At Sesame Classic, kids can experience the excitement of sitting in a real fire truck

On your mark, get set, go to the 23rd annual Kiwanis-Herald Sesame Place Classic on Sunday, May 21. Included in the festivities will be an appearance by the Langhorne-Middletown Fire Company and its chief, Frank Farry (fourth from left). Also on hand this past Friday at the park to display the START/FINISH banner were (from left) Kiwanis Club’s Dixie Rhodes, Sesame Sprint director Rose McIver, Bucks County Herald’s Ernie Nocito and Langhorne-Middletown Fire Police’s Larry Harvey. Photo by: Wayne fish
      Ever wonder why some kids say they want to grow up to be a fireman someday?
      Well, part of those aspirations might have to do with the excitement of riding in one of those big red trucks as they head to the next emergency.
      Or even better, sitting behind the wheel of such an imposing vehicle.
      What’s it like to sort of go through that experience?
      Well, kids from ages 3 to 93 will get just such a chance to find out if they attend the 23rd annual Kiwanis-Herald Sesame Place Classic on Sunday, May 21 at the famous theme park in Langhorne.
      Races include a featured 5K, 1-miler and Sesame Sprint for young children.
      As they have in years past, the fine folks at the Langhorne-Middletown Fire Company are once again bringing Truck 21 along with a full crew to the big event.
      Besides sitting in the driver’s seat of the truck, those in attendance also will get a chance to learn about fire safety, both in the home and the workplace.
      Chief Frank Farry and his trusty cast of firefighters will be on hand to teach about what it takes to prevent dangerous fires.
      “We appreciate the opportunity to be a part of this every year,” said Farry. “Obviously it’s raising money for a worthwhile cause but while we’re here we’re able to teach some fire prevention to children and families.
      “It’s a fantastic chance for us to show off the truck and talk to people about the equipment and fire safety.”
      To watch youngsters light up as they sit in the fire truck’s cab brings a smile to everyone’s face.
      “Fire trucks, Sesame characters, what more could a person want?” said Levittown-Bristol Kiwanis Club’s Dixie Rhodes. “Combine them with the Kiwanis-Herald Sesame Classic and you have the start of a perfect day. There will be something at the race that will appeal to kids of all ages. The whole morning will be inspiring, fun-filled and a great time for family bonding.”
      Through the years, Rhodes has watched how more and more people have taken advantage of this unique chance.
      “At least once in a lifetime youngsters will have aspirations of being a firefighter,” Rhodes said. “Here’s the perfect time for them to sit in a fire truck, talk to a real hero and spend some time with a Sesame friend while learning about fire safety.”
      The Langhorne-Middletown fire truck also is helpful to the race in other ways, such as holding up the Classic’s START/FINISH banner and the American flag.
      Larry Harvey, whose Langhorne-Middletown fire police units help monitor traffic along the race route, looks forward to this date each year.
      “We handle all the intersections and everything is safe,” he said. “Safety is our number one priority.”
      Ernie Nocito of the Bucks County Herald is involved in all aspects of the race and the fire truck’s appearance might top his list of favorites.
      “The Sesame characters who appear at the Classic are one of the highlights of the event,” Nocito pointed out, “but the Langhorne-Middletown truck is a favorite and cool attraction as well. You can see it on the faces of all who see and tour it.”
      Sesame Place’s P.J. Schweizer coordinates the Sesame characters appearances and looks forward to seeing the excitement on everyone’s faces when the fire truck arrives and is made accessible.
      “We’re excited to be hosting the race and whenever someone from the community comes, it increases the sense of involvement,” he said.
      “Since we’re all about the kids and we’re about educating the kids, when they see something like a fire truck, it makes them interested in fire safety and what firemen do everyday. I think it makes them more responsible citizens in general.”
      For more information about the Classic, visit All registered runners will receive a free, one-day ticket to Sesame Place good for admission through June 18.
      >More reaction to Boston
      Last week we published the names and times of a number of runners from Bucks County who completed the April 17 Boston Marathon.
      Included on that list were two runners, Tim Bulat and Peter Carideo, who ran exceptionally well and they checked in with some comments later in the week.
      “I was thrilled to be part of the Bucks County Roadrunners Club contingent which had some 20 runners, all with great races,” Bulat reported. “It was my third time running Boston and first time I maintained a pace through to the finish. I’m proud of our club and the running community in Bucks County.”
      Carideo, 63, said he ran his best marathon time (3:25.12) since 2005.
      “For me it was notable because I, Lori Wade and Gwen Kranzle were all coached by my son, Alex,” Carideo explained, “and we all had big PRs. I guess I’m getting faster as I age.”
      Race calendar
      Bookin’ for Lookin’ 5K, 8:30 a.m., Council Rock North High School, Newtown. Contact
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About Wayne Fish 2437 Articles
Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.