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Parade short, but sweet

July 03, 2005|by TAMELA BAKER

SMITHSBURG

tammyb@herald-mail.com

There were no floats, marching bands or beauty queens, only emergency vehicles. And it was over and done about 10 minutes after it began. But it was a start.

Smithsburg volunteer firefighters sponsored their first parade on Saturday in conjunction with their annual carnival, which began Monday and concluded Saturday night. They hope to make the parade a regular part of their carnival week, parade coordinator Chuckie Johnson said.

A small crowd of spectators, mainly children, gathered as a Maryland state trooper and a fire policeman attempted to clear the intersection of Main and Water streets. Sirens squealed as the procession of firetrucks approached, to the great delight of a toddler boy in a blue T-shirt who squealed a little himself.

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An announcer gave a description of each vehicle in the fleet - including two vintage trucks, dating from 1934 and 1964. Children darted to the curb to scoop up candy tossed by the trucks' passengers.

Firetrucks, ambulances and rescue vehicles from Funkstown, Hancock, Boonsboro, Dargan, Myersville and Wolfsville, Md., rounded out the convoy.

And then it was over.

But next year's parade should be a little longer. Johnson said he hopes to have floats and marching units, as well as fire engines.

This year, "the only thing we did was ask other fire departments" to participate, he said. In all, there were about 20 units.

It also gave the firefighters a chance to show off their machines.

"Most parades don't allow you to blow the sirens," Johnson said.

They even took a Smithsburg unit out of service so the firefighters' children could ride in it during the parade, Johnson said.

"We're just trying something new for the carnival," he said.

The carnival is the Smithsburg Community Volunteer Fire Company's biggest fundraiser. Johnson said the carnival raises about $20,000 a year.

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