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Waterford - The sky was gray and cloudy, but the grounds of the Goshen Fire Department were abuzz with activity and bright lights on Saturday evening.
At the annual Fireman's Days Fair, shiny red firetrucks, with sirens sounding and horns beeping, took fair-goers for rides around the neighborhood. Children played games and carried away prizes of stuffed animals. Neighbors, friends and families gathered to catch up or nibble cotton candy and fried dough.
Attractions, including a ring toss, dunk tank and face-painting station, drew lines at the two-day event, which featured raffles, a white elephant sale and a ham-and-bean dinner.
Goshen Fire Chief Todd Patton said this is the 86th year the fire department has held the event, which serves as both a fundraiser for the fire department and an opportunity for children to enjoy themselves.
"It gives all the kids a fun place to go," he said.
Ashley Campbell of New London said she has brought her son, Peyton Pierce, to the fair for the past four years.
"We love it," said Campbell. "We have a blast. It's probably the best fair around here."
Campbell said her son enjoys the firetrucks so much that Peyton had his second, third and fourth birthday parties at the firehouse. It's now his favorite way to spend his birthday, and she said the firefighters are always welcoming.
Campbell said they took a firetruck ride, lit up in the dark, Friday night and were looking forward to taking another ride Saturday on one of the firetrucks. The trucks offering rides were a 1938 Buffalo model, a Ford from the 1960s and a fire engine from the Oswegatchie Fire Department.
Jerry and Barbara Ford of Waterford were also enjoying the evening with their 2½-year-old grandson, who won a ball during a game of "Catch-the-Duck" in which children fish for plastic ducks out of blue wading pools. For the Fords, the fair is an event where they have not only brought their own kids and now their grandson, but where Jerry himself went when he was younger.
"It's a lot of nice games and things to do for kids," Barbara said.
The Boy Scouts Troop 29 hosted a stand with popcorn and games, and the Ladies Auxiliary of the Goshen Fire Department held a white elephant sale, raffles and booths with treats and cotton candy.
Linda Lewis, a summertime auxiliary member, said she enjoys helping out at the community event and at the auxiliary, which raises funds for the fire department and other community projects. She assisted customers at the raffle, which will benefit community scholarships.
For Lewis, her favorite part about the fair is reconnecting with the people she has gotten to know over the years who return to enjoy the festivities.
"It's just seeing old friends," she said.