After missing a year due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Brandy Station Volunteer Fire Department’s annual Fireman’s Fair will return Aug. 11-14 at the Brandy Station Fair Grounds, 20057 Fleetwood Heights Road in Culpeper County.
“The fair is one of the major fundraisers that we have,” said J.D. Bailey, one of the fair organizers. “[COVID-19] had a great effect on our fundraising. We weren’t able to have bingo, we weren’t able to have the fair.”
Jeff Bailey, another fair organizer, said it’s obvious people are ready to get out and have some sense of normalcy again. “Everywhere we go, people have made the comment. ‘I’m so glad you’re going to have it this year, we’ve really missed it,” he said.
“We’ve had a lot of people just in the general community just speaking to us on Facebook and other things about how happy they are,” Jeff Bailey said. “People are ready to get back out and try to return to some sort of normalcy in their lives.
He said the fair’s carnival organizer told him that all the places they’ve been, have seen greater attendance. “People are just ready to get out and do something,” Bailey said.
The four-night fair has everything from rides, a parade, music, an art display, a mechanical bull and food — including kettle corn, funnel cake and “Dipsy Dogs.”
“The parade is a pretty big event for us,” Bailey said. “We have a pretty large contingent of units for that. Usually, we have about 200 units commit, and we have about 135-150 that actually attend.”
Bailey said he’s especially proud to have the Quantico Marine Band in the Aug. 12 parade, “which is a pretty big, big to-do. They’ve performed at Ground Zero, they’ve performed at Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and just having a military marching band here in Brandy Station is a pretty big to-do.”
Established in 1918; the Quantico Marine Corps Band is one of the oldest professional musical ensembles in the Marine Corps. The band is comprised of a ceremonial band and concert band equipped to provide musical support as directed by the Commandant of the Marine Corps and the Commanding Officer of Marine Corps Installations National Capital Region-MCB Quantico. The band is organized to support over 450 military and civilian events annually and has made appearance in Canada, Scotland, Netherlands and Finland as musical ambassadors of the United States Marine Corps.
Bailey said he expects an energetic crowd at the fair, as always. “They’re very appreciative of the units that come and they show that appreciation.”
The Brandy Station Volunteer Fire Department is celebrating its 70th year. “We started in 1951,” Jeff Bailey said. “I’d say out of those 70 years, we’ve probably had a carnival 60 years.”
Even with all the games, rides, music and parade units, Bailey is especially proud of the Auxiliary Fire Department’s own “Dipsy Dogs.”
“We actually dip ours in the batter,” he said. “You can actually buy them frozen with the batter already on them, and they’re not as good. That’s why ours are actually called Dipsy Dogs.”
Naturally, Bailey is hoping for good weather. “Two years ago, we had good weather all four nights, and the money at the end showed that.”