The Wrightsville Beach Fire Department will turn 100 years old July 28 and those looking to celebrate the event and learn more about the importance of firefighting to the Wrightsville Beach community can do so Thursday, July 30 at Wrightsville Beach Park.
The fire department’s centennial anniversary celebration begins at 5 p.m. and runs in conjunction with the weekly Sounds of Summer concert series, which gets underway at 6:30 p.m.
The event features activities for people of all ages. Children can play in the bounce house or have their face painted. Older children and adults can check out the fire department apparatus on display, including a fire truck with its ladder raised.
The fire department will also provide educational materials on fire safety and on the department’s rich history, which has many times been called to service to defend Wrightsville Beach’s residents and property from fires that can be driven by ocean winds.
Wrightsville Beach Ocean Rescue, a division of the fire department, will also display some if its equipment, as well as educational information on water safety and rip currents. Many lifeguards are certified firefighters who return to full-time duty after the summer beach season ends.
The Wrightsville Beach Volunteer Firefighters Association will sell T-shirts and water bottles with the fire department’s logo. Mission BBQ will donate food to the event, selling BBQ plates for $5.
The Wrightsville Beach Fire Department was a volunteer unit until 1984 when it began hiring professional firefighters. The department’s first full-time chief, Everett Ward, is expected to be at the event, in addition to current chief Frank Smith, said Marcus Scott, Wrightsville Beach Volunteer Firefighters Association president.