Twenty-five years ago they started Cruisin’ Days. The event is not only the fire department’s major fundraiser, it has grown into the largest celebration year-in and year-out for the city of Newark.
“It was created as a fundraiser for the fire department from people who had a passion for the 50s,” said Sherry Edgemon, a member of the Newark Volunteer Fire Department’s Ladies Auxiliary. “Our fire department is 100 percent volunteer. We don’t get funding from the city. Our fire department depends on this. It’s very important.”
Edgemon, who was also Newark’s city secretary for 31 years, has been a member of the Ladies Auxiliary since 1968, just seven years after the auxiliary was formed. She was one of the members who hosted the first Cruisin’ Days in 1988, and she and the rest of the ladies have kept it strong ever since.
The Ladies Auxiliary provides support and relief to Newark firefighters in action. They always show up to the scene in personal vehicles not long after the first responders arrive.
Edgemon and many other auxiliary members have husbands or other family members on the department. Her husband, James, will celebrate 50 years on the department next year.
“We provide drinks, snacks, towels, rehab, a place to rest,” Edgemon said. “We just give support. And we respond to and help other nearby departments as well.”
And when the parade comes through Saturday morning, one of the original members of the 1961 Ladies Auxiliary, Onie Zuber, will be on the Red Hat float. It’s a testament to the longevity and dedication of the department, the auxiliary and the people of Newark that they’ve kept the event alive for so many years.
“We keep it fun,” said Angela Braun, vice president of the group. “We offer so many things. There is something for everybody.”
“People who used to live here come back just for this event,” Edgemon said. “We even have some people that have family reunions around it.”
For a small town fire department, Newark has a large base of volunteers with 28 members. They also cover a wide service area, ranging from U.S. 287 all the way to Aurora.
Cruisin’ Days kicks off Friday night featuring a carnival (which goes on all weekend by the fire hall) and live music by Dakota Burns. Saturday begins with the parade at 10 a.m., followed by BINGO at 11 a.m., a classic car show at noon, barbecue dinner at 5:30 p.m., fire department award ceremony at 7 p.m. and a dance at 8 p.m. The carnival and midway continues noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.
All proceeds benefit the fire department. For more information, contact Dawn Killough at (817) 692-4959 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Newark Cruisin’ Days is also on Facebook.
Members of the Ladies Auxiliary include President Dawn Killough, Vice President Angela Braun, Secretary Bonnie Neal, Shelley LeNeveu-Tres, Sherry Edgemon, Kathy Darter, Barbara Killough, Barb Drosihn and Theresa Bowden, and junior members Mari Rose Bowden, Amber Bowden, Kylee Darter, Reva Killough and Tracey LeNeveu.