Annual lolly run spreads holiday joy
If you pick a waterfight with firefighters, you’re going to lose. Karratha Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service’s annual Christmas lolly run began last week, to the delight of locals, big and small. It’s part of a 30-year tradition paying tribute to the comm
In a transitional town such as Karratha, there are few community traditions that have continued for more than 30 years.
But that is something to which the Karratha Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service’s annual Santa’s lolly run can proudly lay claim.
Every year in the fortnight before Christmas, Karratha residents can look forward to seeing a convoy of fire trucks, including the vintage fire engine affectionately known as the Bedford, drive through every street in every suburb delivering lollies to waving onlookers and giving non-waving ones a soaking from the water cannon. They even take Santa along for the ride.
It is a sweet tradition that brings the whole Karratha community out to their front verges to watch.
KVFRS firefighter and former captain Mike Booth said the team does it all for residents.
“The reason we do it is to give something back to the community,” he said.
“We enjoy it. There’s great camaraderie with all of us and we have fun with the public.”
His daughter and fellow firefighter Kendy Booth agreed.
“It’s the one time of year we get to go and thank the community for their support throughout year,” she said.
That said, it is a community event on a massive scale.
The run takes a staggering 120kg of lollies, donated every year by the Ellison Brothers, and 3000 litres of water to fill the main fire truck’s water cannon.
For the firefighters and Santa, it takes every afternoon for two weeks to cover the town. Not everyone enjoys the display. KVFRS officer Kayne Kipping said sleeping night shift workers sometimes had an axe to grind when they drove by, sirens blaring.
Brigade life member Alan Atkins was part of the original service that began the lolly run over three decades ago.
He remembers when it was a little simpler.
“We started it because the town was small,” he said.
“It was literally just Bulgarra, Pegs Creek, Millars Well, and a very few houses in Nickol.”
He said though the town’s huge growth since meant the run took much more time and effort, they didn’t regret starting it.
“There’s so much of the town that looks forward to it every year,” he said.
“Some people were asking about it on Facebook weeks ago, saying ‘when is the lolly run on?’.”
Karratha VFRS firefighters Mike Booth and Samanta Stewart with Santa in front of the old Bedford fire engine.
Adults and children alike wave as the trucks pass.
A group waves from their gate.
Residents wave from their driveway.
Dressed up for the occasion.
Santa and the KVFRS firefighters.
A family waves from their backyard.