Owego to Host Central NY Fire Convention in July

Owego to Host Central NY Fire Convention in JulyBill Ballard and Steve Gavin hang the 1970 Central NY Fire Convention banner on Owego Central Fire Station for the convention held in Owego that year. Provided photo.

Owego Hose Teams, Inc. in partnership with the Owego Fire Department is hosting the 127th annual Central New York Firemen’s Association (CNYFA) convention July 9-12 in downtown Owego. Representing 20 counties comprised of 500 fire departments, CNYFA serves the volunteer fire and emergency medical services of Central New York through education, legislation and recognition, while building camaraderie with its members and partners.

A full weekend of events for the convention is planned. On Thursday, July 9, a welcome reception will take place at American Legion Post #401 with DJ Tommy D of Flat Rat Adventures.  

Owego to Host Central NY Fire Convention in July
Owego firefighters inspect the Baker Fireman’s Fountain prior to the 1953 Central NY Fire Convention held in Owego that year. The fountain was repainted especially for the occasion. Provided photo.

Friday, July 10, will begin with a golf outing at Tioga Golf Club in the morning followed by a block party in the Flats area of the village in front of Croton Hose Co. #3 Fire Station on Talcott Street. Bob Powell Entertainment will be spinning your favorite tunes of today and yesterday at the party.  

Firehouse Subs will have their mobile fire food truck on hand. “Fun” firematics between area firefighters will include “midnight run” races, waterball, and garden hose races.  

The Broome County Firefighters Association Safety Trailer will be onsite with bounce houses for children. A children’s hose race will also take place. After the block party, fireworks will be held at Draper Park on Front Street in Owego with an after party at the John Barleycorn Tavern featuring the Beatles Band. 

Saturday, July 11, will kick off with a memorial service and awards ceremony at the Baker Fireman’s Fountain in the Courthouse Square, followed by fire service meetings at the VFW Post #1371 on Main Street.  

Owego to Host Central NY Fire Convention in July
Owego’s Croton Hose Co. #3 parades at the 1987 Central NY Fire Convention held in Owego that year, showing off their firematic trophies. Provided photo.

Firematic hose races will take place on Main Street between Church Street and Spencer Avenue in the afternoon, followed by a grand firefighter’s parade. Races include the ladder, wye, and straight lay. Cash prizes and trophies will be awarded to hose race and parade winners. 

A dinner will conclude the day’s events at the VFW followed by an after party at the Rainbow Trail on North Avenue with music by the Kitchen Sink Band, the Blues Brothers of Central New York, and the Gents. 

Owego last hosted the convention that is rotated yearly throughout the state in 2010. CNYFA and the convention hold special meaning for Owego firefighters, as the association’s founding member and first president was Owego’s own Past Owego Fire Chief, Frank M. Baker. Baker also served as president of the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York (FASNY) and is widely known today for his charitable contributions that live on in Owego.   

Owego Hose Team Member Joe Renda participates in hose races at the 1995 Central NY Fire Convention held in Owego that year. Provided photo.

These contributions include the recently restored Baker Fireman’s Fountain donated in memory of his son George H. Baker and the clock tower atop Owego Central Fire Station. This year also marks the 125th anniversary of the Central convention, which was first held in Owego in 1895. Other years that Owego hosted the convention include 1953, 1970, 1987, 1995 and 2010.

The public is invited to participate at all events except the fire service meeting on Saturday morning, July 11.  

Convention information, to include registration for the convention golf outing, dinner and parade, are available on the hose team website at www.OwegoHoseTeams.com. Sponsorship opportunities are also available.  

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