Firebells and fanfares on the streets of Grand Forks
A fanfare is bringing in the month of August in Grand Forks, a fanfare of fire trucks and firebells that is. This weekend the Grand Forks Fire Department is hosting “Firebells and Fanfare” event gathering of antique fire fighting apparatus from throughout the Pacific Northwest.
Firebells started with the Victoria Fire Department, but has been held in a number of cities over the past 15 years.
This year, the volunteer firefighters in Grand Forks are organizing the event and expect to have more than 40 pieces of equipment ranging from around the 1860’s to a brand-new truck or two. There is confirmed attendance of equipment and fire fighters from Alberta, all over B.C. including many from the Kootenays and Okanagan, Washington, and Oregon.
The volunteers of the Grand Forks department have five antiques which they restore, including a 1901 Waterous Steam Pumper, a 1929 Chevrolet Engine, and a 1944 Bickle/Seagrave Engine.
A parade of all the vehicles will commence on Saturday at 11:00 a.m. from the Grand Forks Arena downtown via 68 Avenue and Kettle River Drive to Market Avenue where the street will be closed to traffic and all of the fire engines will be on display throughout the afternoon. Several of the apparatus in the parade will be horse-drawn or hand-pulled, as they would have been in their day.
On Sunday from 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. many of the trucks will be at City Park where they will be doing water pumping demonstrations.
“We’re particularly excited to have Victoria’s fully-restored 1899 Steam-driven Pumper coming and taking part in the live pumping event,” said Kevin McKinnon of the Grand Forks fire department. “Grand Forks Fire/Rescue also holds an annual fundraising event called a “Ladder-a-thon,” in which we set up our 50 foot ladder truck and have members at the top for a 24-hour period (in shifts).”
McKinnon said that this event is scheduled for the same weekend and will run from 3:00 p.m. Friday to 3:00 p.m. Saturday.
“This will be the 10th year we’ve held this event on the August long weekend. Funds raised in previous years have gone toward cancer research, the local food bank, and restoration of Grand Forks’ antique fire trucks,” said McKinnon. The ladder truck will be set up at the intersection of Market Ave and 3rd Street throughout the events on Friday and Saturday.