Thanks to a donation from Backus firefighter Ross Borman and his wife, Alicia, in memory of Ross’ late father, Pat, and mother, Patty, the Backus Fire Department had four new fryers for its annual smelt fry fundraiser Saturday, May 4.
At the beginning of the May 4 event, Fire Chief Jason Smith dedicated the 48th annual Backus Smelt Fry to Pat and Patty.
“As far as I’m concerned, Pat and Patty are cooking for us tonight,” he said.
This year’s fundraiser brought in 565 attendants, which is lower than normal likely due to scheduling conflicts and weather.
“We were down quite a bit. Normally we’re in the 700s. With the barbecue that was going on, the mother-daughter’s event at Mildred Chapel, prom and a couple benefits going on and the weather, the weather didn’t help,” firefighter Chris Cunningham said. “We didn’t see a lot of the people with cabins this year.”
Smith said that thanks to an increase in charitable donations, the event might still have rivaled past years. The event was seen as a success for other reasons.
“This year Ross and Alicia Borman donated four new cookers to our event, which really helped out. We didn’t have any safety issues this year,” Cunningham said. “It got us up to a better standard of code. We were able to serve fish faster and more efficiently, and it was in memory of Ross’ mom and dad, Pat and Patty Borman.”
Cunningham also thanked wives of firefighters, retired firefighters and all those who donated time to help prepare side dishes and serve during the event.
“We couldn’t do it without them,” he said. “They are just a tremendous asset.”
Proceeds from the smelt fry go toward equipment costs and training for Backus firefighters. The event depends on locals as well as tourists for its success.
“It’s a great community event and I thouroughly enjoy the people that come out for it, and just want to say thanks for the support,” Cunningham said.