Napoleon picnic proceeds will aid new fire station

Photo courtesy of Napoleon Volunteer Fire DepartmentThis 66-year-old station will soon be replaced by a larger one in a different location.

It's an eventful time for the Napoleon Volunteer Fire Department, whose annual picnic is set for July 19-20 at the Napoleon Community Center.

"From a cost (standpoint), we've done the same promotions as we've always done, but this year's is a little different because we've started building our new firehouse," reveals Cory Whalbring, NVFD board president.

Before the end of the year, these first responders will relocate westward from their current site on U.S. 421 – the station was built in 1953 – to a larger, more modern facility on Millhousen Road.

"It will be three times the size of the one we have now," says Whalbring. "This has taken a lot of thought, time, donations and hard work. Our department's been around for 134 years. We want people to know that all the hard work from previous generations of firemen is finally coming around."

With a $500,000 state grant and an additional $40,000 coming from Rising Sun Regional Foundation, the firefighters are all well on their way to having new digs.

"The way the bid process worked out, construction has to be completed and we have to move in by the end of this year," Whalbring explains. "With it being so wet, we didn't get as much done as we'd like. But the driveway is in and the foundation is being poured. It's a steel frame building, so it should last a really long time."

The fun gets underway on Friday night as The Renegades take the stage between 8 p.m.-midnight. Originally from Sunman and a staple at southeastern Indiana stops, this unit infuses its sets with Southern-style rock and classic country sounds.

Card sharps may enjoy the first of two evening Texas Hold 'em tournaments from 7-11 p.m. Buy-in is $25 per player.

"We've been doing Texas Hold 'em for a long time now," notes Whalbring. "Normally, we'll have 10 to 12 players and some of those are pretty serious poker players."

Those a little less daring may want to purchase some cash raffle tickets and hope for a payout. Tickets are $1 each or six for $5. Several $25 and $50 gift certificates, as well as savings bonds, are up for grabs.

Whalbring reports a lot of folks come for the volunteers' fried chicken. Eight to 12 dollars will buy either a half or whole chicken. Sides are a la carte and include green beans, coleslaw and potato wedges. To wash down the chicken, head over to the beer garden between 5 p.m.-1 a.m. each night. Domestic choices are Budweiser, Bud Light, Busch Light and Michelob Ultra.

"CP Tavern in Napoleon is sponsoring the beer garden this year," he relates. "They're good people who have sent a lot of money toward the firemen and community. We appreciate all their help."

Kicking Saturday off is the ATV/Jeep poker run, a family-friendly event that takes riders off-road across a total of approximately 80 miles and a pair of creeks.

"This is the third year for the ride," says Whalbring. "The first year was huge, but last year it rained. We've had riders from all the area counties and have heard a lot of positive feedback."

Registration begins at 10 a.m. for an 11 a.m. ride. Fees are $15 per driver/machine, with $5 for an extra passenger and/or an extra poker card.

Kids can try their luck at the pedal pull, beginning Saturday night at 8 p.m. The contest is sponsored by David Narwold Trucking. Youngsters can also look forward to bounce house access ($20 unlimited with wristband), Plinko, duck pond and a ring toss all weekend. Bingo is also on the Saturday night schedule.

Saturday evening's live entertainment is provided by 650 North, who perform from 8:30 p.m.-midnight. The rock quartet of Jac-Cen-Del alumni will play some original tracks along with hits from the 1980s to the present.

Mock turtle soup is on the Saturday menu, to go with standard picnic fare such as burgers and hot dogs.

Whalbring encourages everyone to eat, drink and enjoy themselves.

"We want people to have fun and come out to support us. You can come be part of the community, we can raise money, and everybody wins."

Weekend temperatures are expected to peak in the low 90s with a 40 percent chance of thunderstorms. For more information on the festival, call 513-835-5703 or email

Will Fehlinger can be contacted at or 812-934-4343, Ext. 112.