Skaneateles Fire Department celebrates summer's end with a bang

Labor Day weekend was a busy couple of days for firefighters across the region -- especially those who took part in Skaneateles' activities.

The annual Skaneateles Volunteer Fire Department Inc. Field Days were held Sept. 5 and 6, both beautiful sun-soaked days, and the community was packed with hundreds of eager fire personnel, families and volunteers.

Between fresh char-grilled chicken barbecue dinners and rides, onlookers were treated to a plethora of activities for firefighters -- Sink the Boat, Pushball, a car show, tractor pull and this year's new event, the Bucket Brigade.

During Saturday's 2 1/2-inch Pushball tournament and Sunday's 1 1/2-inch tourney, Skaneateles Firefighter Joe Loperfido acted as referee. Before the games could begin, the hoses were positioned and turned on while Loperfido used a pressure gauge to make sure both sides were playing with the same amount of power, said Fire Chief Bob Frank.

While teams were assembled from Marcellus Fire Department, Amber Fire Department, Amber Ambulance, Waterloo Fire Department, West Niles Fire Department and several others, Skaneateles did not have a team.

According to Frank, the host does not play. Instead, local firefighters were scheduled for emergency crews in case of a fire call and were busy working food stands, the beer counter and keeping everything on schedule.

Throughout the weekend activities, firefighter's manned the grill pits that were stationed on the east side of the Allyn Ice Arena. Ed Landers, a 48-year veteran with the Coon Hill Fire Department, a branch of Skaneateles Fire Department, busily tended the chicken halves.

Bill Atkinson, a 32-year volunteer with the department, said they were stocked with 1,000 halves for the two-day event and selling them for $5 a piece or $8 for a full dinner.

As more chicken was added to the barbecue, the annual Labor Day parade got under way at 4 p.m. at the Skaneateles Community Center and was led by runners competing in the Four-Mile Road Race during SPLASH's Labor Day Race Weekend.

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