It's official: firefighters know how to have a good time. Rock the Park was held on Saturday August 25, and the event turned out to be an excellent experience. The La Porte Firefighters Association puts on the event each year, and it gets better every time. Erik Sabie, La Porte Firefighter Captain and Chairman of Rock the Park was the coordinator.
"I go around and see what needs to be done and make sure everything's getting done properly, and make sure everything runs smoothly," Sabie said. “Everyone that puts this on is a firefighter of La Porte. We usually start planning ten to eleven months beforehand, and there is a lot of stuff to take care of. We'll get about a month break and then we'll start over again.”
There were quite a few people at the event, which was held in Fox Memorial Park in La Porte from 12pm-11pm. Though it was around 90 degrees that day, the many large trees in the park provided welcome shade and the breeze that came off Clear Lake made the weather quite pleasant. Families, couples, friends and individuals came out to enjoy the festivities that were offered at Rock the Park. There were food vendors, games, face painting, a 50/50 raffle and a Corn Hole tournament. Live music was provided by Junior and the Igniters, Point'n Fingers and Midwest Hype.
Among the many food vendors there was Pine Grove Banquet Hall, which is a banquet and catering facility located in La Porte. This is the second year that it has attended Rock the Park. Brian and Mairlyn Conlan, owners of Pine Grove Banquet Hall, were working the booth that day.
“That’s why we’re here. Local people, local businesses; support your local friends and family,” Mairlyn Conlan said with a smile.
“I thought it would be an awesome opportunity to get Pine Grove back and to help people understand what we do and what we have the ability to do,” Orlando Dunlap, an employee at Pine Grove Banquet Hall, said. “These are events that we love to do. It gets us out of the kitchen.”
The next booth over was occupied by Clowning Attractions. Sandra Seymour and her mother Beccy Seymour have been in business for six years. The mother and daughter team does face painting and they are both real clowns as a part of their business.
“We are firefighter’s family, and we are trying to help raise money for the fire department,” Mrs. Seymour said. “We pay the booth rental here that’s going toward their fundraiser. We are face painters as well as clowns! Our one motto is: Anywhere a crowd gathers, a clown will entertain.”
Well, they certainly chose the right place to entertain. Rock the Park is in its eighth year at Fox Memorial Park. Before that is was held at an indoor facility at a much smaller scale.
“The event is solely to raise money for all the charities that we donate to and then also the scholarship fund that was created about 32 years ago,” said Bill Lott, a firefighter/EMT for La Porte Fire Department and President of the 2012 Union Executive Board. “We created a scholarship fund for local kids that are graduating and going on to college and need a little extra money. Every year we do an average of about $4000-$5000 worth of scholarships, and then anything that’s leftover goes to all the worthy causes.”
Arnold Devereaux died in the line of duty 32 years ago, and the scholarship fund was created to honor him. The worthy causes that Lott speaks of are local charities such as the Red Cross, Burn Out Fund, The Foundation, and many more. The Foundation, or La Porte Hospital Foundation (Tour de La Porte) teamed up with the La Porte Firefighters Association this year to create a weekend of fun and family friendly activities that would benefit participants as well as charities.
“We’ve had it where we let a promoter take over for a few years, and then we took it back over last year just because so much money goes to the promoter.” Lott continued. “This way, all the money that we make goes to the charities…I think a lot of people have a misconception that they think this is for the fire department. But every dollar we make after cost, all the proceeds go to charities.”
Overall, Rock the Park was easily a success. Why wouldn’t it be with this group of good guys? You would be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t like to have fun and help out at the same time here. Thank you to all who helped and participated! Rock the Park really did rock!
To find out more about Pine Grove Banquet Hall click here!
To find out more about Clowning Attractions click here to check them out on Facebook!
Want to know more about the La Porte Fire Department? Of course you do! Click here!