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Summer simmer: Newport turns out for Booya fundraiser

Retired firefighter Lenny Louden stirs a 70-gallon cauldron during the annual Booya Newport Fire Department fundraiser July 8. William Loeffler / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 2
The 65th annual Booya celebration brought out the crowds to Newport Fire Station #1. William Loeffler / RiverTown Multimedia 2 / 2

NEWPORT — Nature gave its blessing for the 65th annual Booya celebration at Newport Fire Station #1. The event unfolded under blue skies and warm breezes.

The main event, as always, was the doling out of hundreds of gallons of the titular stew, which Newport Firefighters had been simmering overnight. At the 11 a.m. start, a line of hungry customers had already formed. They carried pots, coolers and other containers to be filled with traditional and Cajun booya.

Under a nearby tent, volunteers Lenny Louden, Nicholas Zellmer and Don Schlomka shared double-double-toil-and-trouble duties, stirring 70 gallon cauldrons full of the thick soupy stuff and dishing it out to a steady bucket brigade of Newport firefighters.

By 12:30 p.m. the crowds had already depleted three of the cauldrons.

The Booya celebration, which began with a fire truck parade the night before, also included inflatables, kids games, a beer garden, silent auction, bingo, food and raffle.

William Loeffler

William Loeffler is a playwright and journalist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He worked 15 years writing features for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has also written travel stories based on his trips to all seven continents. He and his wife, Michelle, ran the Boston Marathon in 2009. 

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