and the donut roll toss which demonstrates their expertise in rolling up those hoses.

This year, there’s a junior challenge, said Dave Skidmore, a City firefighter who is helping to organize the event.

The youngsters have the chance to slip on child-size firefighters’ gear, giving children the opportunity to play at being a firefighter.

But kids of all ages want to play and so this year organizers have added a corporate challenge. Among the participants are Mayor Peter Fassbender and Supt. Derek Cooke who will go one-on-one, and a team of six RCMP officers who will challenge the six City councillors.

Skidmore said he hopes to have teams from the fire department administration, and teachers from local schools.

But firefighters have another role, and it is manning the hotdog and hamburger stand where lineups, particularly in good weather, begin an hour before cooking starts at noon.

“They fly off the grill,” Skidmore said.

The event, proceeds from which are donated to the Langley Memorial Hospital Auxiliary, requires a huge community effort. Not only do the firefighters organize and carry out their Community Days events on their own time, but they have also brought on board the Langley City outlets of the IGA Marketplace, Price Smart and Safeway to donate food and refreshments.

For firefighters, being so visible at such a large community event is crucial.

“It’s important to meet the people we serve on a regular basis,” Skidmore said.

That is especially so as there are so many seniors living in the City.

The majority of emergency calls made by firefighters are for medical emergencies, and so “it makes them (seniors) feel that we are not strangers in their homes.”

The firefighter challenge happens in Douglas Park, following the annual Community Day parade, which begins at 10 a.m. and runs along the Fraser Highway between 201A and 207 Streets.

Activities in the park will also include live music, and other family-friendly entertainment.

From 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Langley Lions Club will host a pancake breakfast at Innes Corner to raise funds in support of local projects, including Douglas Park School programs and medical equipment for those in need

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