In the old days, fire protection meant townsfolk gathering in a long line to pass buckets of water from the tank or pond to the blaze – everyone had to do their part.
In Virginia City and Nevada City, that sentiment still remains even if the equipment is much more modern, said Kay Rossow, owner of the Bale of Hay Saloon in Virginia City.
The historic buildings around the two towns are treasures to the state and the community and fire protection is crucial, Rossow said.
Last year when the local volunteer fire department needed to raise some extra money, she came up with an idea and the Save Our Buildings, or SOB, Virginia City Rural Fire Department Fundraiser was born.
“We live in an old wood town and it’s got so much historic value to it that the thought of it burning down drives me insane,” Rossow said.
She may not know a lot about fire protection, but she’s good at other things.
“I can throw a good party,” she said.
Last year the event included a live and silent auction, music and good food. The same thing is on tap for this year’s event, which will be this Sunday, Aug. 22 at the Bale of Hay Saloon at 4 p.m.
The live auction is actually for sponsorship of buildings around the two historic towns. Deemed the “Bucket Brigade,” successful bidders will have their names on plaques at 10 of Virginia City and Nevada City’s most popular and historic buildings, Rossow said.
“If everybody just does one little thing we can do great things and that’s the whole idea with the bucket brigade,” she said.
The Virginia City Volunteer Fire Department subsists on about $10,000 in annual funding from local taxes, said Toni James, training officer with the department.
“The budget is too small,” James said. “We cannot work on that.”
So the department holds a cakewalk fundraiser in the spring and last year began the SOB fundraiser in the summer. The hope is to raise about $10,000 this Sunday, she said.
“It really bolsters our budget,” James said.
Last year, the fundraiser was held on a rainy and cool day and still about $8,500 was raised, she said.
This year’s event will include several local musicians including Dave Walker, Steve Hulse, the Flocking Magpies and Larry Gibson. The music begins at 4 and a barbecue dinner will start about 5.
For more information or tickets and reservations, call James at 843-5454. Donations can be made out to the Virginia City Preservation Alliance memo line V C Rural Fire Department. P.O. Box 164, Virginia City MT 59755