OSSINING, N.Y. Members of the Ossining fire department are ready to celebrate the 199th anniversary of the department on Friday with a big parade featuring fire trucks, bands and marchers from Ossining and 35 outside fire departments.
The parade will start at 7 p.m. in front of Melrose Lumber at the corner of Croton Avenue and Pleasantville Road, and it will proceed down Croton Avenue and Main Street and over the railroad bridge, ending in the western parking lot of the Metro North train station by the Hudson River.
"I'd like to urge residents to come out. Not to slight anybody else's parade, but we have one of the nicest parades in the county," said Ossining Deputy Fire Chief Donald Farrell who is the co-chairman of the fire department's parade committee.
Last month, the Ossining fire department won first in the "Best Overall" category in the annual Hudson Valley fire departments' parade held in Lake George, N.Y., out of 126 departments.
"Ossining is a heavy competition unit that takes marching very seriously. In the last 10 years we've won (the Hudson Valley competition) six times," Farrell said.
Aside from winning the "Best Overall" category, the Ossining fire department also built the best memorial float in remembrance of September 11. The float was presented by members of the Westchester County Volunteer Firemen's Association.
The Ossining fire department has about 470 volunteer members in nine fire companies led by three fire chiefs who are elected every two years. Outside fire departments that will take part in the parade come from throughout the lower Hudson Valley area as well as Warren County and Albany County.
Farrell said Friday's parade should last a little over an hour from start to finish. The awards ceremony by the Hudson River should start at 10 p.m.
"The apparatus is judged for cleanliness, neatness, and departments are judged for marching skills, uniforms, color guard, things like that," Farrell said.
Judges come from the Westchester County Parade Judges Association.
While this year's parade will be a good size, Farrell expects next year's parade in celebration of the Ossining fire department's 200th anniversary, to be even bigger.
"We're hoping to have 75 to 100 outside departments coming to our town. It'll be a big deal," Farrell said.
The 2012 parade is scheduled for Saturday, May 5.
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