Blue Rapids Firemen’s Fall Fest Saturday


The Firemen’s Fall Fest will kick off the area’s autumn celebrations this Saturday at the Marshall County Fairgrounds, Blue Rapids, Kan.

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 held in Blue Rapids.

“When we started this eight years ago, it was all about making more money for the fireworks, and we’re hoping we can make the show in 2021 bigger,” said Ryan Woodyard, chief of police for Blue Rapids and a member of the volunteer fire department.

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 collected.

Rewind, the area’s party band, kicks off the evening of music at 5 p.m.

For many years, Rewind has played at the annual event in Blue Rapids.

“The Fireman’s Fall Fest is one of those hometown events that has humble beginnings and is growing into a special celebration of our communities, as well as supporting the brave men and women who respond to emergencies,” Jerry Horton, one of the band’s founders, said. “We’re glad we get asked back to perform.”

Horton and Rick Lister got the band started because they wanted to put together a group to learn as many of the top 1000 barroom classics as they could.

At first, the band was named The Occasionals thinking they would occasionally practice and occasionally play gigs.

“Once we realized what we had built, the name just didn’t fit,” Horton explained. “All of us started thinking about new names. Rewind came up because we were playing music from so many different decades. Everyone thought it was a perfect definition of who and what we were.”

Other band members are Horton, guitar; Scott Keller, lead vocals and guitar; Lister, bass; and Matt Bonser, drums.

Blue Rapids native, Gabe Walsh, will take the stage at 8:30 p.m. Walsh, who now lives in Nashville, Tenn., grew up in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2006.

“I don’t get very many opportunities to perform in my hometown, so it’s always a little more special when it’s possible,” he said. “Everyone should expect to eat some good food, hear some good music, and hang with great people.”

For more information people may visit the arts cooperative’s website at

Derek Nester
Derek Nester
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.

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