CHARLESTON, W.Va. — It’s day three of the five-day Sternwheel Regatta in Charleston.

Country music is set to fill the air Friday night on the next to last evening of the musical lineup during the Regatta. Country singer Emily Ann Roberts will take the stage at 6:30 with Eddie Montgomery of the well-known country music duo Montgomery Gentry to follow at 8 p.m.

Another longstanding Regatta event, the Fire Parade was supposed to take place at 5 p.m. Friday evening but has now been postponed to Sunday at 2:30 due to a thunderstorm watch that was issued for the area.

David Hodges

The Charleston Fire Department works with the city to coordinate the event every year, and Captain of the fire department, David Hodges said it’s something they really look forward to.

Hodges said it’s a large-scale event with not only the Charleston Fire Department’s involvement but departments from across the surrounding counties in Central and Southern West Virginia that all bring their fire trucks to take part in the parade.

Since the Regatta returned three years ago, he said they have seen fire trucks from as far as Ohio, as well as those from Boone, Lincoln, Roane, Cabell, Fayette, Raleigh among several other counties.

Hodges said the event really puts all of the fire services across the region on display for the community to see.

“It’s a huge event for the fire service and the firefighters, it gives them bragging rights and it shows off their company pride,” he said. “They’re able to get their fire trucks, prepare them, and showcase them, and it brings everyone together for the networking.”

He said they anticipate around 50 or more various fire trucks to be represented and judged during the parade.

However, Hodges said it’s not only fire services that get represented during the parade but other first responder services as well. He said there is also an ambulance category with ambulance services from across the region being represented and their vehicles judged also.

In addition, Hodges said there is also an antique fire truck category. He said these kinds of fire trucks are sometimes not even owned by a fire department but individuals in the community.

Hodges said the Fire Parade has been taking place during the Regatta since its initial start in the 1970s.

He said as a Boone County native, he has many good memories of watching his father be a part of the parade.

“I remember as a child being a part of it, my father was a longtime fire chief, and that was always a big event for everyone in our community to go to Charleston and watch the Fire Parade and to take part in it,” He said.

Judging on the vehicles in each category will take place during the parade line up where awards will be presented prior to when the parade steps off.

Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin serves at the Grand Marshal of the parade and rides in one of the buckets of a fire truck.

Hodges said it’s an event that has simply been an integral part of the Regatta itself.

“The fire truck parade to the Regatta is just like a sternwheel to the Regatta, it has been there since the start and it’s just a longstanding part of the Regatta,” Hodges said.

The parade lines up along the Kanawha Boulevard. It makes its way down Ohio Avenue, on to Virginia Street,  and ends on Leon Sullivan Way.

It’s now set for Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

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