Fire department to celebrate 75 years with town-wide celebration

By Annie Gentile - ReminderNews
South Windsor - posted Wed., Aug. 21, 2013
(L-R) Fire Chief Kevin Cooney, 75th Anniversary Chairman Andrew Hildebrand, Kate
(L-r) Fire Chief Kevin Cooney, 75th Anniversary Chairman Andrew Hildebrand, Kate Hildebrand, and Town-wide Celebration Chairman Greg Roberts invite the entire community to help celebrate the South Windsor Volunteer Fire Department's 75th Anniversary. Photo by Annie Gentile.

South Windsor is going to see a huge flood in September - that is, a huge flood of fire trucks. During the weekend of Sept. 20-22, fire trucks and apparatus from across the state will be pouring into town. In concert with the South Windsor Fire Department’s 75th anniversary celebration, the all-volunteer organization will also be hosting the 130th Connecticut State Firemen’s Association Convention.

“This is a double-faceted weekend for us and we’ll be starting with a kick-off event on September 15,” said Andrew Hildebrand, 75th anniversary chairman. That event, the “Stop, Drop, and Roll 5K Challenge Run,” will be held on Sunday, Sept. 15, with registration ($25) beginning at 8 a.m. at the Community Center. The race will begin at 9 a.m., and competitors will run around trails surrounding Nevers Park. Similar to a “Tough Mudder” event, the race combines a 5K run with obstacle course challenges. Information about the 5K run and all of the 75th anniversary events can be found online at

On Friday, Sept. 20, the SWFD will be hosting the CFSA’s Executive Committee luncheon at the Mill on the River Restaurant on Ellington Road, as well as other events. Convention-goers will also be invited to attend an evening welcome reception at Pub 2 at 59 John Fitch Blvd. (Route 5).

Most of the CSFA annual business will be private and conducted at the high school on Saturday, followed by a luncheon at Nevers Road Park at Rotary Pavilion, Hildebrand said. However, an “old-tyme” fire fighter muster competition at 2 p.m. on Saturday at the South Windsor High School lower athletic fields will be free and open to the public, and everyone is encouraged to come and see the excitement. Teams of seven from various fire departments will compete in timed events, including an old-fashioned bucket brigade, a midnight alarm, a tug-of-war type waterball event, a ladder climb, and other feats. “The Explorers, our junior members from 14- to 17-year-olds will be participating in this event,” Hildebrand said. He also noted that the South Windsor Farmers’ Market, normally held on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., will still be held, and those who come to the market are encouraged to stay and observe the muster.

“Our biggest day will be Sunday, when we will be holding a parade,” Hildebrand said. “Fifty-five fire departments have registered and we expect to have 500 to 600 marchers and 75 to 80 pieces of fire apparatus, including new and antique trucks, and possibly horse-drawn fire apparatus,” he said. The parade, which steps off at noon on Sunday, Sept. 22, will follow a route from Sullivan Avenue, to Ayers Road, and on to Nevers Road, ending at the high school driveway. The marchers will proceed to the left to Rotary Pavilion for a town-wide picnic celebration, and fire apparatus will proceed right up the driveway for staging in the high school parking lot. “Being able to go up and look at all the fire trucks lined up will be a kind of heaven for the kids,” Hildebrand said.

The parade will include various school marching bands, fife and drum corps, bagpipers, businesses and civic organizations. Groups interested in participating in the parade should contact Hildebrand at 860-474-5525 or by e-mail at Residents should expect to see some road closures along the parade route. Shuttle buses to and from the events will also be made available, and route details can be found on the aforementioned anniversary celebration website.

Greg Roberts, town-wide celebration chairman, said the parade will culminate in a large outdoor party for the entire town at Rotary Pavilion and will be free to attend. Beginning at noon and running to 5:30 p.m., the party will include vendors, exhibitor booths by local businesses, crafters and food. The band Tirebiter will be performing first at the picnic, followed by a one-hour children’s event, and then followed by the Savage Brothers Band. “This should be a shindig that beats any other,” said Roberts. “It’s an opportunity to show the town what we are and what we’re made of. [With these events] we’re trying to make sure we give back to the community and to thank the community for being such a great asset for us.”

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