Firefighters and fire trucks from Westchester, Long Island, Connecticut and New Jersey made their way along Mamaroneck Avenue toward Harbor Island yesterday for the annual Village of Mamaroneck Fire Department Firemen's Parade.
The parade—which is one of the largest in Westchester County—featured 35 fire departments, according to Village of Mamaroneck Fire Chief Dean DeLitta.
The parade is usually held several days before the July 4, and this year it marks the second day of the 63rd annual Firemen's Carnival. The Carnival formally opened at Harbor Island on Tuesday and will run until Monday.
Families lined up along the parade route in advance, enjoying the summer evening and anticipating the coming fire department displays. As usual, vendors set up stands to sell novelty toys to kids. This year, however, in celebration of the World Cup, several stands also sold vuvuzelas, the plastic horns that have become a hallmark of the international soccer tournament.
The parade began at 7 p.m., making its way past the train station about 20 minutes later. The spectacle was led by a group of police motorcycles—one from each of the towns represented at the parade—followed by several officials, including Village of Mamaroneck Mayor Norman Rosenblum, Deputy Mayor Louis Santoro, Town of Mamaroneck Supervisor Valerie O'Keeffe and the New York City Police Band.
Additionally, former fire chief Rod Brendolan, who has been a volunteer for 50 years, served as grand marshal, traveling the length of the parade on a vintage fire truck.
Eventually, the 35 fire departments themselves traversed the parade route, with Port Chester in the lead followed by Levittown and Scarsdale. The departments were divided into four divisions of about ten, each one starting at a different point near the Mamaroneck Avenue School. And in addition to the fire departments, several marching bands and Celtic pipe and drum bands were present, mixing in bagpipes with the chorus of fire horns.
The parade's tail was comprised of the Noroton Fire Department (of Connecticut) and the New York State Courts Pipe & Drum Band. Following the parade, several officials who judged each department's display tallied their votes—and at around 10:30 p.m., over 50 awards were given out, with the overall trophy going to Port Chester.
"I'm proud to do this, and I'm proud of our parade," said judge and former Mamaroneck fire Chief Ed Shaw. Shaw has been a Mamaroneck volunteer firefighter for 45 years.
"I used to run the carnival, [and] I've always been part of this parade since I joined," he added. "Everybody has a good time."
For more information on the Firemen's Parade, Fireman's Carnival and the Village of Mamaroneck Fire Department, visit the Fire Department's Web site.