Where's the fire?Firefighters from around the state will gather in Alexandria starting on Thursday for the State Firefighters Conference.
By: By Celeste Beam, Staff Reporter, Alexandria Echo Press
Firefighters from around the state will gather in Alexandria starting on Thursday for the State Firefighters Conference.
About 135 fire departments will be represented at this year’s 133rd conference.
Alexandria was chosen to host this year’s event after a bid was made for it last year. The Alexandria Fire Department has plans to bid for the event again in 2013.
According to Alexandria Fire Marshal Dennis Stark, the Alexandria lakes area has played host to the annual convention several times, including the first time in 1889 and then again in 1910, 1956, 1969, 1981, 1989, 1999 and five years ago in 2003.
Although most of the activities during the three-day event are geared toward firefighters, Stark said the public is invited to a grand parade Saturday, June 7 at 2:30 p.m.
The parade, which features 120 units, will begin on 12th Avenue. It will then proceed north on Broadway to 5th Avenue West, ending at the Douglas County Fairgrounds.
Stark noted that after the parade, there will be several fire rigs and other units that were part of the parade on display at the fairgrounds for the public to take a closer look.
He also noted that the economic impact the fire conference has on the community “is huge.”
“Economically, it’s a big deal,” said Stark, adding that there will be close to 900 people, including 500 firefighters and their guests, coming to Alexandria for the State Firefighters Conference.
Additionally, during the conference, there are 40 exhibitors.
“The fire department as a whole appreciates the support we have received from the community,” Stark said. “And we want to thank all the firefighters for coming to Alexandria.”
Besides the parade, the firefighters will participate in educational classes, tours, meetings, banquets and golfing, among other activities.