Plans Underway for Firemen’s Fall Fest

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Plans are coming together for the seventh annual Firemen’s Fall Fest Saturday, September 14, at the Marshall County Fairgrounds.

The event is sponsored by the Blue Rapids Fire Department and the Marshall County Arts Cooperative. Proceeds go toward the 4th of July fireworks display in Blue Rapids in 2020. The display will be held in conjunction with the city’s sesquicentennial celebration.

The event used to be held in October and was called Oktoberfest. Due to inclement weather the past two years, organizers decided to move the event to September hoping for better weather. With a new date, a new name was given to the event, but the event follows the same format as previous celebrations.

“We are real excited this year, and we are hoping for a big crowd,” said Ryan Woodyard, chief of police for Blue Rapids and a member of the volunteer fire department. “When we started this, it was all about making more money for the fireworks, and we’re hoping we can make our show bigger.”

The event starts at 4 p.m. with a beer garden.

The fish fry begins at 5 p.m. The meal includes catfish, homemade baked beans, potato salad, potato chips, and tea. A freewill donation will be taken for the fish fry.

“We went through a lot of food the last few years,” said Woodyard. “We will serve while the food lasts.”

Taylor Kline, a folk musician, will perform from 5-8 p.m. Kline plays music throughout the Midwest with his guitar and harmonica. His set includes covers of his favorite musicians, as well as his original material.

Rewind Band will play from 8:30-11:30 p.m. Rewind is a party band playing barroom favorites. Band members are Matt Bonser, Sterling Clark, Jerry Horton, Scott Keller, and Rick Lister.

In addition to the fish fry and music, there will be activities for kids like bounce houses. Music and kids activities are free.

For more information about the event people can visit the arts cooperative’s website at

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Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.