In conjunction with this Saturday's 9th annual Franklin Folk Festival, Franklin Fire and Rescue Department will hold a celebration marking their 100th anniversary.
The Folk Festival, which is a celebration of Appalachian heritage, shows what life was like at the turn of the century. The Fire Department Celebration will be located on West Main Street in front of the downtown Macon Bank, and will begin at 8:30 a.m. with a fire engine parade with about 25 trucks ranging from new ladder trucks to old antique fire engines, all of which are vehicles that have been used throughout the 100-year history of the fire department.
Franklin Fire & Rescue was formed in 1911 after the town of Franklin completed its first water system. According to Justin Setser, who has headed up the celebration event, Joe Ashear was Franklin's first Fire Chief and was paid $1 a month for being Chief.
“The fire department’s first piece of equipment was a hand push cart with hose reel,” said Setser. “This hose cart is owned today by the town of Highlands Fire Department. The town's first fire truck was a Model T truck that they called Ol' Betsy and was purchased in 1919. The first fire station was in a building behind Main Street, which would today be in the parking lot behind Peoples.”
According to Setser, originally the department was comprised of seven men who were not paid at all for their service but instead worked strictly as volunteers. Today, FFR has nine fire trucks in house along with 27 volunteer members and three paid full time staff.
Motor Company Grill will be offering a special Fire Department Menu with a portion of the proceeds going to the Fire Department. Free commemorative buttons will be handed out and commemorative t-shirts and glasses will be available for sale.
One of the highlights of the FFR celebration will be the Bucket Brigade Challenge, which is open to any team of eight who would like to enter. “In the challenge the eight person team will be transferring water from one source to another source until water comes out of a pre-installed line where the time will stop,” explained Setser. “The winning team will receive a trophy and a prize to each team member. The cost is $50 to enter per team and teams line up until 11 a.m. on Saturday.
The State Fire Marshal Wayne Goodwin will be the guest speaker for FFR's 100 year celebration. The historical museum will also have antique fire equipment on display. “We will have a large tent set up with live entertainment, cake while it lasts and a timeline of the department’s history,” said Setser. “Kids and family members can have their picture taken with a fire truck and firemen from noon until 1.