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Fire Muster events will include nods to Burnsville's 50th anniversary

August 29, 2014 Burnsville Sun/Thisweek News reports:

Fire Muster events will include nods to Burnsville’s 50th anniversary

What’s new at this year’s Burnsville Fire Muster? Plenty, though tradition still rules, organizers say.

Burnsville’s 50th anniversary as a city will be celebrated, a new parade schedule will debut and a Saturday-night fireworks extravaganza will be the Fire Muster’s biggest yet.

The 35th annual Fire Muster, a late-summer tradition in Burnsville, runs from Wednesday, Sept. 3, through Sunday, Sept. 7.

Events will include Fire Muster staples such as the Fire Truck Parade and Community Parade (both on Saturday), carnival rides Friday through Sunday, live music, displays of old fire engines, firefighting and police demonstrations and many children’s activities.

Most events are at Civic Center Park, Nicollet Avenue and 130th Street. A complete schedule here and at www.burnsvillefiremuster.com.

Burnsville adopted the Fire Muster as its annual community festival in 1980. It evolved from late 1970s summer events led by Burnsville resident and fire-equipment collector Roger Jackson. A display of fire equipment at the former Diamondhead Mall was followed by short parades up Nicollet Avenue. Fire musters — celebratory gatherings of fire and rescue services — have been popular in New England and elsewhere.

Parades and tradition: The Fire Muster board of directors hopes to strengthen the event’s traditional roots by revamping the parade schedule.

The annual Fire Truck Parade will be held Saturday, as usual, beginning at 11 a.m. at 134th Street and Civic Center Parkway.

The annual Community Parade, held on Sunday in past years, will now immediately follow the Fire Truck Parade. It will commence from 130th Street and Parkwood Drive once the last fire truck passes through at about 11:20 a.m., said Tom Taylor, who chairs the Fire Muster board.

The same-day draw of the Community Parade, which is better attended and has more participants than the Fire Truck Parade, should bolster that parade’s attendance as well, Taylor said.

“This is a long-term plan as we continue to celebrate the roots of our festival, which is fire trucks,” he said.

Moving the Community Parade from Sunday also eliminates conflicts with worship services and Vikings games, Taylor said. And organizers expect more follow-on attendance at post-parade events in the afternoon and evening.

“The crowds for Saturdays are going to be larger than they’ve ever been,” said Taylor, who’s in his fifth year as Fire Muster chair.

“We’ve increased the number of events specifically geared toward children and families, including a greater concentration on safety-oriented events. We’re having search-and-rescue dogs this year.”

Burnsville’s 50th: The Fire Muster will feature two commemorations of Burnsville’s incorporation as a city, each featuring a popular musical act playing songs of yesteryear.

The Town Board voted for incorporation in 1964 after the two-and-a-half-year “Battle for Black Dog,” a legal fight that followed Bloomington’s attempt to annex Burnsville’s tax-rich Black Dog Power Plant. A state Supreme Court ruling for Burnsville paved the way for incorporation.

A 50th-anniversary block party featuring the White Sidewalls will be held Wednesday from 7 to 9 p.m. at Nicollet Commons Park in the Heart of the City. Food and beverages will be available. Free birthday cake will be served. The City Council will lead the crowd in singing “Happy Birthday.”

The White Sidewalls will play “era-appropriate music,” Taylor said. “They’re going to bring us back to 1964. And it’s completely free.”
On Saturday, a 50th-anniversary ceremony and reception are being held from about 1:15 to 3 p.m. The ceremony will be on the main stage in Civic Center Park, led by Mayor Elizabeth Kautz and the Burnsville Historical Society, Taylor said.

Representatives from up to a dozen original Burnsville families — those around in 1964 — are being invited to appear, Taylor said.
After the ceremony the Rockin’ Hollywoods will perform an afternoon concert featuring more era-appropriate music.

“They’re going to take us through what I will call the ‘Burnsville years.’ They’re going to start in 1964 and work their way into newer music. I hope they won’t get too new. I can live with the ’80s,” said Taylor, who is in his 50s.

A 50th-anniversary historical display will be available for viewing from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Nighttime fun: Saturday night’s fireworks show is sponsored by Total Wine & More, the national superstore chain that’s opening a Burnsville store in late September near Target in the Burnhaven Shopping Center.

Total Wine donated “well into the five figures” for the pyrotechnics, Taylor said.

“This is their way of making a huge splash in the area,” Taylor said. The show will cost nearly three times as much as past Fire Muster fireworks shows, he said.

“They’re going to be bigger, it’s going to last longer,” Taylor said. “It’s being put on by the same people who do Twins games.”
Country band Hitchville will play the main stage on Saturday from 7 to 11 p.m.

Friday’s main-stage band is Arch Allies, playing songs from Journey, Styx and REO Speedwagon. The band made its Fire Muster debut last year.

“They drew incredible crowds,” Taylor said. “They are a top festival band.”

Other evening events include the annual car show Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m. at the parking deck next to the Ames Center in the Heart of the City and the annual free beer sampling from 6 to 8 p.m. at the nearby Red Lion Liquors. Friday’s Burnsville Youth Sports Night will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. in the two beer tents on the main grounds. It’s a chance for past athletes and coaches to reunite.

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