For the first time in its 50-plus years of existence, the Maine State Federation of Firefighters Annual Convention will be held in Waldo County and local fire departments need to raise $100,000 for the event.

Liberty Fire Chief and Convention Chairman Bill Gillespie said the 52nd Maine State Federation of Firefighters Annual Convention, which is scheduled for Sept. 11-13, 2015, will mark the first time the statewide convention will be held in Waldo County.

In addition, Gillespie said the 2015 convention is also a milestone because it's the first time the event will be hosted by an all-volunteer agency. Typically, Gillespie said, the event is hosted by departments will full-time personnel.

“This is a really big event for any fire department,” Gillespie said.

Gillespie said the Waldo County Firefighters Association decided to try to bring the event to the area and after soliciting for the annual convention, it was decided the event would be held locally.

The three-day event begins with the judging of antique equipment and entertainment on Friday evening before a large-scale parade is held in Belfast on Saturday morning beginning at 10 a.m. Gillespie said the parade will feature a variety of fire apparatus, color guards and other participants.

Following the parade, in the afternoon a 9/11 memorial ceremony will be held at the Belfast Boathouse. Later in the evening a banquet is held at Point Lookout in Northport where awards will be given for the best antique fire apparatus and the best color guard, for example, Gillespie said.

The event concludes early Sunday afternoon, he said.

In order to host such a large event, Gillespie said the Waldo County Firefighters Association is trying to raise $100,000. To date, he said the group is about one quarter of the way to their fundraising goal and will hold a number of events over the coming year to raise more money.

The first event, a spaghetti dinner and auction, is scheduled for Saturday, May 10, beginning at 5 p.m. at the Mason's Lodge in Belfast across from City Park. Dinner is $8 and and will be followed by an auction featuring items that range from a ski packages at  Sugarloaf to gift certificates for local eateries and apparel from businesses, Gillespie said. A sheet of 25 tickets for the auction can be purchased for $5.

Gillespie said event organizers are also selling advertising in a yearbook that will be made available during the 2015 convention. The yearbook will also offer two pages to each town in Waldo County to write a narrative about their fire departments, he said.

More information about the convention and the fundraising efforts can be found on the Waldo County Firefighters Association website waldocountyfirefightersassociation.com. Information about the convention is also available on the Maine State Federation of Firefighters Facebook page at facebook.com/52MSFFFC.

Gillespie said in addition to the fundraising efforts, the association can also accept cash donations. Anyone with questions about the annual convention or if they would like to make a donation can contact Gillespie at 589-3663 or at 542-3794.