ADAMS — The Adams Fire Department Field Days’ 104 years of tradition continue with the food, music and family fun the community has come to expect during Labor Day Weekend.
The three-day event had a running start with more than 50 people participating in the 5K walk/run Saturday morning, The festivities will continue from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. today, and Monday the parade will begin at 11 a.m., roll through downtown and end at the firehouse at 4 N. Main St. Following the parade, activities will continue until 5 p.m.
Adams Fire Chief Brian S. Berkey said the Field Days Weekend is the department’s biggest annual fundraiser. He said the money raised helps the department purchase necessary equipment, but most importantly, it’s about honoring more than a century of tradition for the community.
“We put it on for the community and hope they come out and support us and see what we can do,” Mr. Berkey said.
Mr. Berkey said Saturday festivities were paused until 4 p.m., when the park and bounce houses opened, and people enjoyed music by DJ Chipz and a chance to dance and had a chance to take out any aggression with Whack-a-Car, in which community members can take their best shot at a Jeep with a sledgehammer.
“For a buck you get three slams on that car,” Mr. Berkey said.
He said Saturday was the soft opening for the annual event, but today and Monday will be a full day of bounce houses, music, raffles and “lots of food and sausage.”
Ethel M. Cocklin said she has been going to the Field Days since she moved to Adams 15 years ago. She said the festivities and the music are fun, but what keeps her coming is the fair food.
“I just have to have that fried bread dough,” Mrs. Cocklin said.
New this year, Mr. Berkey said, a LifeNet helicopter will land behind the fire department at 1 p.m. today. He said the LifeNet crew members will be able to show people their tools and let people talk to them about how they transport people in serious condition.
At 6 p.m., the firefighters will bring out rescue tools like the Jaws of Life to perform a live auto extraction demonstration.
“It’s a chance for us to bring out some of our rescue tools and show the community what we do,” Mr. Berkey said.
He said for the children there will be the Iron Man obstacle course bounce house, a slide and a regular bounce house.
“Monday will be our biggest day with the parade,” Mr. Berkey said. He said more than 500 people are expected to line the streets of downtown Adams to watch the parade.
Robert D. Simpson, who was fire chief from 1978 to 1984, said he took on planning the parade in 1967.
“I worked the Field Days when I was a teenager. My parents were members of the fire department and auxiliary. I’ve probably been to half of the Field Days the department’s had,” Mr. Simpson said. He said the family tradition continues with his son, Robert D. Simpson, serving in the department.
Mr. Simpson said the parade has more floats joining by the hour. It will include the usual favorites, local fire departments, marching bands, community groups and politicians from the congressional, sheriff and Family Court judge races.
“One thing we’re doing differently is the kiddie parade,” Mr. Simpson said. He said the kiddie parade used to be held on Saturday, but over the last few years fewer and fewer children have participated. “This year we’re going to have the kids get dressed up and be the leaders of the parade.”
Mr. Simpson said any child who wants to dress up in costume, decorate a bike or wagon or just walk along and have fun with friends is welcome to join. He said the children will join the front of the parade at the Municipal Building at 3 S. Main St. and will walk down the block and end at the Fire Department. He said all interested participants should arrive at the Municipal Building by 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Berkey said it isn’t just the fire department that makes the weekend event possible but the whole community.
“The local businesses are really good to us,” Mr. Berkey said. Though Gram’s Diner on North Main Street is closed through the weekend, Mr. Berkey said the staff will help out by working at the food stand Monday.
Melinda A. Shear, owner of Pearl’s Pastry Shoppe, said she has been getting things ready for the extra people who will be in town, bringing in lots of coffee, English muffins and doughnuts.
“Sunday is always a busy day for us, and there will be more people in town with the festivities,” Mrs. Shear said.
She said the bakery will not be open Monday.
“We tried it one year but we didn’t get a lot of business,” Mrs. Shear said. “Everyone heads to the park for Field Days.”
Paula A. Biazzo, owner of the Nana Rose antique shop, said the Sunday traffic is drawn in by the signs and the furniture out front. She expects foot traffic in the town center as everyone goes to the Field Days. She said the extra foot traffic brings in the curious shopper to see the variety of merchandise and food the downtown businesses have to offer. On Monday, though, she said, parade guests are more interested in the floats and the fun at the park than bringing home merchandise.