Parade, community celebration honors Floral Park Fire Department’s 125th anniversary

Parade, community celebration honors Floral Park Fire Department’s 125th anniversary
The Floral Park Fire Department is celebrating 125 years. (Photo courtesy of Google Maps)

By Kevin Stankiewicz

On the day the Floral Park Fire Department was founded, Thomas Edison recently built the country’s first movie studio, Grover Cleveland was president and Katharine Lee Bates had not yet written “America the Beautiful.”

That was a long time ago — 125 years ago, in fact — and much has changed.

One thing that has endured through the years? The all-volunteer Floral Park Fire Department.

Its 125th anniversary is being celebrated by the community Saturday, with a parade set to begin at 5 p.m. followed at 6 p.m. by food, inflatables and music outside Village Hall. The food and music will last until 11 p.m., while the inflatables will shut down at 10 p.m.

Mayor Dominick Longobardi also issued a proclamation that declared Saturday “Floral Park Fire Department Day.”

“To have 125 years of volunteer service is truly a remarkable testimony to the incorporated village of Floral Park and its residents,” said village Clerk Susan Walsh, who has been a Floral Park resident for more than 50 years.

The Fire Department, which began modestly with 15 men, 300 feet of hose and and two axes, now consists of roughly 182 members. In 2017 it responded to more than 1,400 emergency calls.

The parade will begin on the north side of Lowell Avenue and proceed west toward Tyson Avenue. The final part of the route, which Walsh said purposefully includes both ends of town, has marchers on Verbena Avenue before turning right onto Floral Boulevard before concluding outside Village Hall.

Michael Longobardi, who has been with the Floral Park Fire Department for about 28 years and recently served as its chief, said he expects more than 100 of the department’s members to march Saturday.

Ten other fire departments will march alongside them, including members of the New York City Fire Department.

“It’s just another example of the great brotherhood and family that we are,” he said.

The parade is expected to last about 45 minutes to an hour.

A parade is a good way to celebrate the Fire Department, Michael Longobardi said, because “it is a way to interact with the community.”

“We get to march through town and it brings people out,” he said. “There’s not a lot of events that give us the opportunity. It’s not a fundraiser. We just wanted a celebration.”

Walsh said she is grateful for the members of the Fire Department, who are “putting themselves at risk” every time they work a shift.

“To me,” she said, “they’re Floral Park’s finest.”

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