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That's VU Director Nathan Hesson on the aerial ladder; he loves taking photos from up there.

If you find yourself on one of the more than 450 golf carts brought to Vinton for the 2013 Iowa Firefighter's Association Convention, riding around the campground, you will see some interesting old fire-fighting vehicles.

You will also see some other humorous displays, as well as few things that inspire you to ask, "What's the story behind that.

I heard a few of those stories -- or at least part of them -- during a ride around the IFA camp site this week.

A few years ago, an Edgewood firefighter became lost in the camp area and could not locate the Edgewood spaces. So, every year since then, the Edgewood FD has set up a 40-foot tower with "EDGEWOOD" spelled in large letters.

The Center Point firefighters bring a large black wooden casket, which they prop up against one of their campers.

"We offer to measure the newcomers for caskets, but if you knew the whole story, it wouldn't seem so morbid," said one Center Point fireman. No, he did not tell me the whole story.

I made my second trip up the Vinton Fire Department aerial ladder on Thursday. I took photos of the waterball fights on First Avenue from about 70 feet above the bright yellow truck.

On my way down, I took a few photos of fire trucks as they entered the fairgrounds. The group from Mechanicsville -- located on Highway 30 in Cedar County, east of Cedar Rapids -- looked up and waved.

When I got to the ground, I recognized an apparatus on their fire truck that looked more like a cannon than a nozzle.

"What's that?" I asked.

"Give us a moment," they said. "We will show you."

I didn't notice until later that they were all wearing matching blue t-shirts with the same words printed on the front: "Fire in the hole!"

"Fire in the hole!" is what Mechanicsville firefighters yell just before igniting the oxygen/acetylene air cannon mounted on their antique truck. They demonstrated the cannon several times, then asked if I wanted to try.

I did.

If you heard several loud booms and one small one on Thursday afternoon near the fairgrounds, the small boom was the mine.

One firemen called the annual convention "the biggest family reunion in Iowa." Many arrive early -- there is even a group of attendees who call themselves the URLY group because they arrive each year a few days before the convention formally begins.

But the humor is not confined to the fairgrounds.

Those working at the golf course turned their heads when they saw a group of Garrison firefighters -- all men -- dressed as the four main characters of "The Wizard of Oz."

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Comments (1)

Thanks Dean for the great photos.
It's great that they are having so much well deserved fun. Looking forward to the parade. But,Dorothy sure didn't age well. Will she be in the parade too?

Editor's Note: We can only hope!!!
By: The Jesssop's on September 5th 9:17pm

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