Lake Harmony firemen roll out the red carpet
ELSA KERSCHNER/TIMES NEWS Liz Lennon, wife of Ralph Lennon, fire chief, baked three large cakes for the open house.
A table in the Lake Harmony fire hall held banners that will be carried by Boy Scouts to announce the 10 divisions of today's fire company parade, the culminating event of the three-day state Firemen's Association Convention held in Kidder Township.
Along with the scouts, there will be 200 trucks in today's parade as well as 10 bands in the line of march, including four marching bands from the Carbon County schools of Jim Thorpe, Lehighton, Weatherly and Panther Valley that will participate.
Lake Harmony and Albrightsville fire companies are co-sponsoring the 2011 convention, the 132nd since the first such gathering was held in Reading in 1880.
Both companies held open houses to start things off on Thursday. Fire Chief Ralph Lennon said it was the first big event in Lake Harmony's new firehouse. A Kistler Buildings' representative was among the guests at the open house. Kistler constructed the new building, located across the street from the former facility.
Lennon proudly noted that the company came home from a convention in New Jersey last week with five trophies.
Companies must apply to hold the convention. Applicants are required to have at least 500 hotel-motel rooms available and have the local government behind the effort.
Lennon said when there are few applicants, state representatives must seek out an area willing to host the event.
"It's more work then we expected," Lennon said.
The convention provides hands-on training for firemen, an expo to demonstrate new equipment and displays of old equipment. The Lake Harmony company has some very old pieces on display at the Galleria where the expo is being held.
Miss Pennsylvania attended the Beef and Beer dinner on Friday night and crowned the queen and princess of the convention. Among the contestants were Lennon's granddaughter, Rachel Lennon, who is sponsored by West End Fire Company of Quakertown, which is where she lives. The winner was chosen by the members of the public who paid a dollar to vote.
In the hall, Firehouse Dolls calendars were being sold. They are done tastefully and do not insult the girls, said the vendor.
Lennon's wife, Liz, made three cakes and as she cut them, they rapidly disappeared.
The rain poured down at times on Friday, but there were hopes it would clear for Saturday's big parade.