The Wilmington Fire Department (WFD) is gearing up for a series of events this fall to celebrate the department's 100th anniversary.
WFD 100th Anniversary Committee Chair Michael Hare said activities will start the first weekend in October with open houses.
"Starting October 2nd and 3rd we'll open the fire houses to the community," said Hare, whose father served with the department between 1952 to 1972.
"In partnership with our Fire Prevention Unit and retirees, we'll welcome our neighbors into each fire station throughout the city," said Hare, "serving refreshments, have an opportunity for kids to get their coloring books, their Wilmington Fire Department helmets, as well as tour the fire stations, sit on a fire truck, and meet the firefighters that protect their neighborhoods."
A highlight of the festivities will be a parade on Saturday, October 23rd.
"Nobody does pomp and circumstance better than the fire service," said Hare. "It will include so far more than twelve pipe bands, the National Guard 287th marching band, Citizens Hose band, multiple high school bands, Mummers bands, various police agencies, as well as a commitment so far from over eighteen fire departments, that will be here not only with apparatus, but with marching units."
Wilmington Fire Department Chief John Looney said the parade will be one for the books.
"The committee with all intentions and all due diligence is planning a parade that will be in memories forever," said Looney. "It's going to top all other parades."
There will also be a fire muster and flea market, and an in-water fire and rescue boat display.
A Memorial Service will be held on Sunday, October 24th at St. Elizabeth's Church.
"This is a chance not only to remember all of the line of duty deaths in the history of the department, but additionally recognize all those who ever served in this job and who have passed away."
Chief Looney said fire stations will be decorated with a special banner for the centennial, and a new emblems will be placed on department apparatus.
A banquet will be held on November 30th.
December 1, 1921, was the first day paid members of the Wilmington Bureau of Fire were on shift.