In what has become a Labor Day signature event for Diamond Springs, the Diamond Springs-El Dorado Firefighters' Association's Annual Fundraiser called the Diamond Springs Bazaar and Parade was not continued this year. The cancelled event caught many off guard and locals expressed frustration over losing the event. It was not uncommon for the event to attract over 10,000 people and that success may have contributed to its demise.
In 1942, the Diamond Springs Volunteer Fire Company was formed. In 1949, Station 49 in Diamond Springs was built by volunteers. They were organized as the Diamond Springs Volunteer Fire Company. In 1979, the two small town volunteer companies consolidated to form the organization that serves us today. When the Districts consolidated, the firefighters’ associations joined to become known as The Diamond Springs-El Dorado Firefighters Association. Since the early 1980s, the District has incrementally added career personnel to the response, in order to augment the volunteer personnel.
Today, the Association currently owns and manages Station 49 in Diamond Springs, the Firefighters’ Memorial Hall, an office building, and other properties. They’ve expanded their mission to include the delivery of public education and firefighter training programs.
In 1946, Diamond held its first community dance. This served a dual purpose – to give the community something fun to do and to raise funds to purchase a new fire truck. That soon was followed by the first Christmas party given for the kids, put on by the Ladies Auxiliary (often made up of the firefighters’ wives), in support of the firefighters and their families.
In December of 1965, El Dorado held the first annual bazaar in partnership with the town’s merchants. They decorated the fire house with Christmas lights to spread the celebration to the community. That eventually evolved into the Annual Labor Day Bazaar, which was started in 1972 by Diamond Springs’ merchants and the Lions Club. As this annual tradition continued until 2013, The Country Bazaar brought approximately 10,000 people together for an opportunity to celebrate the community, the local merchants, the Firefighters’ Association; to have fun; and to raise money for additional fire equipment.
Parades have always been a central part of those celebrations. They are a way to bring the District to the community, to educate the community about the District’s resources, and to let the community see how the District is equipped to help them. Parades give Diamond a chance to show off their equipment and to invite the community to join in that pride.
But lack of need and red tape seems to have killed the 48 year tradition.
On Labor Day 2014 social media exploded with questions, answers, and frustration boiling up.
On one popular Facebook blog the question was asked, "I heard there was no diamond bizarre this weekend is that true and is there one today?" Soon the replies colored an unhappy picture.
Amber Marie wrote, "So there is no bizarre?"
Meri B. "No bizarre. Never happening again thus the car show yesterday."
Debbie F. "There was a car show and BBQ along with the usual Sunday swap meet yesterday. That's it this year."
Nazera H. expressed frustration, "It wasn't a bizarre it was the normal flea market.... I am quite upset about it that's been a big tradition in my family for years. in fact I know people that come all the way from San Francisco I've met people down there from San Jose and so on! I really think it's quite unfair just to stop something like that after thirty something years of doing it! boo on them!"
Danielle H. said, "It wasn't their choice, the state said that they can no longer close down pleasant valley road."
Meri B. Added, "And they couldn't afford permits, sales and vendors are down. Business isn't about fair and not fair. It is about what is profitable or not."
Jackye P. asked, "How many permits do you think it takes??"
Meri B., "Well closing a road is a very expensive permit. Then hiring the cops. If there is live music that's a permit... There is also food handling permits, and also a 1 day liability insurance policy, and since alcohol is being served it's not cheap either."
Patty K. put a finer point on it, "The fire department did not want to spend the extra money and they have many less volunteers to help. Bottom line!"
Don I. expressed his frustration, "They can close ALL THE STREETS of Ferguson for one funeral of a thug, but we can't have a Labor Day Bazaar?! There goes our small town America!"
Sally Ca. gets more direct with her comment, "But if they did a beer garden and food yesterday they were still paying for those permits. So other then closing down the road how much more could it possibly be? We've been going to the labor day bazaar for 10+ years and now just nothing. Very frustrating!"
Patty K. explained the real reason for the cancelled event when she wrote, "I totally agree Sally. It was a city function managed by our fire department. New Chief there and has his own way of things I understand."