The founding fathers of the Village of Cherry Valley would have been pretty proud to have seen the big party going on Saturday across the village, as the Cherry Valley Fire Department celebrated its bicentennial. The village knows how to celebrate, having just come off last year’s bicentennial of becoming incorporated.
Cherry Valley was also the host community for the annual Otsego County Firemen’s Convention, and it had something truly significant to boast of, as the Cherry Valley Fire Department is the 10th oldest continuously operating department in the United States. The City of Hudson Fire Department is the only company ahead of it in New York, eighth in the nation. Boston, Mass. is the oldest, organized in 1678. A banquet for the convention began the weekend celebration on Friday evening at the Cherry Valley Community Center, where more than 130 attended.
Saturday had a full day of activities at various sites, beginning with a pancake breakfast, and throughout the day there were crafters, vendors and a “bouncy house” and climbing wall for youngsters at Alden Field. As an additional fundraiser for the fire department, commemorative glass mugs were sold throughout the day. Although weather was pretty damp at times, conditions improved late in the day.
An estimated 3,000 people lined the streets of Cherry Valley at 6 p.m. to take in more than 30 entries from fire departments across Otsego County and the region, school bands, antique cars, tractors and plenty of floats created by local clubs and organizations, 65 units in all, as the parade lasted nearly 90 minutes. A particularly impressive part of the parade was provided by the Cobleskill Fire Department, as marchers in the parade walked beneath a giant American flag, suspended from their big ladder truck. Fireworks at dusk and a dance with music by The Redeemers rounded out the day’s festivities.