Upper Sandusky Travel Blog› entry 1 of 6 › view all entries
First, what is the NOVFA? Northwest Ohio Volunteer Firefighters Association
Second, what is the date? June 20 & 21, 2008
Third, where is the convention? Upper Sandusky, Ohio!
Each year, a member organization hosts this convention, bringing thousands of firefighters, Emergency Medical personnel, their families, and other interested individuals to their town or city. Our small city of 6000 could double in size over the weekend. There are many activities, contests, food, drink, and fellowship. Our local department - Upper Sandusky Fire Dept. - is hosting this event for the first time since 1979. Not only will the firemen benefit from hosting the convention, Upper's businesses will receive a "shot in the arm.
What activities can be expected? Registration begins Friday morning. Those member department registering will have voting privileges during the business meeting. At the convention headquarters, people can purchase convention t-shirts, souvenier cups and coins, learn about restaurants and local businesses, and meet fellow firefighters and EMS. Also, departments must register to be able to "cruise" on Friday evening (I will explain later).
There will be a water ball contest. This is where a team of firefighters battle another team trying to shoot a stream of water to move a ball on a cable. It is similar to tug of war with water! Many take this very seriously. I find it humorous to watch!
There is also a Queens Contest. Departments have the opportunity to choose their own queen to participate in the NOVFA contest. I'm on the committee planning this event. During the past few years, this contest has been long and drawn out with technical glitches. It is my responsibility to make this contest the best run yet! Headaches? A few, but hopefully all the planning over the past year will pay off with a favorable end result! I was told to expect 15-18 girls aged 16-18. Not this year - we have 24 entries! I'm working through all the details of organizing something like this, and so far, I'm surviving!
Friday night is a fun night for the firemen. The "cruise" is a time to unwind, make friends, and have fun! Each registered vehicle is allow to cruise the main streets of town - lights and sirens! Each driver is responsible for the riders and their beverages. Of course, there will be no drinking and driving! This begins around 5:00 pm until 11:00 pm. There will be quiet zones (hospital, nursing homes, etc.), but promptly at 11:00 pm all sirens will be turned off, and drivers will move to the campground. There, the festivities continue into the wee hours of the morning. At this time, more than 110 campsites have been reserved, so it will be one big party time.
Saturday morning the business meeting takes place, and preparations begin for the Grand Parade. The parade could last for two hours and include fire trucks, equipment, high school bands, twirlers, floats, and emergency vehicles. Following the parade, a firemen's challenge takes place and a hot air balloon lift off (weather permitting). The day is capped off with a free concert featuring a Jimmy Buffett style band called the Parrots of the Caribbean.
So, this is a very large undertaking by the local firemen. By the way, in case you are wondering how I got involved - my husband is a 23 year veteran of the department and now serves as Chief. I can't escape the madness! More later!