There's a special event being held in Carbon County next month. It's the 132nd annual convention and parade of the Pa. State Firemen's Association.
Hosting this year's convention and parade are the Lake Harmony and Albrightsville Volunteer Fire Companies.
The highlight will be the parade on Saturday, Sept. 24, although the convention itself begins on Wednesday, Sept. 21.
The parade begins at 1 p.m. at the Lake Harmony Fire Company and concludes at the Galleria. Featured will be marching units, apparatus, bands, and rescue squads from throughout the state.
As far as we could research, and according to the State Convention Web site, this is the first time the state convention was ever held in Carbon County. Generally the convention and parade are held in larger cities. Last year it was in Wilkes-Barre.
Next year, it will be in Norristown.
The Four County Firemen's Association, which includes fire companies in Carbon, Lehigh, Monroe, Northampton, and Pike Counties, was hosted by local fire departments many times. But this annual event is struggling. This year nobody hosted the parade and convention.
Yet, Lake Harmony and Albrightsville fire companies have met the challenge of hosting the state event. It's one of the biggest such conventions in the country.
Hopefully there will be plenty of local support. We know most local fire departments will be participating, but it would be nice to see the parade route lined solid with spectators.
Convention headquarters will be located at the Split Rock Resort in the Galleria Hotel. The Galleria has a massive sports complex where there will be hands on fire training Thursday and Friday, a large 100 plus booth fire expo on Friday and Saturday, and all of the parade festivities on Saturday.
Steve Lilick, local chairman for the convention, said, "One of our goals this year is to celebrate the proud history of the fire service by showcasing hand, horse and motorized antique fire apparatus. We will be displaying many of these units in our convention headquarters in the Galleria during the fire expo."
The convention isn't only about firefighting. It's going to be a showcase for Carbon County tourism. You can bet many of the people attending the convention will be visiting other Carbon and Pocono communities.
We applaud the Lake Harmony and Albrightsville Fire Companies for their ambition and efforts in hosting this year's convention.
We're sure it will be a great success.
By RON GOWER