(June 13, 2014) The public is invited to join representatives from Maryland’s 358 firefighting units for meet-and-greets, demonstrations, stands and exhibits at the 122nd Annual Maryland State Fireman’s Association Convention and Conference June 14-20.
The convention is free to the public and takes place at the Roland E. Powell Convention Center on 40th Street. There will be a variety of local vendors selling merchandise as well as informational and awards presentations all surrounding firefighting in this state.
Around 14,000 come to town for the event each year, said Ron Siarnicki, convention chair.
Several events highlight the annual MSFA gathering and one of the most popular is the parade up Baltimore Avenue. Around 400 units will take part in the procession on Wednesday, June 18, traveling from 16th to 30th Street starting at 1 p.m.
Other big events include a family night at Jolly Roger Amusement Park, Basket and Bag Bingo, a prayer breakfast and the annual MSFA Golf Tournament.
MSFA Night at Jolly Roger’s runs Monday, June 16 from 7-11 p.m. at the amusement park on 30th Street. There will be music, food and unlimited rides, rounds of miniature gold and trips around the go cart track during the event.
Visit www.convention.msfa.org and click “Buy your convention tickets online here” to reserve tickets in advance and pick them up at the convention center’s will call.
Basket and Bag Bingo also takes place Monday. Doors open at convention center room 215 at 5:30 p.m. for the games starting at 6:30 p.m. Admission costs $22 and includes six face cards for 20 Games as well as a door prize ticket.
The prayer breakfast takes place Wednesday, June 18 at 7:30 a.m. in the convention center’s Sunset Room with Chaplain Roger Kondrop of the Salisbury Fire Department speaking. Admission costs $12 and includes an all-you-can-eat country breakfast with scrambled eggs, pancakes, bacon, fresh fruit and more.
The 22nd Annual MFSA Golf Tournament takes place next Friday, June 20, at Eagles Landing Golf Course. Tee time is 7 a.m. and most spots are filled.
To celebrate the arrival of hundreds of firefighters in town, the Ocean City FOOLS — Fraternal Order of Leatherheads Society International for advanced firefighter training — will return to the 45th Street Taphouse Tuesday, June 17 from 5 p.m. until closing for their fifth annual block party to benefit the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. A $10 entry fee includes a souvenir mug, food and drink specials throughout the night, live music and a chance to participate in a 50/50 raffle.
All presentations, educational classes and awards ceremonies during the MSFA conference are open to the public, Siarnicki said.
“It’s a public safety fair, so there’s going to be a lot of discussion about emergency response apparatuses,” he said.
Awards will be presented on Tuesday, June 17, starting at 8:30 a.m. in the Bayfront Ballroom.
There will be presentations throughout the event, such as Wednesday’s “Fifty Years of Service to the Citizens of Maryland” speech, which will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the modern-day Maryland State Fire Commission and State Fire Marshal’s Office. Other talks include “Problems and Concerns Facing the Current and Future U.S. Fire Service” on Monday and “Modern Fire Challenges” on Tuesday.
“We’re excited to be in Ocean City,” Siarnicki said. “We hope that the public comes by the convention center and takes part.”
Convention headquarters will again be the Quality Inn Boardwalk on 17th Street, providing an easy drive or ride on Ocean City’s public bus to the MSFA conference. There will be a free shuttle service from the bus stops and parking lot to the front door to make maneuvering easier and safer during construction at the convention center.
Because rooms fill quickly for the MSFA Convention and Conference, the Harrison Hotel Group is also offering specials for MSFA members that stay at their locations, including the Plim Plaza Hotel on Second Street, Holiday Inn Suites on 17th Street and Quality Inn Oceanfront on 54th Street.
For more information, visit www.convention.msfa.org. Click ‘Download the Complete Mailout’ for a full schedule of MSFA Convention and Conference events taking place June 14-20 at the Roland E. Powell Convention Center on 40th Street.