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BFD: Celebrating 125 years

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Parade, concert highlight events this Saturday

By Tom Wilmoth

    For the celebration of its 125th anniversary, the Bedford Fire Department has planned a parade to kick the festivities off and a bunch of Amish Outlaws to close it out.

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    And in between, you can expect plenty of family-oriented fun.
    The celebration takes place this Saturday, Oct. 5, with the Antique Fire Truck Parade in Bedford at 1 p.m. The parade, which will have at least 15 fire fighting trucks from the past, will travel along Bedford Avenue, North Bridge Street, West Main Street and 4th Street.    Then, from 2-5:30 p.m., there will be a static display of the trucks as well as medivac helicopters from Carilion and Centra Health. That event will be held at Bedford Rec Field and will include food vendors, bounce houses, a mechanical bull, music, horse-drawn carriage rides and more.
    At 7 p.m. the entertainment focus will shift to the adults as The Amish Outlaws take the stage  at the Bedford Rec Field off 4th Street. There is no admission fee to any of the events on Saturday. Alcoholic beverages will be sold on site; no personal coolers allowed.
    Planning for the events has been going on for close to a year, according to Bedford Fire Chief Brad Creasy.  Fire trucks participating in the parade will range in age from the turn of the century up to 1988. Lynchburg City has a horse-drawn aerial ladder which will be pulled by a team of local horses in the parade.
    “We want to show the progression of fire apparatus,” Creasy said of the parade, in which the trucks involved will be arranged in chronological order. It will be led by a hand-drawn hose reel. Creasy said Saturday’s sponsors stepped up with funding to allow the 125th anniversary event to be free.

The Amish Outlaws
    The gate for the evening concert at the rec field will open at 5:30 p.m. with the concert scheduled from 7-10 p.m. The Amish Outlaws is a cover band from Lancaster, Pa., and Creasy said the band’s members love to have fun—and have a wide range of music to offer. From Snoop Dogg to Elvis, Johnny Cash to Van Halen, he said the band does it all.
    Creasy said members of the department saw the group while at a convention in Baltimore a couple of years ago. “They’re just a fun group to listen to,” he said. “We just wanted to do something completely different, something the community has never seen before.”
    Three out of the six members of the Amish Outlaws were born and raised with a strict Amish upbringing—no electricity, no alcohol, no musical instruments. But, according to the band’s publicity packet, their spirits were “too wild for the Amish lifestyle” and once “they trampled in the Devil’s playground there was no turning back.”
    There is no “typical” Amish Outlaws show. But what you can expect, is to see six men in full Amish garb “releasing all of their pent up energy with an infectious joy.”
    According to Creasy, you never know what they might play next. “They’ll play anything and they play it all well. They’re a very talented group.”
    The band’s client list is as diverse as their music, performing for events for the Washington Redskins, Nike, Inc., McDonald’s Corp., Red Bull USA, Bucknell University and Yonkers Partners in Education. The band has played in numerous festivals and their venues have reached from Atlantic City, N.J.,  to Las Vegas, Nevada.
    Creasy said the support of the sponsors, some 13 in all, allowed the fire department to bring in the band to perform and not have a cover charge for those attending.
    Parking for the event will be at the Westgate Shopping Center and a shuttle will be provided to the rec field. Creasy said the fire department is leasing some school buses to use as the shuttles.
    “We want to celebrate our 125th anniversary with the community,” Creasy said. “We’re expecting a big crowd.”
    While not a fundraiser, the department will be glad to accept donations. “If we have good weather and a good sized-crowd it will be worth every minute of work we’ve put towards this event,” Creasy said.
    And the bigger the crowd, the more satisfying it will be to the committee that has worked so diligently on the event.