CHEBOYGAN — For the first time in recent history, the annual Cheboygan Fire Department Free Kids’ Day Picnic has been canceled, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“To the best of my knowledge, we have been doing this event every year for the last over 100 years,” said Cheboygan City Fire Chief Don Dailey. “Regrettably, as far as we know, this is the first time the event has ever had to be canceled.”
Dailey said due to the pandemic, they would not have been able to do most of the activities typically associated with the day because of social distancing requirements and regulations on the number of people who can be gathered in one place.
“We felt it was in the best interest of the public to cancel until next year,” he said. “But we are looking forward to next year’s event.”
Each year, the Cheboygan Fire Department puts on a picnic for the children in the community, as well as those who come from all around the area to enjoy the fun. Hundreds of children and their families flock to Gordon Turner Park.
Members of the fire department grill up hot dogs, handing them out to the long line of families, along with potato chips and orange drink, all of which are donated to the department for the event each year.
Northern Michigan’s largest water slide is always a big hit at every year’s event, comprised of the fire department’s 100-foot aerial tower, with a long sheet of plastic laid across the north soccer field near the playground equipment, with the truck spraying water on it. Children are able to slide around, splashing each other with water and is fun for kids of all ages, with some of the older children even helping their younger siblings and friends slide on the wet plastic.
Another big attraction for everyone who attends the annual event is taking turns piling into the city’s antique 1927 fire truck and going for a ride around the circle drive at Gordon Turner Park.
Dailey said it is always his favorite part of the whole day, watching all of the children have fun and enjoy themselves at the event that is normally scheduled for the end of July.
This event grows each year, and the fire department felt it was best to keep everyone as safe as possible and cancel the event, rather than risk the potential spread of the virus.
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