YOUNGSTOWN – Due to the loss of its amusement rides, the Youngstown Volunteer Fire Company will not hold its popular Field Days on Labor Day weekend, but instead is offering something new.
The “End of Summer Celebration” will feature a beer tent with music, food and games of chance Friday and Saturday evening in Veterans Park.
Festivities open with a happy hour from 6 to 7 p.m. Friday and music by Amp’d Up at 8, featuring Teasers and 7th Heaven. It will be open to those age 18 and older, although attendees must be 21 to drink alcohol.
The event continues with happy hour from 6 to 7 p.m. Saturday. The band 90 West takes the stage at 8, and a fireworks display is slated for dusk.
Both evenings also will feature games of chance and tear tickets.
“We are hoping to start a new tradition in Youngstown,” said Greg Robertson Sr., a fire company trustee. “But nobody is more upset about losing the Field Days than the fire company members themselves. ”
The announcement in January that Hammerl Amusements, which provided the rides the past few years for the Field Days, would return to Clarence for its fire company’s field days this year was a blow to the Youngstown group. Both fire companies traditionally held their field days over Labor Day weekend. Youngstown moved its field days to late July in 2009 and 2010, to lukewarm results.
Field Days has been a Youngstown staple since the early 1900s, when the event began as a picnic for firefighters and was held at Fort Niagara.
When it was a three-day fundraiser in recent years, it could pull in around $20,000 for the fire company. But the company has struggled to stage the event in its entirety over the past several years. It was canceled in 2008 because of a lack of amusement rides and returned in late July in 2009 and 2010, then returned to Labor Day in 2011, marking the company’s 100th anniversary. That tradition continued in 2012 and last year.
And without the Field Days, there won’t be a Labor Day parade, because the parade costs between $5,000 and $6,000 to stage, Robertson explained. Money must be spent on prizes and on bands, he said.