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Potsdam, Norfolk fire officials hope to co-host annual fire convention

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POTSDAM — The leaders of the Potsdam and Norfolk volunteer fire departments are vying to bring a tradition among regional firemen to their communities.

Each year a different community hosts the Convention and Firematic Drill of the Northern New York Volunteer Firemen’s Association, and firemen for the departments in Potsdam and Norfolk are in the early stages of submitting a bid to host the annual event. Louisville hosted the event this year.

The three-day event will run from June 6 to June 8 and will include a variety of training, informational and entertainment activities.

“For firemen, it’s kind of an annual tradition. It’s something we look forward to,” Norfolk Volunteer Fire Department Vice President Jason A. Clark said. “It gives us the opportunity to spend time with our brothers and sisters in other departments and catch up with good friends.”

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 association meeting, a fallen firefighters memorial service, a block dance and a disaster drill in the vicinity of the Pine Street arena.

An annual parade would take place the morning of June 8 in Potsdam, followed by a variety of firemen’s competitions in Norfolk beginning at 12:30 p.m. These include a fire-hose target-practice competition, a truck race and ladder race. There would be games of chance, food, beverages and raffle drawings throughout the day in Norfolk. The Norfolk Volunteer Fire Department has a team to compete, but Potsdam does not, Potsdam Fire Chief Tim Jerome said.

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

“We don’t think (funding) will be an issue,” Mr. Clark said.

The association includes departments in St. Lawrence, Jefferson, Lewis, Oswego, Oneida, Herkimer, Hamilton, Franklin, Clinton and Essex counties.

It will receive hosting bids at its mid-winter meeting Jan. 13 in West Carthage. Norfolk and Potsdam are the only communities that have prepared a hosting bid at this time, Mr. Clark said.

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