KATONAH, N.Y. As the oldest of Bedfords three fire departments, the Katonah Fire Department has one of the oldest seasonal traditions in town: its annual parade and carnival in June.
Along with Katonahs 80-member volunteer company and the Katonah-Bedford Hills Volunteer Ambulance Corps, fire departments from all over Westchester County and Connecticut will be marching in Wednesdays parade at 7 p.m., which kicks off the weeks carnival, the departments biggest fundraiser of the year.
The parade has been around for as long as the department: 138 years this year, said Katonah Fire Chief Jim McHugh. The carnival that follows got its start in the 1940s or '50s.
Former Katonah Fire Chief Greg Repp said his parents had their first date at the Katonah Fire Departments carnival.
Its kind of like a reunion spot where people come back to see whos in town, McHugh said. It is an occasion for a lot of the old firefighters to return home and see old friends, he said.
Sadly, one of these old-timers passed away just before this years event. Paul Bud Noe, a 65-year member of the department and a mainstay of the carnival, died Friday at the age of 86. The entire department attended services for him on Sunday.
A retired electrician, Noe took care of wiring for all of the carnival tents. Without him there would be no food tent, said Kate Hallex, one of the departments three female firefighters.
He was a huge part of our carnival, said McHugh, describing Noe as a sort of behind-the-scenes guy. Noe was active in the Fire Department until a couple of days before he died, said one firefighter.
The carnival, which takes place in the firehouses backyard on Bedford Road, will have a Ferris wheel, a superslide, flying swings, a merry-go-round, and tents for midway games and food.
Hallex, 23, said working at the carnival takes her back to childhood. Its always good to see the kids running toward the rides to see what weve got, she said.
This year the department has something extra to celebrate: in a May 22 referendum, voters in the Katonah Fire District approved the departments plan for renovations, which it first proposed in March. These include painting the interior of the building, resurfacing the parking lot and expanding the annex building for the departments training facility.
The carnival opens at 7 p.m. Wednesday and closes at 10 p.m. It opens at 6 p.m. and closes at 10 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, and opens at 1 p.m. and closes at 10 p.m. on Saturday.
The full parade route can be found here . Local roads, including Bedford Road and Valley Road, will be closed at 4 p.m. Wednesday for the parade.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.