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Huguley Fire Department Chief Stan Taylor sits on Santa Claus’ lap during the Festival of Trees. — Wayne Clark

Festival of Trees to help provide new equipment to Huguley Fire Department

HUGULEY — On Friday morning, Huguley firefighters were out in big numbers at the Happy Valley Baptist Church family life center to begin HFD’s first-ever Festival of Trees fundraiser for the department.

It offers residents an opportunity to participate in a silent auction to purchase fully-decorated Christmas trees, to check out some vendor booths and for kids to have fun jumping on inflatables and meeting Santa Claus.

“We’re hoping to have big turnouts on the part of the public (Friday) and Saturday,” Huguley Fire Chief Stan Taylor said. “We will be giving away smoke detectors and teaching people the proper way to use fire extinguishers. Huckleberry’s Catering of LaGrange will be here today serving barbecue sandwiches and hot dogs for lunch and dinner. They’ll also be serving lunch on Saturday.”

At 6 p.m. on Saturday, a firefighter appreciation dinner will take place. A few tickets remain and are $20 each. It will be for a Thanksgiving-style dinner with entertainment being provided by the Lard Bucket Band.

“We’d like to have this Festival of Trees every year,” Taylor said. “We started late this year, and we have a lot to learn to get it right. We do appreciate the response we have gotten from sponsors. Among them are the Chambers County Development Authority, Daniel’s Drive-In and LifeSaver. We have each sponsor’s name on a tree that’s up for bids in the silent auction. Each tree is fully decorated, and we’ve saved the boxes to store the lights and ornaments after Christmas.”

Taylor said the Happy Valley Baptist Church allowed the fire department to use its family life center for the event.

“We also want to thank people of Huguley and the surrounding area for being so supportive of us,” he said.

The HFD serves a 33 square-mile area with about 1,800 residences, two industrial parks and some businesses. There are six full-time firefighters, 10 part-time firefighters and 33 volunteers. The department has a ladder truck, three fire engines, two tankers and a brush truck.

“Our main fundraising goal is to raise money for a second fire station,” Taylor said. “We’d like to have a new building in the Chambers County Industrial Park. We’d have it next to the LifeSaver landing site. We also have continuing needs to upgrade our equipment.”

Taylor said that this year is a learning experience to host a Festival of Trees.

“We are learning as we go,” he said. “Hopefully, we can make it better next year. We’d like to have more vendors next year. We want to thank Randy and Wanda Morris of Cedar House Creations for being here. We thank Wanda Carter for having a wreath booth and Ballard Party Rentals for providing the jumpers.”

The festival hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. The appreciation dinner starts at 6 p.m. on Saturday.

CHRISTMAS IN HUGULEY — This a bit of Christmas in Huguley this weekend as the Huguley Fire Department plays host to the inaugural Festival of Trees on Friday and Saturday. It’s taking place inside the family life center at Happy Valley Baptist Church. Kneeling in front are Billy Walls, Trevor Moulder, Ryan Rhoades and Noah Cauley. Standing are Lt. Chris Taylor. Lt. Mark McManus, Capt. Wiallie Kirby, Chief Stan Taylor, Santa, Capt. Andy Gray, Eric Horne and Capt. Brandon Nickolson.