Firehouse Drive-In will be Aug. 17-18

The Firehouse Drive-In has lit up the sky each year, and this fourth year is no exception.

Organized and put on by the Cologne Fire Department Relief Association as an annual summer fundraiser, the event offers everyone an evening or two of experiencing movies outdoors on the big, big screen. The motion pictures will be shown on a large new 50-foot wide by 30-foot high movie screen at the Village Park in Cologne.

The number of cars and the passengers coming to watch the movies each year continues to increase. This year the event will take place on Friday evening, Aug. 17 and Saturday evening, Aug. 18.

A pair of newer movies will be featured each evening this year. Friday movies will be "Despicable Me" and "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows." The Saturday lineup includes "The Smurfs" followed by "Moneyball."

"We continue to work to offer different movie options each year and hope that these more recent movies will be of great interest to the audience," said Chuck Joos, chief of the Cologne Fire Department. "As we continue to build this event, we will be pulling for many different years to appeal to a growing audience and to also showcase some of those movie gems that people have forgotten."

The large movie screen does a great job lighting up the night sky. However, the brightness of the movie project was not enough for the fire department this year, so members decided that a fireworks show needed to be added. A generous commitment from the Cologne-isp.net wireless Internet service will allow the drive-in to feature a 7 to 10 minute fireworks show each evening.

The fireworks will be shot off adjacent to the park, allowing movie goers to stay in their cars to enjoy the show. The show will take place between the first and second movie each evening and is guaranteed to create memories.

The movies and fireworks are just the beginning of what you can do when you come to the Firehouse Drive-In. On both Friday and Saturday, kids will be able to enjoy a pony ride or the very popular fire truck ride. In addition, there will be bounce houses and a playground to use.

A fire department function would not be complete without the smoke house, offering kids an education on home fires and what to do in case of an emergency. These activities will be free for all the kids attending.

On Saturday, there will be a bean bag tournament starting at 3 p.m. Teams can register early by downloading the form at www.firehousedrivein.com or register the day of the event. There will be a separate youth and adult tournament with prizes given away to the top teams in the brackets. A registration fee of $20 per team is required.

The gates will open at 6 p.m. on Friday and 3 p.m. on Saturday, with kid activities starting around 6 p.m. both evenings. The concession stand promises to offer you all the goodies deserving of a drive-in, so come check out all the great treats. Make sure to show up early and bring your lawn chairs, blankets, radios (to listen to the movie if you are outside your car), gloves, footballs and other outdoor toys.

Parking passes are needed to reserve a spot for your car, new or old. If you bring your classic car over either evening, you will receive VIP parking in the first or second row to view the movies. On Saturday, with the earlier gate opening, if you drive your classic car over and park before 6:45 p.m., your parking pass will require only a $15 donation.

"This fundraiser has continued to grow. Last year there were well over 450 cars between the two evenings. Everyone is welcome to attend. Why not give your car or truck (or even buggy) a night out on the town and let her bring you over to the Firehouse Drive-In," said Joos.

Passes can be picked up at Lenzen Chevrolet Buick in Chaska, KleinBank in Cologne and at the Holiday Station Store in Cologne. You may also get your parking pass from a Cologne Fire Department Member. A donation to the CFD Truck Restoration Fund will get you the pass. Plan early and get your pass for this once a year event. Parking passes are $20 each per night in advance or $25 at the gate.

The donation goes towards the truck restoration and other projects funded by the Relief Association.

The Firehouse Drive-In is presented by Lenzen Chevrolet Buick of Chaska, KleinBank, Mid-County Coop and Ridgeview Medical Center with special assistant from Cologne-isp.net.

The outdoor movie experience takes place at the Village Park in Cologne which is the Southwest corner of Highway 212 and County Road 53. For more information, check out the website at www.firehousedrivein.com or call John Hendel at (952) 466-2626.

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