PHILIPPI -- Barbour County Emergency Medical Squad members are busy this week getting ready for their annual October Fest fund-raiser which will be held today and Saturday at the squad building near Philippi, said director Robert Jones.
Highlighting this year's event are the annual "Little Mr. and Miss EMS" pageant at 8 p.m. today and the annual celebrity auction, which begins at 7 p.m. Saturday, Jones said.
"The celebrity auction is always a lot of fun and a big draw," he said. "We've got some really neat stuff this year from a lot of celebrities."
Celebrity auctioneer this year is former WBOY anchor April Kaull, Jones said. Celebrity items to be auctioned include memorabilia from actresses Elizabeth Taylor and Dolly Parton, country music stars such as Lonestar and The Statler Brothers and NASCAR stars Richard Petty, Rusty Wallace and Bobby Labonte. Jones said many other items will be available from other local, state and national politicians as well as the World Wrestling Federation.
"We expect those items to do very well," he said.
Admission to the 13th Annual October Fest is free and all proceeds from the sale of prize tickets, auction items and food will go into the squad's new ambulance fund, Jones said.
"We're trying to replace our 1989 four-wheel-drive ambulance," Jones said. "Right now, we're looking at about $65,000 for the basic truck."
Jones said squad officials typically are satisfied with raising about $5,000 during the October Fest, although last year was a banner year -- more than $7,000 was raised.
The October Fest is the squad's second-biggest fund-raising effort of the year. Earlier this summer, squad members raised nearly $13,000 with a door-to-door canvass. That money will be used to purchase a new Lifepack cardiac monitor/automatic external defibrillator, which not only monitors a patient's heart rhythm, but can shock a heart that has stopped beating or beats irregularly.
The 13th Annual Barbour County EMS October Fest will be held at the EMS squad building, located on U.S. 250 south of Philippi and runs from 5-10 p.m. today and from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. Saturday.
Events Friday include the annual Memorial Service and the "Little Mr. and Miss EMS" pageant at 8 p.m. Eleven contestants between the ages of three or seven will vie for the coveted titles, Jones said. Immediately following the pageant will be a cake social.
Saturday events include a costume contest at noon, two musical performances by Barbour County residents, a karaoke contest at 3 p.m., a cake social at 5 p.m. and the celebrity auction at 7 p.m. Participants for the costume contest should be at the event by 11:45 a.m. Saturday, Jones said. Registration forms for the karaoke contest are available at the squad building.
Regional writer James Fisher can be reached at 626-1446 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.