STUYVESANT FALLS – After having to cancel the 2020 Columbia County Volunteer Firefighters Convention and Parade due to the COVID-19 pandemic, hundreds of area firefighters and female auxiliary members stand ready to march as the annual event returns next week to Stuyvesant Falls.
The 96th annual convention and parade are scheduled for Friday and Saturday July 30 and 31, said Tim Trowbridge, president of the Columbia County Volunteer Firefighters Association.
So far, 36 fire companies and other organizations from Columbia and surrounding counties are scheduled to march in this year’s convention parade, which departs at 2 p.m. on July 31, Trowbridge said.
The first CCVFA convention and parade was held in Philmont in 1926, after the group was formed a year earlier, said Jeffrey W. French, CCVFA historian. The companies that have hosted the county convention the most are Valatie 8 times, Chatham 8 times, Stuyvesant Falls 6 times and Ghent and Philmont 5 times each, French said.
Stuyvesant Falls last hosted the convention in 2002. The event was to be hosted by CCVFA in Chatham last year, before being canceled, Trowbridge said.
This year’s parade on Saturday will march along County Road 25 between Robin Road and Stuyvesant Falls VFW. Viewing will take place anywhere along the parade route, Trowbridge said.
The Friday night portion of the convention includes meetings, ceremonies, and a free Jarrod concert open to the public. The night is held at the VFW grounds on County Road 25. The night begins with the annual business meeting at 7:30 PM. The meeting will be followed by a ceremony which will reward all 50-year-old members present and honor those who have recently passed away. Awards will be given for outstanding achievement in the fire service during the past year. After the ceremonies, around 9 p.m., Jarrod will play to listen and dance. Refreshments will be available.
The cost of hosting the annual convention varies between $ 30,000 and $ 40,000, which includes all weekend activities and all the various costs of meetings and events throughout the year leading up to the convention. , said Trowbridge.
The main source of funding is the annual directory, which is distributed to firefighters at the convention. The Stuyvesant Falls Fire Company has also hosted several fundraisers over the past year, Trowbridge said.
Following the parade on Saturday, DJ Jack Bogarski will provide music and entertainment at the VFW grounds.
In the past 95 years, only one parade has been rained. This happened in 1960 in Stockport. There have been parades where the rain fell before, during and after, but never as hard as the rain fell in 1960, French said. The long-term forecast for this year’s parade on July 31 is partially sunny and peaks at nearly 80.