By Meghan McCaffrey Contributing Writer
---- — Friends of the Parks hosted a birthday party for Fairy Spring Park to celebrate its 75th year of being open to the public on Sunday. More than 100 people attended, some dressed in fairy wings or fairy crowns, others just happy to celebrate their favorite park.
So, why have a birthday party for a park?
Because “Fairy Spring is a really special place that has a real following,” said Liz Callahan, board member of Friends of the Parks.
Cooperstown Mayor Jeff Katz said other parks in Cooperstown, such as Three Mile Park, are very crowded with people in the summer, but Fairy Spring, “tends to be a little haven.”
Loyal Fairy Spring fans seemed very happy to be celebrating 75 years of summertime memories.
“This is my favorite park,” said Susie Knight, the event organizer and board member of Friends of the Parks. “You come here for the community; you know you’ll meet someone cool. It’s definitely like a family.”
The event included music by the Cooperstown Central School Student and Alumni Jazz Band. At 7 p.m., Knight gave a speech to honor the park.
“We have wonderful swimming, great picnicking, and most of all, wonderful friends,” Knight said.
Katz then spoke to revere Hilda Wilcox, who fought to keep the park open in 1969. He presented her with a print version of May-Britt Joyce’s painting “Summer at Fairy Spring Park” that they were auctioning.
Wilcox said in an interview that she had read in the newspaper in 1969 that they planned to close the park and was “very horrified.” She then staged a cleanup of the park and got her picture in a local paper, she said. Wilcox and other Fairy Spring enthusiasts hosted a square dance to raise money.
“It’s amazing how one individual can organize a little group to fight for what they want,” Wilcox said.
They brought the money to the town administrator who said he thought they could find the money somewhere to keep the park open, she said.
“We have loved this place ever since,” Wilcox said. “This place is summer for most of us.”
“We must never let this place go. It’s the lake unimproved and that’s why we love it,” Wilcox continued.
Wilcox then read an original poem for everyone that she wrote about Fairy Spring. In her poem she said, “What do we love about Fairy Spring? The mystery of its depth and the joy of being part of it.”
Richard Duncan took a panoramic photograph of everyone in attendance and then, as is birthday party tradition, everyone ate cake.
There will be one more event in the series to celebrate the park’s 75th birthday. On Wednesday, Aug. 21, there will be a children’s story time reading of “Fairy Boats” by Cooperstown kindergarten teacher Lisa Lippitt at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.
For more information, visit the Friends of the Parks’ Facebook Page or call Knight at 547-8333.