The first annual Firefighters’ Gala proved to be a successful return to tradition with a fresh spin, organizers say.
The sold-out event, held Nov. 25, included dinner, a live auction, and a performance by The Grand Dueling Piano Show, said Donna Noble, Ponoka County protective services coordinator.
It was also something of a return to what used to be a major community event — for about 35 years, a firefighters’ ball was held in Ponoka, she said.
Noble said that the event was always held on the last Saturday of November, and the last one was in 2015.
This year, staff got to thinking that it was an important tradition to start up again.
“The gala went very, very well,” said Noble.
“It went even better than planned — it was just overwhelming. It was great for our firefighters and luckily we didn’t get a call that night!”
Noble said the Stagecoach Saloon had tables set up for 288.
“We had 36 full tables,” she said.
”It was also the restoration of a tradition, but with kind of a new spin on it,” she said, adding that there is more to being a firefighter than many people might realize, including rescue training and dealing with flammable fuels to motor vehicle accidents and vehicle fires.”
To that end, Noble created a video that pulled together some of the training that the department is involved in and also showcased the range of ways the department serves the community.
“The east district fire chief introduced the firefighters who were present and also acknowledged our west district department,” she said.
“It was a night to say this is who we are, and a night for us to be out with our spouses, our friends, and our families, as well.”
Noble said the gala is not a fundraiser for the department, but that the community still donated items for the auctions.
Donations from the department will ultimately be made back to the community as well, she said.