QUEEN ANNE — A full panoply of fire trucks, hot rods and cute babies came out May 15 for a glorious celebration of the Queen Anne-Hillsboro Volunteer Fire Company’s 75th anniversary. It was a perfect May day for Saturday’s parade, which spanned two counties. This convocation was a competition and there were three judges busily scribbling notes.
There was a phalanx of horses with red-shirted cowboys and gals astride.
“We are the Rough Riders. We do drill team presentations. We like to do parades and share our horses. We put them in trailers and hit the road,” said Irma Marshall from Greensboro.
Fire company President Phil Starkey was talking outside of fire engine window, “I am excited because it is our 75th anniversary. It is continuous operation and 100% volunteer. Over the years we have accumulated more members. We started back in 1945 with 30 members. We have about 80 members now. Out of those 80, we have 35 that are actually responding. Everyone else is medical or administrative that assist us with fundraisers.”
Chief Engineer David Chaires, driving Engine 85, said, “I was sitting at a fire hydrant supplying 1,000 of five inch hose. I have got 50 of the 75 years, working on 51. I started in 1970. My grandfather was one of the charter members. My father, then me, my son and now my grandchildren. So there is five generations of us through the same fire house.”
Originally, a large celebration was planned for the fire company’s 75th anniversary. Due to the pandemic, only the parade went on.
“With COVID canceling us, we felt we needed to do something. Our community needed to do something, and we got the support,” he said.
There were horses clopping and flags waving as the marching band from Smyrna wore crisp white shirts and kept time with the bass drum. There was even a woman, Rachel Walters, who watched the parade while paddling her kayak down the Tuckahoe River.
Perhaps the funnest entry in the parade was a fire engine that spewed a blaze of fire in to the air. It also had a very busy bubble machine. And Delegate Johnny Mautz, R-37B-Talbot, was seen throwing Butterfingers out of the cab of a fire truck.
All in all it was a perfect parade day. Sunny, not too hot and lots of community coming out of their COVID bunkers to see the sights. The impartial judges could not honor the winners in person because of the pandemic. So they elected the winners on Facebook. Ridgely VFD took top honors as best overall appearance in the parade.
The winners in each category are noted below.
Best Appearing Antique Fire Apparatus
2) Frederika Volunteer Fire Company
1) Greensboro Volunteer Fire Company
1) Citizens Hose Company Band
Best Appearing Brush Truck
2) Oxford Brush Truck #23
1) Kent County Millington #2
Best appearing Engine Tanker
3) Ridgely 492 Ambulance 60
Best Appearing 1,000 GPM and above
1) VFC #1 Chesapeake City Engine 2
Best Appearing non Fire Co.
Knott’s Towing with five tow trucks
Best Appearing Fire Company Overall
Tom McCall is a staff writer who covers Queen Anne’s and Caroline counties. He love documenting people with his camera. He can be reached at 410-829-0239.