ELBERTA, Ala. (WALA) - The German Sausage Festival will kick off Saturday March 30, 2013 in Elberta. The festival is a fundraiser for the volunteer fire department there and as we first told you earlier this month on FOX10, there was talk that the city may charge the fire department to lease the park space.
Friday was set-up time for the festival. Over its 30 year history the festival has grown to fill the park on Main Street with 300 booths for the public to browse.
"There's everything from woodworks that somebody made in their shop to honey, clothing…just about anything you can imagine," said Steve Kirkpatrick, Chief fro the Elberta Volunteer Fire Department.
Kirkpatrick spent the day helping to organize the site and bring in supplies for the thousands of people expected to attend this year's event. Leaders in Elberta recently expressed concerns over their budget and hinted that the volunteer fire department would have to lease the park from the city to host the festival.
The goal of the fire department is to net $35,000 during this festival. If $10,000 of that had to go to the city, Kirkpatrick said it would make it very difficult for the department to make equipment purchases they need.
"Our equipment's pretty expensive so we'd probably have to go up on our prices a little bit or figure out a way to make a little more out of it," said Kirkpatrick.
Since the city and all of it's residents in a 50 square mile area depend on the volunteer fire department for their safety, Kirkpatrick says any money they would have to hand over would hurt. Wondering where everything stood on this issue, I went to the mayor looking for answers. He says the whole idea was nothing but a rumor that got out of hand.
"There's never been any truth that we've asked them for anything," said Elberta Mayor, Marvin Williams when asked about the money. "It's never been discussed on the floor. The fire department's always worked well with the town in supporting the park and with the fire department. Therefore we haven't discussed it and have no intention of discussing it."
So as things stand now, the fire's out on the issue and the fire department's profits won't be watered down. The festival will be open from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Saturday in Town Park and admission is free. There will also be three bands providing live entertainment throughout the day.
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