At the bottom of every promotional poster for this past weekend’s Hartwick Field Days was a slogan, “Hartwick, A Great Place to Live.” The size of the font wasn’t big, but the event itself seemed to draw a pretty good sized crowd.
Robert O’Brien, chief of the Hartwick Volunteer Fire Department, said activities were well attended and supported by local residents.
“Everything went as planned this year without issues,” said a tired but pleased O’Brien Sunday night after nearly 40 dedicated Hartwick firefighters and friends put on a celebration of three days with nearly perfect weather.
The weather looked daunting on Friday afternoon, but only about two hours after the grounds opened at 4 p.m., skies began clearing. It was only the second year that events began Friday evening, and it appears the trend will continue next year.
Almost new to the Field Days this year were hot air balloon rides as part of the kickoff. An attempt was made in 2012, but gusty winds forced a cancellation. Conditions were much kinder this year, as many took advantage of tethered rides of more than 50 feet off the ground.
David Markowitz and partner Beatrice brought their balloon to Hartwick from nearby Maryland as the duo fly the balloon as a hobby, not a business, to help raise money for local organizations. Beatrice is a paramedic, and both she and David put several Hartwick firefighters through a hands-on schooling of putting the hot air balloon together.
Hartwick Field Days is the HVFD’s largest fundraiser of the year, according to O’Brien. While the income and expense report is still being prepared from the long weekend, O’Brien said the income side of the ledger is looking extremely good for the department.
“We use the money to offset the burden on the taxpayers. We’re able to purchase equipment for the jobs we do as firefighters,” the chief said.