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Norfolk, Potsdam to host regional firefighters’ event

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NORFOLK - Norfolk and Potsdam will jointly play host to a traditional get-together for volunteer firefighters from around the north country, Norfolk Volunteer Fire Department representative Jason A. Clark told the Norfolk Town Board Monday night.

Each year a community in the north country hosts the annual Convention and Firematic Drill of the Northern New York Volunteer Firemen’s Association, a three-day event that will run from June 6 to June 8. The festivities will be split between Potsdam and Norfolk and will include a variety of training, informational and entertainment activities for firemen and some events that will involve the local community. Louisville hosted the event last year.

“I think it’s a great way to bring people into town. Firemen races are always popular,” Supervisor Charles Pernice said.

Under the proposal, the convention would kick off June 6 with a golf tournament at the Potsdam Golf and Country Club. The next day, Potsdam would host an NNYVFA meeting, a fallen firefighters memorial service, a block dance, and a disaster drill in the vicinity of the Pine Street arena the evening of June 7.

An annual parade would also take place the morning of June 8 in Potsdam, followed by a variety of firemen’s races in Norfolk beginning at 1:30 p.m. The races include a fire-hose target-practice competition, a truck race and ladder race. There would also be games of chance, food, beverages and raffle drawings throughout the day in Norfolk.

The Norfolk Volunteer Fire Department has a team to compete in the races, but Potsdam does not, Potsdam Fire Chief Tim Jerome said.

“It’s an honor to have all these fire departments come in and see our facilities and our tactics,” Mr. Jerome said. “It’s nice to get out and see other departments and see how they operate.”

Mr. Clark broached the idea of holding a community-wide garage sale that Saturday with the Norfolk Town Board. He sees it as a good way to engage convention attendees during the downtime between the parade and the race and to generate a little cash for people in the community. “It might be a good way to publicize the town and put dollars in people’s pockets,” he said.

Mr. Clark estimated the total cost of the convention to be in the $7,500 to $10,000 range. To cover these costs, local fire officials plan to produce an advertising book for local businesses.

“The community is generally supportive (of the convention), and we’ve got some very supportive businessses in the Potsdam/Norfolk area,” Mr. Clark said. “We don’t think (funding) will be an issue.”

The annual convention can be held in any town covered by NNYVFA, which includes the counties of St. Lawrence, Jefferson, Lewis, Oswego, Oneida, Herkimer, Hamilton, Franklin, Clinton and Essex.

The reason behind having two communities co-host the event, Mr. Jerome said, is because Potsdam’s fire department has neither a race team or the facilities to host the races.

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