First Responders Take the Spotlight At Eldora’s Family Fireworks Night May 20
ROSSBURG, Ohio, May 15 — People who don’t know the difference between USAC SpeeD2 Midwest Thunder midgets, DIRTcar modifieds, or Eldora super stocks will still thoroughly enjoy Family Fireworks Night presented by Casey’s General Store this Saturday, May 20 at Eldora Speedway.
This community event will feature not only those three racing divisions but also a huge fireworks extravaganza that will delight all ages as the rockets burst across the sky, blazing in streams of vivid colors and booming over the Ohio countryside.
At its heart, however, the event showcases very special people — the area’s firefighters and emergency medical services (EMS) personnel, who will provide special displays and demonstrations of their work to the people they protect.
Children will love getting their faces painted and watching clowns twist balloons into animals. They’ll be able to meet Disney characters who will be roaming the grounds. They’ll also enjoy seeing and touching emergency vehicles, and watching them during a parade around the track.
Approximately 65 firefighters and EMS personnel are expected to be on hand. They’ll bring many of the vehicles and specialized equipment they use, and they’ll be glad to explain it all in detail. They plan to bring an interactive semi-tractor trailer that is used for training, fire engines, ambulances, ice rescue equipment, water rescue equipment, and a jaws of life. The latter is used to extricate people trapped in vehicles, and they are even bringing a junk car to cut up to show exactly how that equipment can save lives.
It'll be exciting for kids of all ages, and those 13 and under will be admitted free. A general admission ticket for those 14 and up is only $10, and a pit pass is $30.
There’s an intriguing behind-the-scenes story regarding this event too, and it involves something seen at most dirt-track events — a 50-50 raffle ticket.
When someone wins a 50-50 raffle ticket, he or she automatically wins half of all the money collected that night. If it’s at Eldora Speedway, the other half is split between the Tony Stewart Foundation and another not-for-profit called Racing for Relief. Volunteers with Racing for Relief sell the actual 50/50 raffle tickets at Eldora, and then use the money raised to purchase emergency equipment and training for 17 different emergency departments in Darke County and two other counties near Eldora Speedway, Mercer and Auglaize Counties.
To date over $500,000 has been raised for Racing for Relief, with every single dollar used for emergency equipment purchases and training.
Equipment purchases have included turnout fire gear, defibrillators, imaging cameras, four-wheel rangers, light towers, training trailers, jaws-of-life equipment, grain bin rescue tubes, water rescue equipment, and much more.
“We get a lot of questions as to what we do with the money we raise, and this night gives us a way to showcase the equipment we’ve purchased with it,”
said Alan Siefring of Racing for Relief, who is a retired volunteer firefighter of more than 17 years himself.
It’s a win-win for the community made possible by fans’ contributions of a dollar or two during programs held over the course of Eldora’s season.
Gates will open at 4:30 p.m., and a drivers autograph session will occur from 4:30-5:30 p.m. Disney characters will interact with the younger crowd and face painters will be available from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Clowns will twist balloons for two hours, from 5-7 p.m. The Jaws of Life demonstration will be at 5:30 p.m. Hot laps for the race cars is set for 6:30 p.m., and the races will start at 7:30 p.m. The opening ceremonies will include a parade of emergency vehicles around the half-mile dirt track. The fireworks spectacular will occur after the final race. It will be synced and choreographed to famous soundtracks used in Disney movies.
Tickets are available to purchase now on EldoraSpeedway.com or by contacting the box office at (937) 338-3815. They’ll also be available at the gate.
Another Family Fireworks Night will be held at Eldora on Saturday, Aug. 5, when the NRA Sprint Invaders, modifieds, and Eldora super stocks are in action.
About Eldora Speedway:
In 1954, renowned bandleader and proprietor of the Eldora Ballroom, Earl Baltes, carved a flat quarter-mile clay oval out of the cornfield that laid in the natural amphitheater between Ohio S.R. 118 and the Wabash River. Over the next 50 years, the enterprising Baltes, and wife Berneice, grew Eldora Speedway from its humble roots to national prominence by promoting events no other promoter dared fathom on the half-mile high-banked clay oval.
As dirt racing’s popularity surged in the late 1990s, along came new multi-million-dollar facilities, and corporate entities began to pepper Baltes about purchasing Eldora. However, in Baltes’ mind, there was only one choice – and in true Earl Baltes fashion – in the spring of 2004, he contacted a brash young racer who had tamed Eldora’s high-banks as a driver on his way to national championships in USAC and IndyCar, the 2002 NASCAR Cup Series champion, Tony Stewart. As Stewart’s on-track career skyrocketed, he passionately reinvested into entrepreneurial endeavors involving his beloved dirt racing, beginning with race teams in 2001. Somehow, the two high-profile figures who always drew a crowd of well-wishers at Eldora, managed to keep their talks quiet and the celebrated-promotor and superstar driver announced the transition of ownership in November 2004.
Now entering its 19th year under the ownership of Tony Stewart, Eldora Speedway will play host to its 70th season of racing in 2023. The full event calendar, including ticket and campsite information, will be posted when available at www.EldoraSpeedway.com. Race fans can join a community of over 1,000,000 people from around the world who enjoy behind-the-scenes access by following @EldoraSpeedway on social channels Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. Exclusive video content posted on www.youtube.com/EldoraSpeedway has over 8.5-million views.
Every event at Eldora Speedway is available live. Race fans can tune into the World 100®, the Dirt Late Model Dream®, the 4-Crown Nationals®, The Eldora Million®, and more on FloRacing.com or on their favorite screen via the FloSports app. FloRacing is Eldora Speedway’s official livestream partner.