North Tonawanda Fireman’s Day Parade

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By: Brendan McDonough

Reporter for North Tonawanda

The crowd may have been smaller but there was still plenty of support for Fireman across North Tonawanda.

At the annual Fireman’s Day Parade, people of all ages lined the streets to watch the parade, for many it is an annual tradition.

“The boys really like all the fire trucks and it’s nice to get out,” said Sara Roberts from North Tonawanda.

The parade combines both the City of Tonawanda and North Tonawanda.

In it there was trucks from both companies, antique fire trucks and bands that had everyone giving thanks and appreciation for what the Fire Men and Women do.

“It’s great it is a long standing tradition and gets everyone out and get a chance to show what the fire departments have to offer the community. The volunteers and the paid firemen working together, they have really done a lot for this town, all through its history and we like to maintain that tradition,” said Art Pappas, Mayor of North Tonawanda.

City officials admit the attendance is low and has been declining over the past few years. Next year they are hoping to change the start time from 2pm to earlier in the day, when more people might be available to watch it.

Through Facebook and other social media outlets they have been trying to get the word out about the parade.

“I think the parade is wonderful, but I am really disappointed that more people did not come out to watch it. Just by looking at the groups that are marching there is a lot less than there used to be, we have a shortage and need more volunteer firefighters,” said Charles Stuart, North Tonawada Fire Department.

There may have been less people watching the parade but one thing that is still popular is the older fire trucks. One even dates back to the 1920’s. They can be difficult and expensive to maintain. There is a 1957 LaFrance pumper that is especially popular with North Tonawanda residents. Fire officials says it was still in service until the year 2000.

For many it’s not the trucks that many the day special but seeing the men marching,  hits home for some residents.

“It is a great parade and my son is a fireman, so it is a great parade. I think it is good that we see the people that do the first responders and are there and put their life on the line for us, this is just an awesome thing to come to every year,” Karen Melvaugh, North Tonawanda Resident.

The parade began at the City of Tonawanda’s Fire headquarters on Fletcher Street, merged onto Main Street, and then crossed over the Renaissance Bridge into North Tonawanda and finished on Goundry Street.

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