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7:41 AM Sat, Sept. 22nd

Old Firehouse Plaza kicks off luau fundraiser

PRESCOTT - With a bit of the beach, some fire dancing, and an authentic island pig roast, next weekend's Hawaiian Luau Party at the Old Firehouse Plaza aims to bring the aloha spirit to Prescott.

The event will take place at Goodwin Street's Firehouse Plaza from 3 to 10 p.m., Saturday, July 17, and will evoke the Hawaiian atmosphere in everything from sand volleyball to a limbo competition to a raffle that includes a trip to Maui.

"We wanted it to be unique and have a real theme," Linda Forbes, one of the event's organizers and co-owner of the Firehouse Plaza, said of the luau. "We want everyone to dress Hawaiian."

To lend authenticity to the setting, about 150 tons of sand will be trucked in for the sand volleyball area on Goodwin Street. Sponsors CLM Earth Movers and Terra Sole Outdoor Designs LLC will bring in the sand Saturday morning and remove it at night.

The tournament will feature teams of four people and will include prizes for first, second and third places. A 20-foot-by-60-foot tent will be onsite for spectators to sit under.

The Firehouse Kitchen will provide the authentic pig roast, island shots and catering.

Aaron Meisheid, co-owner of Firehouse Kitchen, said he plans to begin roasting the pig when the event starts. "It should be ready by seven or eight o'clock," he said.

Other features will include a dunk tank, an "Island Tour" of Firehouse businesses offering a chance at a $1,000 shopping spree, music by Shawn Johnson and the Foundation, DJ services by Dan Morganelli, and a fire dancing performance at 8:30 p.m. by Pyro-Klectic.

"We're trying to have a lot of different things to keep people interested," Meisheid said. "We're hoping this will be the first of many."

And in the tradition of other summer downtown mainstays such as Cantina Night at the Gurley Street Grill, the proceeds for the event will benefit charitable programs.

Forbes pointed out that two popular local charities - the Arizona Children's Burn Camp (Camp Courage) and the Prescott Fire Fighter's Charities - will receive 100 percent of the proceeds from the event.

The idea for the event formed "when we got involved with the fire department and found out what wonderful people they are," Forbes said. "They have a couple of charities that we wanted to help."

Kristi Gagnon, secretary/treasurer of Prescott Firefighter's Charities, said the new charity began in 2008 as a way for firemen to help the people they run across in their day-to-day duties "who don't have anywhere else to go for help."

For instance, she said the charity has helped an elderly resident to re-roof a leaking roof, and has installed a guardrail for another resident. More information on the charity is available at www.prescottffcharities.org.

Camp Courage also receives regular assistance from Arizona fire departments, which support the camp's sponsor, Foundation for Burns and Trauma, Gagnon said.

The luau event will request a $5 entry donation, and Firehouse Plaza businesses will be open for shopping and dining.

Goodwin Street adjacent to the Firehouse Plaza will be closed for the luau. More information on the sand volleyball is available by calling 379-3636, and event information is available at www.OldFirehousePlaza.com. While organizers say the event would be family-friendly in the afternoon, they say the evening events would be more adult-oriented.