On Saturday, Aug. 4, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friendship Veterans Fire Engine Association will mark its 233rd Anniversary with its annual Friendship Firehouse Festival in the 100 block of South Alfred Street. That block, between King and Prince streets, during that period, will be closed to traffic for this popular family event.
Held at the historic Friendship Firehouse, erected in 1855 after the original burned, the festival celebrates the role firefighters have played throughout western history. Highlighting this year's event will be a live performance at noon by the local band "Carbon Copy."
In addition to craft exhibits, food vendors and free birthday cake, attendees can tour the firehouse museum with its collection of antique equipment and apparatus. There will also be a display of modern fire, rescue and EMS equipment along South Alfred Street courtesy of the Alexandria Fire Department.
Originally built as a firehouse, the historic building was remodeled in 1877. It was restored to its original condition in 1992. The Engine Room on the first floor showcases historic fire-fighting equipment, including hand-drawn fire engines, leather water buckets, axes, and sections of an early rubber hose.
The second floor houses exhibits telling the history of the Friendship Fire Company, Alexandria's first fire company. Founded in 1774 and known as "George Washington's Fire Company," it is now a philanthropic organization focusing on fire and life safety and providing scholarships to those that choose to make those endeavors their career. The association also remains active in community events throughout the year.