Enjoy ‘Community S’mores’ on fire tables designed, built by CHS Industrial Tech students

Times Report
Crookston Times

    The Crookston community and its visitors over Ox Cart Days are invited downtown for “Community S’mores” Friday August 20, the festival announced over the weekend. Each participant will be able to roast marshmallows on custom-built fire tables and pair it with chocolate and graham crackers to make s’mores with family and friends.

    The idea for the new event spurred off a 2019 Hershey’s commercial where the famous chocolate company wanted to lend a hand in helping neighbors get to know each other better so they arrived with fire tables and fire pits for people to make s’mores together.

    Crookston High School Industrial Technology teacher Travis Oliver and high school students in his classes designed and built the fire tables which consist of maintenance-free tops, stainless fire troughs, custom controls, a welded metal frame and propane tank housing. They used local materials from NAPA Crookston Welding, Northern Lumber, and Hardware Hank, and worked throughout the end of the school year. Crookston Housing & Economic Development Authority (CHEDA) heard about the planned project and jumped on the opportunity to help sponsor it saying they were happy to be “a part of the family-friendly community-wide event that will bring people together.”

    The Crookston Fire Department/Association recently picked up the completed tables and will store them, plus will help supervise the event in August.

    Oliver said, going into it during his first year of teaching Beginning Metals at CHS, it was a unique project to work on.

    “We, as a class, had the opportunity to fabricate two tables for the Ox Cart Festival. This consisted of cutting, welding and painting the frames, cutting and Kreg jigging the composite tops and dropping in the fire trays complete with a key valve and a spark ignitor,” he explained. “This was a nice project for my students to work on.”

    “I want to commend the students that helped to complete these projects,” Oliver went on. “Erik Coauette really took a lead role on this project. Haden Michaelson and Evan Christensen were the second in command in my opinion. Joseph Brule, Ethan Bowman, Ryan Abeld, Jacob Hesby, Tristan Luckow, and Gage Nelson all lent a hand in the process, plus there might be a few other students that spent a class day on the project as well.”

    Oliver admitted that not all aspects of the project went “perfectly smooth”, but said it was a great experience for the students to see the process and complete a community-based project.

Left to right, firefighters Garett Bengtson and Bob Magsam along with CHS Industrial Technology teacher Travis Oliver stand next to the two fire tables.
A look at the fire table while lit