Firefighters invite community to dance around the May pole

POULSBO — Organizers of the 68th annual Poulsbo Firefighters Dance hope to see attendance numbers flare up this year as the number of people showing up to do the twist and other fancy foot work in years past has been dwindling. The lack of interest is creating concern for organizer and Poulsbo Fire Department Deputy Fire Marshal Jerry Cooper.

Cooper said he doesn’t know why there has been such low attendance, other than a possible misperception.

“People think this is a firemen’s dance,” he said. “But it’s a dance put on by the firefighters to thank the public for supporting (the agency).”

The event started as a social gathering for the department when it was volunteer-based. But much has changed in 68 years and it’s now open to the public, Cooper emphasized.

However, those changes include the low attendance. About 30 people showed up last year, a difference from about 18 years ago when there were 1,000 people at the 50th dance.

The association personally invites the 20,000 residents within PFD’s service area by sending them an invitation and tickets to the dance in the mail. A $10 donation per ticket is requested. Funds raised go toward the Poulsbo Firefighters Association, which supports various programs and helps purchase smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, heart defibrillators and dummy dolls for CPR classes.

There will be refreshments and drinks, plus the classic rock of Silverdale band Joey James Dean and Fido. Those attending will also have a chance to win an overnight trip to Vancouver, British Columbia, including the train fare, transfer and hotel costs.

And if people who wish to attend but did not receive tickets or lost them, more will be available at the door.

There will also be a free shuttle service from the event for people who don’t want to drive home, Cooper said.

Cooper said he’s had a good time every year and that, for as long as he can remember, he has been getting on the dance floor and doing the twist for the crowd. But he’s not making any promises this year to go as low as he can go.

“I’ve never ever missed it,” he said about his attendance record. “And I’m talking when I was 21 years old.”

There will be good music and fun, he said as reasons to attend, but also “because (the firefighters) are all good looking.”

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