Throughout the year, special events have been taking place to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Iroquois Fire Station, the biggest of which will be playing host to the 104th annual Eastern Ontario Firefighters Association Convention and games June 17th and 18th.
This is the sixth time Iroquois has hosted the convention, having also done so in its 50th anniversary year.
The convention includes some meetings and events for that are members only, but the marquee event is the firefighter field day on June 18th, which welcomes everyone to come out and cheer their firefighters as they compete in a number of wet and dry races showcasing speed and skill.
In the past, the races took place in front of the fire station, but this year, the games have moved to a larger space along Beach Street, between Elizabeth Drive and College Street.
Participants will also be setting up camp adjacent to the games between Beach Street and County Road 2 for the night.
Iroquois Station Deputy Chief Philip Thompson and Assistant Deputy Chief Ray Hunter are looking forward to the new venue and the added camaraderie that the camping will bring to this year’s games.
Because the 75th anniversary of the station is such a special occasion, a Department of Nation Defence flyover has been arranged at the open of the games, scheduled for 9 a.m. June 18th.
Thompson expects about 150 participants, plus their families, to be in town for the games.
Participating in the games will be South Dundas Fire and Emergency Services’ Iroquois Station team, and teams of firefighters from Athens, Augusta, Beckwith, Carleton Place, Edwardsburgh/Cardinal, Mississippi Mills, Prescott, Winchester, Mountain, Morewood and Chesterville.
Iroquois firefighters have in the past enjoyed much success at the games. Thompson said that the Iroquois team has its name on the top team award 22 times, and 19 of those were in consecutive years.
He was very proud of last year’s effort which earned them second place team honours, but says it has been a few years since the local team has won it.
He doesn’t expect to win the top prize this year, but says there’s always hope. “It’s pretty hard for the host team to win. We’ve done it before, but we’ll see.”
Although the competition plays a big part of the weekend, Thompson says it’s really more about the fun and camaraderie.
Hunter adds that it’s nice to have the community involved and that it’s great that this event will be part of a great weekend of festivities in Iroquois that will also include the local Bluegrass Festival and community yard sale day.
The games are expected to wrap up around 4 p.m. That will be followed by a chicken dinner being served up in front of the high school. The public is welcome to purchase dinners.
At 7 p.m. the parade will take place featuring all of the participants. It will start at the public school and end at the high school in front of the judges stand where the awards will be handed out.
A dance, with entertainment by Rogue will follow at the Legion. (There are limited tickets available for the public.)
Now and throughout the event, 50/50 tickets are being sold, and Thompson recommends trying your luck at the draw. “The last time we held the event, the winner’s portion was $3,400, and we are hoping to exceed that,” he said.