CAMBRIA – The Cambria Volunteer Fire Company will host the 116th annual convention of the Western New York Volunteer Firemen’s Association on its company grounds July 23-26, drawing firefighters from 11 neighboring counties. It is the first year in the Cambria company’s half-century history it will host the event.
The event will feature everything from a huge parade to a memorial service to honor those volunteers who have died this past year. The event also features competitions, displays and classes for volunteers, as well as entertainment on the company’s grounds at 4631 Cambria-Wilson Road, and much is open to the public.
The public is invited to the annual memorial service, slated for 9 a.m. July 25 at the Cambria United Church of Christ, Lower Mountain Road at Cambria-Wilson Road.
And, everyone enjoys a parade. The Grand Firemen’s Parade will be held from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. July 25 on Cambria-Wilson Road, from Lower Mountain Road to the company grounds.
“Most of the fire companies in Niagara County will have trucks in the parade,” said Howard Morgan, the convention’s chairman and a vice president with the Cambria fire company. “We’re expecting over 1,000 firefighters.”
During the parade, Cambria-Wilson Road will be closed to traffic except for emergencies. The parade lineup will occupy the north side of Lower Mountain Road and will go west toward Shawnee Road. During this time, residents will have access to travel to and from their homes on the south side of road, when given approval to do so by fire police who will be stationed at Cambria-Wilson and Shawnee roads. Public traffic will be diverted from 5 until 7:30 p.m.
The parade competition will offer more than $3,500 in prizes,with the Daniel J. Miller Memorial trophy going to the best overall marching unit.
Volunteer firefighters will enjoy a number of special events over the long weekend, but the public is invited to join them for everything from viewing competitions to visiting the entertainment tent operated evenings on the Cambria grounds.
Volunteer firefighters – and the public – will have ample opportunity to visit vendors’ displays in the main truck hall.
A firefighters’ golf outing at Oak Run Golf Course in Lockport is planned for July 23, as well as a kick-off dinner at the Cambria Banquet Hall, which will feature speakers State Sen. Robert Ortt, R-North Tonawanda, and Sheriff James Voutour.
A ladies auxiliary meeting and luncheon is slated for July 24 at the Wine Trail’s Italian Bistro in Lockport. Other events include a Mercy Flight ground school; past presidents dinner at Danny Sheehan’s Restaurant in Lockport; and EMS competition at Wilson High School. A seminar by the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York will be a highlight of the day’s events.
The Firefighter of the Year awards will be presented at 10 a.m. July 25 in the Cambria Banquet Hall. Nozzle practice will be offered that day, as well as a fire police seminar and training; and seminars provided by the Niagara County Haz-Mat Team; Niagara County Technical Rescue crew; and Niagara County Mobile Command Center.
Three nights of entertainment are planned from 8 p.m. to midnight under a big tent, where participants may purchase food and refreshments. On July 23, Johnston’s DJ Service will provide music and karaoke; on July 24, Black Widow will perform; and on July 25, The Heritage will provide the entertainment.
A full schedule of events may be found at: www.cambriavolunteerfire.com.
The convention’s location is determined by the affiliation of the president of the Western New York Volunteer Firemen’s Association, Morgan explained. Cambria is hosting this year because one of its members, Harold Wollaber Jr., is current president of the association. Next year, the convention will move to Dansville, under incoming association president Darrin Harter, and will return to this area in 2017, when it will be hosted by Frontier Fire Co. in Wheatfield, when Bruce Mack heads the Western New York organization.