DAYTON - The men and women of the Dayton Volunteer Fire Department have a tough job, a dangerous job, one they do for free out of pride and community feeling.
But their group can't survive on grit and spirit alone. Like any other organization, cash is its fuel.
On Saturday, the department hopes to put some fuel in its tanks by sponsoring the 26th anniversary Santa Maria Day in Dayton.
"This is our one big fund raiser this year," said Sue Roundy, co-chairperson of the event. "Contributions are used to support equipment, training and the public service activities of the volunteer fire department."
Roundy added that the department shoulders many of the fire fighting activities Lyon County's budget doesn't cover.
Highlights of Santa Maria Day will be the parade in the afternoon and the street dance to live music until about 1 a.m.
The number of parade entrants is expected to top previous years, according to parade chairperson Camille Meggerson.
Groups and organizations will march in categories such as churches, businesses, and children.
Others will appear in costumes from historical periods in keeping with the parade's millennium theme.
"Some suggested periods are Elizabethan, medieval, Roaring '20s or disco, " Meggerson said. "It should be a lot of fun."
Parade entrants will gather at the Dayton Depot at 10 a.m. for a noon start.
The familiar sounds of country and rock 'n' roll classics will replace the happy hubbub of the parade when the street dance kicks off at about 2 p.m. at the corner of Main and Pike Streets.
First up will be the Silver Sage Band, two of whose members live in Dayton and will donate their musical services.
People can groove and move after that with Will and Sheree Rose, just back from a tour of Las Vegas.
Johnny and the Cheaters will headline starting at about 8:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. The American Phlats Band from Silver City - which is waiving its appearance fee - will lead in for the main draw.
Throughout the day, there will be craft booths and games for children and adults.
"We're trying to make the daytime very kid- and family-oriented," Roundy said. "At night, the adults can really come out and dance."
Donations can be made at the Dayton Volunteer Fire Department tent and by calling Roundy at 246-3235.