A SPECTACULAR torchlight procession through the Warrnambool CBD on Saturday was a highlight for organisers of the State Urban Firefighting Championships, held in the city over the weekend.
More than 2000 people have descended on Warrnambool for the championships, which puts firefighters’ discipline, athleticism and firefighting skills to the test at Friendly Societies’ Park.
Eighty-six brigades from across the state, and two from Western Australia, are competing in the annual championships, which wrap up today.
Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria president Hans van Hamond said it was a fantastic opportunity for the Country Fire Authority brigades to put themselves on show.
“The championships are always a wonderful weekend and we are very happy to be here in Warrnambool to help the local brigade celebrate their 150th anniversary,” Mr van Hamond told The Standard yesterday.
“The brigades are put through a wide range of contests over the weekend, everything from hose handling, through to discipline in their full uniform.
“We have seen some tight competition, and it’s still wide open, anyone could take it out tomorrow.
Mr van Hamond said the highlight of the championship weekend was always the torchlight procession, in which members march through the streets under the light of a kerosene flame.
“It’s always a spectacular event,” he said.
“The first procession was held 150 years ago in Swanson Street in Melbourne and it’s become tradition since.
“It’s a brilliant way for the CFA to put themselves on show to the community.”
Mr van Hamond praised the local organising committee, which organised everything from accommodation for competitors and their support crew, through to catering and trophies.
Competition will continue today from 8.15am at Friendly Societies’ Park.