It was the perfect day — sunny and warm, the end of summer ebbing away into autumn. And that good weather was good news for Cortland Chenango Rural Services, which had the start of its annual fundraiser Saturday in its Field of Dreams garden in Cincinnatus.
The daylong event behind the main center at 2704 Lower Cincinnatus Road, featured the same farmers’ market that runs every Saturday combined with musical acts — folk musician Lynn Koch of Marathon and the Old Timers’ Band from Cortland — as well as a free book table and vendors selling arts and crafts, fresh produce, fresh vegetables, jams and jellies, apple fritters, doughnuts, cider, baked goods, hot dogs and a big pot of chili.
And artisanal slime, courtesy of Cadence Gerrard, 12, and Leah Stith, 12, both of Cincinnatus, who mixed up their own batches for sale. They were also selling do-it-yourself kits — Borax, they said, is the magic ingredient. By 10 a.m. Saturday, they had sold two 4-ounce slime containers and one DIY kit.
“We just got glue, and we got colors, and we just mixed them together,” Stith said. This was their second year selling slime at the fundraiser.
Gerrard’s favorite variety was lollipop — a rainbow-colored slime she made by layering different colored slimes next to each other.
Walter and Patti Zering were enjoying the sunshine and the food. Normally, they sit on the farmer’s side of the table at the weekly farmers’ markets, but their season is over, and Saturday they were just there for the food and the entertainment.
“It’s kind of nice not having to do business and relax,” Walter said. “And it’s a beautiful day — couldn’t ask for better.”
And he couldn’t ask for better luck. He put down a few bucks early and managed to win a pecan pie, which he would get to later. In the meantime, he had apples to eat and cider to drink.
At the free book table, Lukas Allen, 5, and Hunter Ellerson, 6, made out like bandits. They quickly looted the table for all books on snakes and reptiles.
“I really like snakes, and lizards too, even though one bit me down in Florida,” Hunter said.
Joanne Brown-Garringer, executive director of Cortland Chenango Rural Services, said the annual event “was kind of our community thank you.”
Saturday was the start of a fundraising campaign that will run through the end of January, she said.
Money raised supports programs the 33-year-old center runs, including a food pantry and a thrift store. The center also puts together packages of non-perishable food that it sends to the local schools, where they are distributed every Friday to kids who sign up. Last year, about 50 kids received weekly packages.
The center also distributes free school supplies, and also serves as a hub for health services, such as a mobile mental health clinic that visits weekly, a diabetes support group, and a new Alzheimer’s support group that will start in January.
“I don’t consider it a job. I consider it serving the community,” Brown-Garringer said. “We do our part to ease people’s burdens, I guess.”