City plans to roll out the red carpet to
more than 500 firefighters this week
June 20, 2007
IMLAY CITY — With hundreds of Michigan firefighters and their spouses coming to town this week, city officials are rolling out the welcome mat.
More than 500 members of the Michigan State Firemen's Association are expected to converge Thursday through Sunday, June 21-24, at the Eastern Michigan Fairgrounds, marking the organization's 132nd annual Conference and Tournament Games.
Over the four-day period, MSFA members will take part in an opening ceremony featuring keynote speaker Harry Carter, and a golf outing at Holly Meadows on Thursday; various workshops and programs on Friday; Firefighters' Games, special exhibits, tournaments and a dinner-dance on Saturday; and a memorial service and installation of officers and awards ceremony on Sunday, concluding the conference.
Saturday's outdoor highlights will include a Bucket Brigade competition, Truck Pull, Water Ball and Ladder Raise.
As the host city, Imlay City Fire Chief Kip Reaves believes the community will benefit from the MSFA visit.
"This is going to be a good thing for Imlay City," said Reaves. "The accessibility of our location should also be good for the firefighters."
He pointed out that most of the attendees will be coming from southeast and southwest Michigan, along routes that are easily accessible to Imlay City.
Chamber of Commerce Director Sally Reinhardt said the Downtown Development Authority will provide visitor's guides to attendees, listing local restaurants, golf courses, theaters and activities.
"We're encouraging everyone to get involved and help make the firefighters feel welcome in our community," said Reinhardt. "We've contacted restaurants, asking them to consider offering specials and discounts to the firefighters. A lot of them have been open to the idea."
She said MSFA members will be required to show their ID's to receive discounts at participating establishments.
Reinhardt hopes many residents will consider hosting garage sales in conjunction with the MSFA visit.
In addition, she said visitors are invited to enjoy Thursday night's free concert at Lamb Steele Park, featuring Ray Champion at the keyboards.
"This is a win-win for everyone—the businesses and the community," said Reinhardt.
Established in 1875, the Michigan State Firemen's Association is an organization dedicated to the concerns and welfare of firefighters across the state.
The MSFA annually presents awards for firefighter of the year, public service and the Max Brandt Memorial Scholarship.