Firefighter Convention Begins In Westfield

WESTFIELD – More than 1,000 visitors from 45 volunteer fire departments are expected to be in Westfield through Saturday for the 2013 Convention of the Southwestern Association of Volunteer Firemen.

Registration opened Wednesday in host department Westfield’s fire hall.

“They’re just starting to get in,” said General Chairman Jim Pacanowski, a decades-long veteran of the Westfield Department.

A kickoff dinner was held at the Clinton Street hall for early arrivals.

Many of the visitors will make camp in what are called “dugouts” located on streets throughout the village.

Today the convention’s business meeting is scheduled from 9 a.m. to noon at Westfield Academy and Central School. The school will also be the venue for a memorial service Friday at 9 a.m.

Following the hourlong memorial service an awards ceremony is scheduled, also at WACS.

The fun factor has not been ignored by convention planners and Friday afternoon will feature villagewide dugout competitions, Firematics Contests as well as competition among the many emergency medical responders who are on hand.

A comic parade will line up on Cottage Street at 6:30 p.m. and step off from Cottage a half-hour later. Various parade awards will follow starting about 8:30 p.m. in the fire hall.

Music at the hall will be provided from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. by Kool Toonz.

The Grande Parade will march through the village from WACS beginning at 3 p.m. on Saturday. Awards for this parade will be presented in the fire hall starting at 7:30 p.m., as the convention concludes.

Various firefighting equipment will be shown by vendors at the fire hall today through Saturday at 3 p.m.

A hospitality bar will open at noon each day and remain open till 1 a.m., except Saturday when it will serve only until 9 p.m.

A complete schedule and map of dugout locations can be found at under SWAVF 2013 Convention.