Monday, August 3, 2015

Smokey Is 71

Each year the Cradle of Forestry  (here) holds a big birthday party for Smokey Bear.  This year Smokey turned 71.  I didn't get to his party this year, but will post some photographs of previous years when I have gone.  I just love wandering around watching the children and their parents.  Some of the children take the whole thing so seriously.

Most people think the Smokey Bear campaign started when a little cub with burned feet was rescued from a New Mexico forest fire in 1950.  In fact, the campaign began in 1944 with the release of the first Smokey Bear poster.  The bear cub rescued in 1950 was called Smokey and lived his life at the National Zoo in Washington, DC.  Congress passed The Smokey Bear Act in 1952 to protect the image of Smokey Bear.

Many people mistakenly think Smokey's name is "Smokey The Bear."  Really (if it matters to you) his name is actually "Smokey Bear."  The "middle name" was added to a song about Smokey to make the rhythm flow better. That led to the children's joke:
Q:  What is Smokey The Bear's middle name?
A:  "The"

Smokey's birthday is celebrated across the United States with his "real" birthday being August 9th.  The Cradle of Forestry typically celebrates on the first Saturday in August.  The party is held on the grounds and is always the same.  Multiple activity tents are set up to keep the children amused and to educate them.  They are allowed to squirt water from a fire hose, to make Smokey Bear masks, decorate birthday cards, complete puzzles, and play all sorts of games.  And there are dozens of birthday cakes at the end of the party.

The Visitor Center welcomes all to the party

  A fireman prepares to assist a little girl squirt the hose

 Pin the pail on the fire was quite popular

 And there was plenty of cake for all.
Twenty or so cakes were spread over the area so there were no long lines or whines.

And, of course, a visit from the big guy himself

For many years, the most recognizable slogan in the United States was Smokey's "Only YOU can prevent forest fires."  In 2001 the slogan was changed to "Only YOU can prevent wildfires."

Today there are at least 20 wildfires burning in California.  Our thoughts go out to those who are affected and to those brave persons who risk their lives fighting the fires.

It's August and I'm taking a two week break.  Company coming.  I'll still visit your blogs but I won't be posting.


Ginnie said...

Have fun with your company and thanks for all the info on Smokey. We'll be here when you get back and hugs to your sweet four footer.

The Bug said...

Have a good time with your company! I wish I'd been there for cake... :)

Barbara Rogers said...

Have a great time with friends visiting. Great info post on Smokey! See ya when you come back to blogland!

Anonymous said...

I loved reading about Smokey's history. Thank you for that. Yes, the fires are pretty ferocious right now here in California, but the weather has cooled down a bit and that really helps the firefighters. We've had some smokey skies here, but fortunately here on the north coast we have escaped both the heat and the fires. Have a wonderful break, and enjoy your visit with the family.

Lowcarb team member said...

Very interesting post ... and more and more wild-fires are such a big problem.

Have a good time with your company.

All the best Jan

Arkansas Patti said...

Did not know that rascal was that old. He looks good for 71. Think I remember him from the 50's version of the burned paws.
Have a great time with your company. Hope the weather co-operates and is cool and dry.

Ms. A said...

Happy Birthday, Smokey!

troutbirder said...

Have fun on your break....:)

Vicki Lane said...

Sounds like a great place to take kids. Enjoy your break!

KB said...

I'd love to go to a Smokey T. Bear birthday party. That sounds like such fun!!! We had a close call today with a car accident starting a fire downhill of us. For us, that's the worst case scenario because a wildfire will race up a steep hill. The helicopters dumped water on it while zooming low over our house for 30 minutes, going to and fro water sources. They got it out very quickly. Thank goodness for our firefighters!!!!

I'm sorry that I've been absent. We leave all electronic devices behind when we take our camping trips!

KGMom said...

We have a friend, here in central PA, who had a job where one of his tasks was to do recordings. He has a strong deep voice. SO, in Pennsylvania, for a while, he was the voice of Smokey Bear for PSAs done by our Department of Natural Resources.


Enjoy your time with friends. Always special!

Tara said...

Yes, thanks for the low-down on Smokey! What a fun event. Love that there are no lines at the cake tables!

Enjoy your company!