LONG LAKE - This year marks the 75th year the Long Lake Volunteer Fire Department has been serving its local community.
Under the current leadership of president Jim Piraino, chief Shawn Wright and assistant chiefs Gregg Bruce and Jeff Woodworth, the department is planning a 75th anniversary celebration extravaganza in the town of Long Lake the weekend of July 23.
Wright has been leading the department as chief for 10 years and is excited about what the department has accomplished not just during his service, but over the past 75 years.
"We have come a long way," he said.
The department has seen the community lose a lot, he said, referring to the Blarney Stone Restaurant that was destroyed by fire last Memorial Day. However, they have been fortunate enough to save a lot as well, he acknowledged.
On the evening of Friday, July 23, a local DJ will kick off the weekend at 6:30 p.m. On Saturday, July 24, a parade will begin at Rice Road and welcomes all interested parties to design floats. Contact Tony Clark at 634-5503 for information on being part of the parade.
The main event will take place after the parade at 1 p.m. - a waterball tournament welcomes area fire departments to compete against each other in this themed event. Competitors will accompany tier pumper trucks to Long Lake and use hoses to move balls over certain obstacles.
"We have invited roughly 80 fire departments to participate," said Paula Piraino, department secretary. "It's shaping up to be an exciting event."
There is a $100 registration fee for competing departments and they are encouraged to sign-up soon.
The afternoon will continue with family fun and food at the ballfield in the hamlet of Long Lake. The DJ will return from 6:30-10:30 p.m. Saturday and fireworks will go off at dusk from the lake.
"We want to encourage members from surrounding communities as well as Long Lake locals - young and old - to come out in support of the fire department," said Piraino. "Their service deserves to be celebrated.