Fayette City VFD hosts 75th county fire convention
The 75th annual Fayette County Fireman's Convention makes its way to Fayette City next week after an eight-year wait.
There's a full slate of events scheduled Sunday through July 20, including events for children of convention participants.
“That's one thing that Hopwood and Farmington did last year when they hosted,” Fayette City fire Chief Jim Eley said.
“We really wanted to keep that part of it, because it makes it a true family event. It used to feel like the (firefighters') kids were left out, but now they won't be.”
The convention opens 4 p.m. Sunday with a memorial service at the Fayette City United Presbyterian Church on Second Street.
It will be followed by the Past Presidents' Banquet at 5:30 p.m. in the Washington Township Volunteer Fire Company Social Hall.
The guest speaker will be Chief Ronald J. Siarnicki, executive director of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. Siarnicki is originally from Monessen and got his start as a Monessen Hilltop firefighter.
Fire departments in Fayette County tend to host the convention in conjunction with other events or anniversaries, Eley said.
When Fayette City last hosted in 2005, it was the department's 175-year anniversary. This year is the convention's 75th year.
Eley said he doesn't expect differences between the convention eight years ago and this year, except for new faces and the youth events.
The main events each night will begin at 6:30 p.m. on Second Street with the food booths opening between 5 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
On Monday, the firefighters' and kids' bucket brigade events will take place.
Tuesday, the annual battle of the barrel will be staged on Water Street.
Wednesday's main event will be the hose lay competition and the kids' bike races.
On Thursday, departments will compete in tug of war and truck pull.
The gear scramble will take place Friday. Children will get their chance to try a battle of the barrel.
The convention will conclude Saturday. The annual firemen's parade will begin at 5 p.m.
The Fayette City Presbyterian Church will operate the drink booth with gyros, french fries, bingo and souvenirs provided by the Fayette City Volunteer Fire Department.
The Fayette City-Washington Township Lions Club will man the Chuck-A-Luck wheel.
Belle Vernon Area Youth Football will sell hot dogs, hamburgers and popcorn, while the Washington Township Youth Association will offer funnel cakes, soft pretzels and slushies.
“Saturday morning, we'll have our end-of-the-year business meeting and election of new officers,” Eley said.
“It brings in some revenue that we usually don't get.”
Eley also serves as Fayette City council president.
“For a week, we get to showcase our little town here and let a lot of others from the county see the pride we have,” he added.
Jeremy Sellew is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-684-2667.