Butchers, brewery salute firefighters’ fundraiser

Sausage Fest supports new playground at Willows elementary

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While Oktoberfest is a fall staple in many communities, Oak Bay firefighters are banking on a sausage-and-beer salute to summer to raise funds for a local school.

The Oak Bay Firefighters Charitable Foundation hosts Sausage Fest Saturday, Sept. 17 at Willows Park.

The tasty fundraiser runs from  1 to 8:30 p.m. and features sausages from four Oak Bay-area butchers – Village Butcher, The Whole Beast, Slaters Meats and Red Barn Market – served on a fresh bun supplied by Cobs Bread.

Refreshments to wash everything down come from Lighthouse Brewery.

The family-friendly event will also include few bouncy castles, plus a dunk tank, face painting, live music and more. Admission is by donation, with 90 per cent of the total profits going to Willows elementary school for a new playground.

The remaining 10 per cent will be split between Prostate Cancer Canada and the Oak Bay Fire Fighters Charitable Foundation for its various other community projects, says Oak Bay firefighter Jason Hodge, executive director of the charitable foundation.

The commitment to Willows follows previous donations to both Oak Bay High and Monterey Middle School, Hodge says.

With a new playground costing between $70,000 and $100,000, the foundation hopes to raise a significant sum for the school, attended by children of several local firefighters.

“Oak Bay Fire Department always tries to give back to the community of Oak Bay,” Hodge says.

Bronwen Sharpe, chair of the Willows Parent Advisory Committee, says the schools is “thrilled and honoured” about the support from the firefighters, noting “it has long been a wish for the school to have some new playground equipment.”

Coming into the role of PAC chair last year, “I was very surprised at how expensive playground equipment is,” she says.

“Living in Oak Bay and recognizing how the different communities in Oak Bay help each other…it just makes us all feel like we’re living in Pleasantville,” Sharpe says. “I’m so glad Oak Bay council approved an event like this.”

The PAC, which has set money aside for several years for a new Grade 4/5 playground on the Cadboro Bay Road side of the school, has a committee of parents looking into the different options to replace the current wood and tire structure.

When some options are available, parents will vote on their favourite, Sharpe says.

Once funds are available, a variety of other approvals still need to happen before installation, so a firm timeline has not been set, Sharpe says.

“I would love to see this time next year the children are coming to school with a new playground there.”

While plans for Sausage Fest organizers are coming together, Hodge is still scouting for musical entertainment – email oakbayfirefighters-charitable@gmail.com for details.

For more information, visit oabayfirefighters.com.