The Northwood Fire Department will be hosting the 140th Northwest Ohio Volunteer Fire Association (NOVFA) convention June 20-21.
According to Fire Chief Joel Whitmore, the convention is expected to bring in 1,000 firefighters to the city for the two-day event.
“We last hosted this event in 1978,” Whitmore said. “It is nice to bring something good into the community while we celebrate fire service in Ohio. A lot of old friends will be coming to town which should be a breath of fresh air here.”
Many of the events are open to the public, Whitmore said, adding that up to 5,000 people in total are expected to attend. Activities will include a vendor area, association meetings, entertainment, local bands, games, a queen’s contest, and camping. A large parade will close the convention on Saturday.
The NOVFA currently has 8,000 members from across northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan, including Bedford, Luna Pier and Morin Point.
The public will be invited to watch several events involving firefighters including a “waterball” competition.
“We put a big, heavy ball on a table and two firefighting teams use hoses to squirt water at the ball to push the ball across a marker,” he explained. “It is kind of like Tug O’ War with fire hoses.”
The Firefighter Challenge will showcase various firefighting skills including a hose drag, ladder climb, stair climb, and more. It is a physical challenge and a timed event, Whitmore said.
There will be fire trucks - both modern and antique - as well as military type vehicles on display and in the parade.
“We are looking for the support of the local community in making this event a success,” Whitmore said. “The money raised during the convention will be used to purchase equipment for the fire department.”
The fire department is looking for corporate sponsors for the event. Sponsorship levels are Gold Axe at $1,000 or more, which includes one full page ad in the Convention Yearbook, recognition in the yearbook as a major sponsor, recognition at convention headquarters and specific events as well as a free vendor’s booth at the convention.
Silver Axe ($500 - $999) and Bronze Axe ($250 -$499) sponsors will get one full page ad and recognition as a major sponsor in the yearbook as well as recognition at convention headquarters and at specific events.