Fun at Foam Frolic

Foam Frolick, Ipswich, Mass
Unrecognizable children. Might be yours.

It’s an Ipswich tradition so old some of the parents took part when they were kids.

It’s the annual Foam Frolic that marries firefighter training with good, old-fashioned fun.

The exercise is simple enough: Firefighters take out their 100-foot ladder and a 1,000-gallon tanker truck to practice spraying foam on Class B fires. Those are fires with flammable liquids — such as gasoline — where adding water will just make the flames float all over the place.

Meanwhile, David Wallace, Ipswich Recreation Committee chairman, organizes the fun.

Kids of all ages

Unsure, and watching the build-up with his dad Eric, was 15-month-old Gabriel Latusky. Asked if he would be going in, Eric replied, “If he goes in it, I’ll be going in.” In the end, Gabriel opted to watch from the safety of his dad’s arms.

Owen Guza, 5, had no such qualms. He came in his swimsuit and was itching for the foam to start. “He’s exicited. He wants it to start,” his Mom said.

Owen Guza, before and after
Owen Guza, before and after

The Foam Frolic began 29 years ago as a training exercise, said Bob Gambale, himself a former firefighter. Some kids and their parents were nearby and the kids asked if they could run through the foam.

“We found a new idea had been born,” Gambale said. The event has been running so long that kids from that era have grown up to have children of their own.

“Some of the adults we see here today were children running through the foam 29 years ago,” he said.

In addition to introducing the event, Gambale had the important job of encouraging Wallace and Lt. Jeff French into standing under the foam as the first to get doused. French got “volunteered” because he is acting fire chief for the week.

A voucher for each child from the local Dairy Queen was riding on their participation, Gambale said. They didn’t need much prodding, and Wallace had come prepared with his swimming goggles.

Now you see them... David Wallace and Lt. Jeff French, Ipswich Fire Department
Now you see them … David Wallace and Lt. Jeff French, Ipswich Fire Department
Foam Frolick, Ipswich, Mass
It’s after 11 a.m. Do you know who your child is?
Foam Frolick, Ipswich, Mass
Boy meets suds
Foam Frolick, Ipswich, Mass
Firefighter Jeremy Dalton disperses the foam
Foam Frolick, Ipswich, Mass
Kids in foam