New bouncy castle a hit

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Fire department adds to children’s fun at community events

Inuvik Fire Department Platoon Chief Jonathon Michel makes children cheer and wait while counting down from 10 to officially open the new fire station bouncy castle. – Stewart Burnett/NNSL photo

The children lining up, cheering and chanting in wait of a ribbon cutting to open a new fire station bouncy castle resembled something of the unbridled exuberance of a Black Friday sale.

They could barely be kept back, and once the ribbon was cut, they rushed the bouncy castle before adults quickly made them form a queue, lest the stampede get out of control.

The Inuvik Fire Department, through its volunteer firefighters association, purchased the bouncy castle and debuted it at the annual children’s party Sunday, May 7.

Helga Sawkins, dispatcher with the department and social director for the association, had been working on getting the bouncy castle for two years.

I said, you know what, this is what we need for the community,” said Sawkins, taking a momentary break from organizing the lines of children. “The kids are going to love it.”

Hudson Gillis, five, certainly seemed to.

He said the slide was his favourite part, “because I always fell down.”

With all costs involved, including transportation, the bouncy castle cost the firefighters association about $5,800.

When it came in, I didn’t realize it was so big,” said Sawkins.

Asked if she was happy with its reception, Sawkins said, “Look at our lineups – it speaks for itself!”

Jonathon Michel, platoon chief with the department and vice-president of the association, said the idea was inspired by the joy children get from riding in real firetrucks.

You can’t put a price on excitement like that amongst young kids,” he said. “They’re still excited about stuff do do with firetrucks, and this is just an extension of that.”

Michel said the town’s firefighters were equally excited by the castle.

If you were to be at our training night on Wednesday when we opened it up to make sure it was all in good order, there was the same level of excitement with our firefighters,” he said, showing cell phone photos of firefighters testing it out.

The bouncy castle is intended for use at community events throughout the year, such as the upcoming Canada Day.