KNOXDALE — The 48th annual Knox Township Firemen’s Homecoming celebration is being called “the best in recent memory,” according to Lainey Fritz, chairman of the ways and means committee for the Knox Township Volunteer Fire Department.

“The celebration was well attended and we were very blessed with great weather,” she said.

Several generations of many families returned to Knoxdale for the annual event. Mike Wolfe came home from Roanoke, Virginia, for the Labor Day weekend event. With three generations of his family at the celebration, he said, “I remember coming with my mom and dad.” A younger member of his family said she remembers “my whole life coming here.”

Homecoming activities began Friday evening with the popular bingo games at the firehall.

Saturday morning as the first two of 16 teams entered in the softball tournament took the field, the grills were turned on in the kitchen for breakfast and all-day snacks.

Park Excavating emerged as the winner of this year’s softball tournament, Fritz said. Tournament winners receive a trophy bat from BWP Bats and a cash prize.

At 11 a.m. Saturday the traditional Homecoming Parade stepped off from the Methodist Church. Along with children, bike riders, floats and horseback riders, state Rep. Cris Dush and U.S. Congressman Glenn “G.T.” Thompson appeared in the parade, which ended at the Firemen’s Park.

“I am grateful to be a part of” this celebration, Dush said. “This is traditional America, all about the local community. It’s great to see that they have continued this tradition.”

Following the parade, games for the children were held at the park. Other activities for the youngsters were held throughout the weekend.

Watching some of the games, Julie Swonger, of Brookville, said, “It’s nice to see the whole community pulling together to make this celebration.”

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The popular chicken barbecue was held Sunday at noon, with members of the fire department cooking enough chicken and potatoes on the grill to feed 250 diners, who began lining up shortly after the church service at the park ended.

Sunday afternoon’s demolition derby “had a higher-than-expected turnout, with 22 cars competing in three classes,” Fritz said.

Winners of the demolition derby were Bryan Maxim, small compacts; Cody Shaffer, large compacts; and Jacob Laird, outlaw compacts.

Fritz said that throughout the weekend “we gave away 39 prizes in our basket raffle. We had many winners of cash prizes throughout the weekend donate their winnings back to the fire department.

“This is the most involved I’ve ever been, as the new chairman of ways and means. It was much more effort than I could ever convey with words, but we were so supported! My family, the firemen, our sponsors, the community and the church all came together to make this event one of the best in recent memory.”

She said ideas are already being considered to add new events to the celebration. “The organizers who came before me, in conjunction with the current leadership within the fire company, were the keys to success for this year’s event. I’m so proud of us, and I’m ready to ride this momentum into planing for next year,” Fritz said.

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