Festival to affect traffic Saturday

Published 5:00 am Friday, October 17, 2008

Saturday’s Swedish Fest will affect Highway 31 and several side streets in Thorsby.

Highway 31 will close for a few minutes around 9 a.m. Saturday for the annual Swedish Fest Parade. The route is the same from last year – beginning at the old sewing factory (CRH storage building) and traveling down Highway 31 to Franklin Street.

The parade will take a right on Franklin Street, cross the railroad tracks and take another right at Alabama Avenue. From there, it will continue in front of Thorsby High School and end just past the business district on Montgomery Avenue.

Police Chief Ed Prady said his officers will try to keep the main road closed as little as possible.

“We won’t close Highway 31 until just before the parade begins,” he said.

All streets affected by the parade will reopen once the parade is over except Alabama Avenue. That road will be closed from the exit of Thorsby High School to the Franklin Street intersection, which is about one-half of a block.

In that portion of the road, the Thorsby Fire Department is hosting a firefighter challenge to any fire department in the county immediately following the parade. Fire Lt. Adam Watley said this event is a fundraiser for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

“We’re going to have our Fill-The-Boot fundraiser for muscular dystrophy,” Watley said. “It is a nationally recognized drive by firefighters to help raise money for MDA.”

Firefighters will ask festival patrons to put any monetary donations they have inside boots. While the fundraiser is going on, local firefighters will be competing in four different events including “tug-and-spray,” rescue drill, “bucket brigade” and the “firefighter combat challenge.” Local firefighters will compete for firefighting door prizes including extrication gloves and firefighting accessory bags.

“These aren’t your ordinary door prizes; they have been donated by companies that we have bought from,” Watley said. “They are really good.”

To participate in the challenge, the only thing firefighters need to bring is their turnout gear. Watley said they would supply contestants with the rest of the supplies needed.

He also added that any fire department is welcome to put a fire truck in the parade that morning.

For more information on the firefighter challenge, contact Watley at 389-6075.