Thousands flock to Florence for 123rd Annual U.P. Firefighters Tournament

Bobbie Samme’

A weekend filled with fun, family and activities galore. That would best describe the 123rd Annual UP Firefighters Tournament, celebrated in conjunction with the Florence Fire Department Centennial.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday were filled with something for everyone, including parades, dancing, live bands, games, prizes, firefighting competitions, food and drink.

According to Joe Witynski, Florence fire chief, the weekend was a huge success for everyone.

“We had 13 different teams racing for competition, with a total of 36 fire departments signed up,” said Witynski. “Over 700 firefighters were on the roster, and we had a crowd estimated around 800 people on Friday night.”

Wendy Gehlhoff, director of economic development for Florence County, was excited to see such a great turnout.

“We hope that this brings a lot of business and money to our community, and to the Florence Fire Department as well,” she said. “This is so good for everyone.”

Jeff Swenski, a volunteer firefighter from West Iron County, enjoyed the comraderie the most.

For the full story, see this week’s issue of The Florence Mining News.