WESTFIELD - It has been eight years, but Westfield will once again be hosting the Southwestern Association of Volunteer Firemen's Annual Convention.
Members of the fire department's Convention Committee have been working diligently to prepare the village for the four-day event. The Southwestern consists of active volunteer fire companies, departments and associations, as well as exempt volunteer firemen's associations, from the counties of Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua and Erie.
The convention has many events throughout the four days, and the Volunteer Westfield Fire Department is encouraging the community to take part in the experience. The convention kicks off on Wednesday, July 31 with a dinner at the fire hall and ends on Saturday, Aug. 3 with the grand parade at 3 p.m.
Many events are open to the public during the convention, such as the business meeting on Thursday, memorial service for fallen firefighters on Friday, the awards given by the Association Saturday evening and EMS and firematic competitions and the "comic" parade on Friday.
To accommodate the hundreds of firefighters, dugouts throughout the village will be used. These dugouts are residential garages rented by the incoming departments for the weekend. The departments have food and beverages for themselves and other departments, and participants go "hopping" to each other's dugouts. This interaction with other firemen is a means to exchange stories and build camaraderie amongst each other.
The Westfield department hopes the community will take part in the festivities and be a part of the total experience. The Association has made many changes over the last few years to make the convention more of a community-friendly event.