With plenty of sunshine and temperatures in the low 80s, Saturday afternoon was one of the first full-fledged summer Saturdays this year. A perfect day, then, for the Homer Fire Department Field Days.
Behind the fire house, kids in shorts and T-shirts went scrambling from one nausea-inducing machine to the next, while parents and grandparents tried to find a spot in the shade.
Joanne Thomas of Richfield found a cool spot under the awning of the mini-basketball booth. Three throws for five bucks: She handed $5 to Elizah Horn, 16, who was running the booth. Horn got a ball from a bucket and handed it to Thomas’s grandson, Alexander Thomas, 5, of Brooktondale.
“Now take your …” Alexander shot the ball, and missed. “Time,” said Joanne.
He took a little more time to aim the next two shots, but still missed, then was off in the direction of the whirling machines.
“It’s a difficult game,” Horn said.
Barbara Riley walked over from the nearby Elizabeth Brewster House, an assisted living community on South Main Street, to look around. One thing was certain: There was no way she was getting on any of the rides.
“Oh, no, I’m never getting on one of those rides,” she said. “I’d be too darn dizzy.”
This year’s carnival, which ran Thursday night through Saturday night, raised money to buy equipment for the fire department, and featured food, live bands, carnival booths, rides and a Saturday night parade.
Another firefighters’ organization also raised money in a separate booth. This charity, Believe 31, was for area firefighters with cancer. Derek Sinesi of DeRuyter manned the booth Saturday. On sale were shirts, hats and patches. Merchandise is one way the charity brings in money, Sinesi said; donations are another.
Sinesi said the group gave cash awards last year to three firefighters — two from Onondaga County and one from Cortland County — who have cancer.
The link between firefighting and cancer is not yet proven, he said, but the evidence appears to be growing. And for him, the connection is pretty obvious.
“Today’s houses are woodchips and glue,” he said. “Everything else inside them is plastic.”
When those houses burn, firefighters are exposed to all the chemicals, making firefighting a lot more risky than it was when he starting doing it, he said.
“We’re trying to get the word out,” Sinesi said.