GALENA, Kans. — The city of Galena is celebrating 145 years this week, which means it’s time for Galena Days.
Every year the celebration takes over the city, and behind one of the longest-lasting traditions is support for the local fire department.
“People can say all they want to about Galena and small towns, but it’s the heart of America. Is what it is,” said Ashley Groves, Galena Days Organizer.
And the spirit of Galena is on full display. The city has been taken over by Galena Days.
“Every year we do this multi-day event to celebrate the community, to celebrate the city, what all it entails, and really what the symbolism behind Galena is,” said Groves.
The celebration holds a special place in the hearts of people throughout the community, including current Galena Mayor and descendent of Mr. Galena himself Bill Hall.
“My grandpa was a long-time fire chief. Galena Days was his baby, he loved it, and he poured his heart and soul into it. That’s one reason why I try and work hard at it, is to justify all the years of work he put behind it,” said Groves.
And you can continue to see the hard work pay off year after year. It’s helped continue one of the longest-running traditions at galena days, which gives back to the fire department itself.
“This money raised during the Queen Contestant weekend goes directly to some of the needs for that. They’ve bought infrared cameras with those in the past to help see when they’re going in structures, to gear, to protective helmets. It kind of depends on what they need each year, and their long-term goals. A bad year, they hope to break even, probably the best year they’ve ever done, probably somewhere between 20 to 25 grand. But, when you get to sit back and enjoy the live music, talking to each other, eating food that you haven’t eaten in a year, it’s kind of a sense of relief and ‘Oh! This is why we do what we do,'” said Groves.