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Fire trucks and hot rods attract thousands to FireFest

Posted: October 2, 2017 3:47 p.m.
Updated: October 3, 2017 1:00 a.m.
Caleb 'Prez' Cahn/Special to the C-I

Miss Camden Teen 2017 Garnet Robinson, Miss Camden 2017 Morgan Taylor Schoolfield and Camden Fire Department (CFD) mascot Fire Pup wave to the crowd as CFD Ladder 11 gets ready to turn from Rutledge Street to Broad Street during the FireFest parade on Saturday morning.

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The 2017 edition of FireFest had a little bit of something for everyone on Saturday as thousands crammed into Rhame City Arena following a short parade of fire trucks and other emergency vehicles down Rutledge and Broad streets.

Along with the fire trucks, FireFest attendees enjoyed special deals from sponsoring vendors, a fire explorers competition, dance routines, food, a side-by-side comparison burn to emphasize the need for residential sprinkler systems and a line-up of classic cars.

That line-up included two dragsters, one owned by the Camden Fire Department’s own assistant chief, Eddie Gardner, and one by Robert Anderson, of Cassatt.

Anderson’s 2004 Miller dragster, with a 565-cubic-inch Chevy motor from Camden’s Grantham Racing Engines, will compete at the Summit Super Series World Finals at the Memphis (Tenn.) International Raceway, Oct. 20-21.

“I’ve won the DRA (Drag Racers Association) in Florence with the top ET (estimated time) points,” Anderson, who started racing in 1995, said. “I’ve also won the Darlington Dragway top ET championships and the Division 2 IHRA championship.”

Anderson’s dragster can go from 0 to 60 feet in 1.08 seconds and 1/8-mile in 4.87 seconds at a speed of 140 mph -- all of it at ground level.

Kershaw County Council Chairman Julian Burns walked by and asked Anderson “how many squirrels” were under the hood.

“I’m the nut behind the wheel,” Anderson responded, laughing. “It’s fun to drive. My dad was a drag racer, so I picked it up from him.”

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