Friendship Firehouse Festival This Saturday, 9-2

ANTIQUE FIRE EQUIPMENT, CRAFT BOOTHS, “PLEASE TOUCH” DISCOVERY CORNER

ALEXANDRIA, VA–The Friendship Veterans Fire Engine Association (FVFEA) holds its annual Firehouse Festival on Saturday, August 4 from 9 am until 2 pm on South Alfred Street between King and Prince Streets. The popular family event features antique fire apparatus, craft booths, and displays by local civic associations. In addition to the day’s outdoor events, festival participants will enjoy visiting the historic Friendship Firehouse Museum, located at 107 South Alfred Street.

George Washington fire engine. Unusually interesting to visitors to Alexandria, Va., is this fire engine purchased by George Washington in 1775 at Philadelphia and regarded at the time as the most efficient type of engine. The engine is still in good condition and reposes in the headquarters of the Friendship Fire Company in the old Virginia city where the Father of Our Country was an active member of the fire fighters in his day. G. William Humphries, custodian of the fire house, is shown in the photograph, 3/6/31 (Courtesy of The Library of Congress)

The Friendship Fire Company, established in 1774, was the first fire company in Alexandria.  Friendship members were volunteers motivated by their concern for the property and well-being of the community. Today the Friendship Firehouse, built in 1855, is a museum open to the public.  Buckets, hose, axes, a “please touch” discovery corner, and Friendship’s mid-19th century suction engine – elaborately decorated with the company’s clasped-hands insignia – are on view.

Visitors also see the company’s ornate hose reel carriage that was made in Alexandria, and learn how the organization played a larger role in the community.  In addition to fighting fires, Friendship members participated in parades and performed ceremonial duties for civic events. In the firehouse Meeting Room, ceremonial artifacts are exhibited such as helmets, capes and other regalia.

The FVFEA is now a philanthropic organization focusing on fire-fighting history and fire safety.  It remains active in community events, including the annual Festival, and supports historic preservation of the building and its collection. Food and beverages are available. Children will receive free fire helmets and are treated to a supervised visit inside the City’s fire trucks. For more information, visit alexandriava.gov or call 703.746.3891.