Tradition done for — Fire department announces the 72-year tradition will cease this year after flagging revenues and interest from the community

By Heather De Rosa, Graphic intern

A 72-year-long chapter in Newberg tradition has come to a close.

The annual Turkey Carnival, put on by the Newberg Volunteer Firefighters Association, has been cancelled. With waning funding and attendance, event officials voted recently to discontinue the event.

A statement posted on the Newberg Fire Department’s website said, “It is with heavy hearts that we announce that after 72 years, no Turkey Carnival will be held in 2013.”by: GARY ALLEN - Crowd favorite - Anyone familiar with the annual Turkey Carnival knows the horse racing machine has been a favorite with children and adults alike for the past 70 years.

The carnival’s main purpose was to help fund Toy and Joy, a program that began in a firefighter’s garage in 1929 with the goal of providing Christmas gifts to children in Newberg and Dundee who ordinarily would receive none. In 2012, Toy and Joy delivered toys to 354 families, including 890 children.

“I’m a traditionalist,” said Steve Warden, president of the NVFA. “I hate seeing something like this go.”

The carnival was just no longer financially successful, officials determined. Volunteers were putting an abundant amount of effort in to the event, with not a lot of return in participation from the public.

With the Turkey Carnival no longer, Toy and Joy will now be relying on other fundraising events that the fire department hosts each year.

“There will be very little financial impact on Toy and Joy,” Warden said.

“The Newberg Volunteer Fire Department decided that the lack of attendance was the public’s way of telling them that it was time to do something new,” the website said.

Now the fire department will be relying on its annual pancake breakfast, the Newberg Old Fashioned Festival, and a summer golf tournament to help support Toy and Joy.

The Turkey Carnival may be gone, but raffle tickets for turkeys will still be sold. $1 will get you one in 30 odds to win a turkey; $30 gives a guaranteed shot at winning a turkey. To purchase tickets, call the Newberg Fire Station at 503-537-1230, ext. 2.

For those who could use help with gifts for children ages 0 to 15, applications for Toy and Joy are available at Newberg F.I.S.H. (Friends In Service to Humanity), Love INC or the downtown fire station. Delivery of toys is scheduled for Christmas Eve between noon and 4 p.m.

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