The Maryland State Fireman’s Convention has been a signature event for over 70 years in Ocean City. For several decades, it was the largest held all summer and ushered in the true beginning of the summer season.
Prior to 1970, meetings and exhibits took place at the former high school/elementary school (today’s City Hall) at 3rd Street and Baltimore Avenue. Nearby hotels of that era such as the Hamilton, the Breakers, the Monticello, and others were full of visiting firemen and their families for the entire week. Following the opening of the convention center in 1970, the scene shifted to 40th Street where the parking lot was filled with displays of modern fire apparatus.
The highlight of the week was the parade up Baltimore Avenue featuring a seemingly endless stream of fire engines, bands, floats and marching units; some years the parade would last almost three hours.
For the first time since World War II, there will be no firemen’s parade in Ocean City as the coronavirus has forced a one-year hiatus on it. Current plans are for the Maryland State Firemen’s Convention to return in 2021 from June 19-24.
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Photo from an early parade courtesy of the OC Life Saving Station Museum