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Dayton Daze draws crowds, raises cash

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DAYTON – Neighbors and visitors gathered at the spacious Dayton Park to take part in an afternoon of fun, festivities and fundraising during Dayton Daze on Saturday.

“We had a good turnout, all things considered,” said Zoe Lilja, who serves as secretary/treasurer of the Chief Cliff Volunteer Fire Department and chair of the annual event. “We seemed to have beat the smoke, which pretty much moved into the valley shortly after we shut down. Once again, the timing for this event was impeccable.”

This year’s festivities, which have taken place every year since 1991, offered a little something for everyone, including an open car show, craft booths, music, kids’ games, a silent auction and raffle, a bazaar at the Dayton Church, free hot dogs and a parade.

A dunking booth was a fun new addition to this year’s event and was provided by the Dayton school as a fundraiser to gain additional funding needed for the coming school year. The parade boasted its usual array of fire trucks, emergency vehicles, vintage cars, tons of candy for the kids and a vintage stagecoach. Jim and Donna Pomajevich were Grand Marshalls of the parade. 

The event also serves as the fire department’s biggest fundraiser of the season. 

The Chief Cliff Volunteer Fire Department is the first line of defense for those living in northern Lake County, including Dayton, Proctor, Elmo and Lake Mary Ronan. 

 The department also handles everything from medical treatment to firefighting, along with search and rescue operations.

“We are looking to expand the holding capacity and add a bathroom at the Lake Mary Ronan station,” said Tami Filipek, volunteer department veteran. “We currently have two stalls with three trucks squeezed in there. We also have trucks parked at a couple of members’ houses because we don’t have enough stalls.”

Filipek explained the importance of the day’s festivities.

 “Our yearly budget is funded only $44,000 from the tax base because we are a fire service area, not a fire district. Being a fire service, not a fire district, means we receive $100 per home instead of funds based on the tax value of each house in the area, so the money raised is very important to help out our yearly budget.”

Previous Dayton Daze fundraising activities help fund department projects like a new tanker/tender truck, a vital sign monitor, thermal imager and enhanced communications equipment.

A variety of prizes were awarded during the event. Billie Hardy was the raffle prizewinner. Hardy had the prize choice of a rifle with scope, a 12-gauge over/under shotgun or $500 in cash.

Parade prize winners included the Lake County Lady Riders (Charlene Brundage and Tracey and Katie Wheeler in the horse division; Craig Michael, of Dayton, won in the vehicle division with his 1964 Chevy Corvette; the Chief Cliff Volunteer Fire Department won for organization; the Dayton school float won in the children’s division; and the judges’ favorite was the Chief Cliff VFD. The best female costume went to Wendy Mowrer; the best male costume went to Doug Schultz; and the best children’s costume went to Toby Bruckmeyer.


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