June 30, 2009
July 4th celebrations to brighten skies this weekend
Events are planned from Cortland to Cincinnatus; Little York fireworks Friday
A new celebration in downtown Cortland will join several annual events taking place in the county to celebrate Independence Day this weekend.
City of Cortland Independence Day will be celebrated from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Courthouse Park, offering food and events ranging from face painting to a reading of the Declaration of Independence.
Cortland Community Action, Resource, Education & Service, a nonprofit organization formed a couple of months ago, and Cornerstone Church of Cortland are organizing the event.
Barry Kerner is the director of Cortland CARES and the pastor of Cornerstone Church of Cortland at 236 south Main St.
He formed Cortland CARES to host secular events such as this celebration, in addition to numerous events that the church hosts.
Kerner said he created the event to promote patriotism and to allow people to get together without traveling or spending a lot of money. He said many people in Cortland do not have vehicles, and there will not be buses running to take them to events in other parts of the county this weekend.
“This is something that a couple thousand people can just walk to if they need to,” Kerner said.
The celebration will include face painting, temporary water tattoos and helium balloons for children.
The Marine Corps will open the day with a flag ceremony at 10 a.m.
The community will say the Pledge of Allegiance, volunteers will be asked to read parts of the Declaration of Independence, and Kira Hyde, a 10th-grade student at Homer High School, will sing the National Anthem, Kerner said.
Patriotic music will be played throughout the day, and door prizes from local businesses and organizations will be offered. A magician will perform, and a local Army recruiter will showcase a Humvee, the military’s modern all-purpose vehicle.
Food choices will include hot dogs, pizza, cotton candy and snow cones.
Economy Paving is donating a flatbed trailer to be used as a stage.
Kerner said he plans to expand the celebration and make it an all day event with a parade on Main Street next year.
Celebrating Independence Day for three days is a longtime tradition in Cincinnatus. The annual Cincinnatus Field Days will be held Thursday to Saturday.
For almost 50 years, the Cincinnatus Fire Department has been organizing the community event, which draws more than 700 cars for the 30-minute fireworks show that ends the celebration, Dean Catlin, a member of the Cincinnatus Fire Department and an organizer of the event, said recently.
The event will include several new features, such as a horse show tournament at 4 p.m. Friday and four additional rides on the Field Days’ grounds next to David’s Dairy Treats in Cincinnatus.
The fire department has also built a new 24-by-60-foot pavilion that will house some bathrooms and provide a space for people to eat, Catlin said.
The Field Days will feature a pie auction at 5 p.m. Friday. The funds of the auction go toward running the Field Days.
On Friday, people of all ages can participate in the Master and Miss Cincinnatus contest, a talent show and beauty contest that are free to enter. For children, the Field Days will feature a new Guitar Hero competition Saturday, and people can showcase their talents at playing rock songs on the video game.
The event will also include snowmobile drag races, garden tractor pulls and pony pulls, which will test how much weight the machines or the animals can move.
On Friday, the annual fireworks show will take place at Little York Lake in Dwyer Memorial Park in Little York at 10 p.m. If it rains, the fireworks show will be July 5.
The event is being sponsored by Cortland County, the county Chamber of Commerce and several local businesses.
Before the fireworks, the Old Timers Band will perform at 6:30 p.m. and Dixieland Jazz Band will perform at 8 p.m. WXHC will play patriotic music that people can listen to in their cars.
On Saturday, Homer will host the fourteenth annual public reading of the United States Declaration of Independence on the Village Green.
At 10 a.m., Bud Jermy and his son Chip Jermy will present background on the events leading up to the adoption of the declaration in 1776. The Jermys used to serve together as village historians.
Those who wish are invited to read a short portion of the declaration. After the reading, the surrounding church and other bells will be rung, and cannons will be fired.
There is no charge for the event. People who wish to sit should bring their own lawn chairs. If it rains, the reading will be held in the sanctuary of Homer Congregational Church, located next to the Village Green.
Virgil will host a fireworks show at Hope Lake Park on Sunday at dusk.
Greek Peak is donating fireworks food for a picnic, which will start at 6 p.m. Admission to the park is free after 4 p.m. Sunday.
The annual Ithaca Community Fireworks Show will be held at dusk Thursday at Ithaca College.
Elaine Hughes contributed to this article.
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