Rows of cars slow on local roads, awaiting entrance to this year’s York-Leicester Field Day. Although the long lines may seem like a drawback to some visitors, crowds are actually a very good sign, since the funding for the field day treats, activities and fireworks display is dependent upon the generous donations of the guests. Smiling volunteers stand at the entrances to lots overflowing with cars. Everywhere, families are toting chairs, blankets, snacks and other picnic-type goods.
At the entrance to the school grounds, volunteers sit behind tables beneath spreading, old trees. Others stand nearby, handing out beautifully designed programs with eye-catching, patriotic colors standing out from the page. On the table are the donation jars for adults and lollypops for the children. Donations not only keep this event coming back every year, but they determine its size and extent, also. Knowing that things like community, fun, patriotism and family are important enough to one’s neighbors that they have kept this event coming back for 65 years is remarkable.
People attend this event from all over, from neighboring towns like Geneseo and Mt. Morris to locations much more distant, such as Greece and Fairport. The draw the of this day is not simply its focus on family, nor its generosity in giving treats to the children and creating a beautiful firework display set to patriotic music, all free of charge. Very often friends, family and neighbors, some perhaps not seen in a long while, are reunited and a sense of unity through diversity is an undercurrent that encourages this flow of visitors from near and far.
The more tangible offerings are always a hit, as well. Free popcorn, flavored ices and ice cream sandwiches delight young and old alike. Other food and drinks are offered for sale, and bounce houses and face painting stands have long lines of children, eagerly awaiting a turn. Races and tug-of-war activities likewise are in full swing, with winners announced via loud speaker.
As the sun begins to set, people settle into their seats. Everyone stands for the Anthem and Taps. They stand for the prayer and for our soldiers. Then, the air is still in quiet anticipation of the magnificent display everyone has come to see.
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