January 23, 2022

Homer opens up for a holiday

After the long pandemic, neighbors come out and get reacquainted

Todd R. McAdam/managing editor

Christopher Simser, normally a Cortland County assistant district attorney, becomes the target of a ball lobbing 6-year-old Addy Rice of Cortland. When five tosses wasn’t enough, Addy dunked Simser, anyhow, in a fundraiser for Special Olympics at Holiday in Homer

Never mind the drizzle. Never mind the chill. Never mind the past. Homer crawled out from underneath a pandemic on Sunday and decided to reacquaint themselves to the neighbors.

Holiday in Homer drew dozens of artisans, vendors and entertainers as hundreds of people strolled across the village green, spending more time with people they likely haven’t seen much in the past 16 months as the artists. They even had to wait a day, because of a rain delay Saturday.

In one corner , Christopher Simser taunted children — gently. The Cortland County assistant district attorney was perched on a bench. The bench was connected to a lever, and was balanced over a large tub of water.

One pitch. Two pitches. Three. Heck, try another. One more. Finally, more than one child just reached up and pushed the target.

Click. Splash. A round of praise for 5-year-old Harper Bucci of Homer, then 8-year-old Miles Storrier of Homer. And again for 6-year-old Addy Rice of Cortland

“The water’s about as warm as the air,” Simser said after a bit of sputtering. The air was 65 degrees. But the effort, perhaps, could warm his heart. The proceeds went to benefit Special Olympics.

Todd R. McAdam/managing editor

Hundreds of people filled the village green.

In the middle of the green, 8-year-old Oliver Brehm tentatively reached out and held the cream-colored ball python offered by Morgan Theise of Dan the Snake Man.

Behind him, a crew of the younger set crouched around a shelled creature munching on a strawberry — probably a tortoise, but they were a bit too young for the biology lecture.

Around them, adults mingled, lingered and chatted on the grass and walkways of the green: neighbors, catching up after a long year of COVID-inspired separation, or perhaps just a few days. The chatter was much the same, either way.

On one end of the green, Keith Fagerheim, a Homer school board member, said hello to a neighbor from beneath a tent where he and his son, Matthew, were selling Matthew’s art.

On the other end of the green, Steve Williams of Highkey Science surrounded himself with kids, using a straw and a bit of plastic as a lure. It was a quick-and-easy science project, the business of Highkey Science.

As much as he talked with the kids, he addressed the adults: “Unconventional measurements,” he told the parents more than the kids. The little ones don’t need to worry about inches, ounces, millimeters and mass to appreciate scientific discovery. “I’m going to give them all a wrist of tape.”

And a love for discovery is what science is all about. “Don’t ever say they’re wrong,” Williams said. “Say ‘we’ll find out.’”

And on Sunday, Homer found out it still has neighbors.