Centennial Field Days kicks off in Youngstown
by Mark Dryfhout
The proud men and women of the Youngstown Volunteer Fire Co. are hosting their Field Days on Labor Day weekend, and you're invited.
From Saturday, Aug. 31, through Monday, Sept. 2, this year's Field Days fundraiser and festival will be held at Veterans Park across from the firehall in Youngstown located at 625 Third St. Admittance is free of charge and open to the public. Daily events are come-as-you-please attractions, so feel free to stop by any or all of the days for any activity of your choosing.
The YVFC Field Days is a family-friendly event, featuring attractions for children of any age, as well as certain adult-only events. Chairman of Field Days Greg Quarantello, who has held the position for six years, says, "We balance that out with kids activities in the day and adult attractions at night."
As a special new feature of this year's Field Days event, midway wristbands will be available for presale. These wristbands will allow one child a full-day pass to enjoy any of the festival's rides as many times as they would like. Presale vouchers are available for $15 at any of the following locations: Victoria's Hair Care, Melloni's Market, Rite Aid (Youngstown), Youngstown Village Diner, Stevenson's Hardware, Rite Aid (Ransomville), Greg's Pools and the Brickyard Pub & B.B.Q. Vouchers can be redeemed for a wristband at the ticket booth on any day of your choosing. Wristbands will be on sale at the event for $18.
On Saturday, Aug. 31, the centennial Field Days festival kicks off at 5 p.m. Rides, games, food and vendors will be available from 6 to 10 p.m. The band Teasers will perform from 8 p.m. to midnight. The beer tent and wine bar will be open from 5 p.m. to midnight, with happy hour from 5 to 7 p.m.
"It's safe to say the beer tent is a crowd favorite," says Quarantello.
As the Labor Day weekend reaches its midway point, the Field Days festival will only just be warming up. On Sunday, Sept. 1, the festival starts at 1 p.m. and ends at midnight. The standard arrangement of rides, games, food and vendors will be available from 1 to 10 p.m. A petting zoo and horse rides will also be offered from 1 to 8 p.m., with rides courtesy of MK Quarter Horses.
Adult libations are open for purchase from 1 p.m. until midnight, while happy hour occurs again from 5 to 7 p.m. The band 90 West, starting at 8 p.m., will perform the musical selections of the day until midnight. At 9:30 p.m., a dazzling fireworks show will liven up the night sky for any and all spectators at the Field Days festival.
Monday, Sept. 2, marks the climactic end to the Field Days; and the day's events are even more numerous and exciting than before. Rides, games, food, vendors, horse rides and adult beverages will be available from 1 to 8 p.m. The band Second Time Around will provide musical entertainment from 4 to 8 p.m.
The "always-popular" food tent will operate on Monday and cook up some signature YVFC chowder. The bulk chowder sale will begin at 9 a.m., and customers are encouraged to bring their own containers to be filled. Chowder containers are also available on location for a small fee. The regular chowder sale will begin at 11 a.m. for those who are content with just one serving at a time. Drive-through purchases are facilitated on the Third Street side of the firehall.
At noon, the annual Field Days parade will begin its journey from Fort Niagara State Park, featuring many entertaining performances, floats and special appearances. Chairman of the parade Dave Truesdale says, "The parade will be escorted by fire trucks, police, etc. For the parade this year, to name a few, we have Mackenzie Highlanders, Lost Souls, the girls from St. Mary's, two dance academies and several politicians."
Truesdale also expects the appearance of one special performance group that will add its talent to the parade for the first time this year. Other than this recent addition, Truesdale says, "The parade will be about the same size this year."
Last and certainly not least, the annual raffle will also be held on Monday at the festival grounds. People who wish to participate in the raffle can purchase a book of 12 tickets for $10. Tickets and/or donations can be presented at the raffle booth or sent to the firehall. Participants do not have to be present at the Field Days event on Monday to win the raffle, so the YVFC encourages all donators and supporters to participate regardless of attendance.
As a new addition to an old favorite, a basket raffle will be held for the first time on Monday alongside the traditional raffle. Tickets can be purchased at the raffle booth, and all donation and ticket conditions that apply to the annual raffle apply to the new basket raffle. Checks should be made payable to the YVFC Field Day Account. Drawings for both raffles will be held on Monday at 7 p.m.
All of the revenue and donations collected at the Field Days event will go toward supporting the fire company. Quarantello says, "We are volunteers, so the funds help with basic costs. Specifically, we are looking at getting a new ambulance and a new (fire) engine. It also helps with day-to-day operations."
According to the YVFC Field Day's Committee, "We depend heavily on your generous donations and support. (Field Days) is our major fundraising project during the year and our way of bringing you a great weekend activity."
Last year, the YVFC raised more than $15,000 with a great turnout from the community, according to Quarantello. "On a good night, we can have upwards of 1,500 to 2,000 people at the event. ... The number is increasing every year," says the Field Days chairman.
"For me, I get to see people I haven't seen in years," says Quarantello. "I enjoy seeing the smiling faces and people enjoying themselves."
Be sure to add your smiling face to that happy roster this Labor Day weekend and support the YVFC by going to the Field Days festivities.