Southwestern Firefighters Convention Opens

August 3, 2011 Updated Aug 3, 2011 at 11:37 PM EDT

By Lou Chilelli

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August 3, 2011 Updated Aug 3, 2011 at 11:37 PM EDT

BUFFALO, N.Y. --(WKBW) For more than 100 years, firefighters from our region have gotten together once a year to have a good time and to share the valuable lessons that their experience has taught them. The Lake Shore Fire Company in Hamburg is hosting this year's Southwestern Volunteer Firefighters Convention. more than 3,000 firefighters and their families will spend the next few days taking part in training seminars and just having fun.
The Southwestern Association covers Erie, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany counties. Many of those visiting for the convention, camp out near the host site. But, these so called dugouts are not the only place conventioneers will rest their heads. "The whole Town of Hamburg is going to benefit by us having the convention here. The local businesses, different vendors, the hotels as well. We have people staying all the way in the area here. Some people are at the dugouts, locally staying. But, most of them are going to spend money here throughout the community," reported Michael Gates, the group's president.
One of the highlights of the convention is the grand parade, which takes place Saturday afternoon.