Sausages raise thousands for playground

The Oak Bay Fire Fighters Charitable Foundation's Sausage Fest event raises close to $10,000 for school playground

Oak Bay firefighter Brad Trenholm oversees one of several grills cooking at Willows Park Saturday for Sausage Fest

After a rainy start to the day that brought a few anxious moments for organizers, the clouds parted for a successful Sausage Fest at Willows Park Saturday.

At the end of the day, Jason Hodge, executive director for the Oak Bay Fire Fighters Charitable Foundation, estimates the event – a first for Willows Park – brought in close to $10,000.

The bulk of the money is earmarked for a new playground at Willows elementary, with a portion supporting prostate cancer programs and research. Some will also go to the charitable foundation’s other causes.

Volunteers from the fire department and Willows elementary sold tickets and grilled up more than 1,100 sausages from Oak Bay butchers,  including Slater’s, the Village Butcher,  the Whole Beast and Red Barn Market, while Lighthouse Brewing served beer.

The family-friendly event, sponsored in part by the Oak Bay News, also included bouncy castles, facepainting by the 4th Victoria Pathfinders, a dunk tank and a variety of local entertainers.

Thanking all the volunteers, including those who turned out in the morning rain to set up tents, tables and grills, Hodge offered special kudos to Fire Chief Dave Cockle.

“He was on the grill for about five hours and then did about an hour in the dunk tank,” Hodge said.

Based on feedback, Hodge is hoping to make Sausage Fest an annual event, and would like to add to the family activities.

“It’s a small community but a tight-knit community and all the guys came out,” Hodge said of his fellow Oak Bay firefighters.

“It’s not just about the job, it’s about the community.”