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The Times
  • Fourth on the Third tradition continues in Fort Plain

  • After participating in a fishing derby at the Mohawk River on Tuesday, Maecee Lathers and Isabella Bermas were looking forward to the rest of the day’s events revolving around the Fourth on the Third celebration schedule.

    “The rock-climbing wall!” said Lathers. “And the fireworks.”

    “Yeah, me too,” said Bermas. “I also want to see the reptiles.”

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  • After participating in a fishing derby at the Mohawk River on Tuesday, Maecee Lathers and Isabella Bermas were looking forward to the rest of the day’s events revolving around the Fourth on the Third celebration schedule.
    “The rock-climbing wall!” said Lathers. “And the fireworks.”
    “Yeah, me too,” said Bermas. “I also want to see the reptiles.”
    The reptile demonstration by Rhonda Leavitt was one of the new additions to this year’s event. Jim Katovitch, general chairman of the Fourth on the Third event, also said new additions included the Birds of Prey demonstration by the New York Wildlife Rescue Center and the old time photo booth.
    Observing the nation’s independence the day before it is actually observed on the Fourth of July has become somewhat of a tradition in the village.
    “We have it on the day before because everyone usually has plans on the Fourth,” said Katovitch.
    Katovitch said founding member Dawn Hanifin started the event with a chicken barbecue and fireworks, and it slowly grew over the years into a bigger event. In 2000, a Fort Plain Community Activities Council was formed to handle the event so the bill would no longer be paid for by the village. Katovitch said the event’s $15,000 budget is all from community donations.
    Hanifin was the honored guest for this year’s event.
    Katovitch said the purpose of the event is about pride and spirit. “It’s just pride in America, and the reason we have our freedom today,” he said. “... It’s also community spirit. We have 150 volunteers from the community who work a couple of hours for clean-up and set-up and barrel drives.”
    The day was packed with events, with the majority taking place at Wiles Park. There, concert performances were given by Jocelyn and Christian Arndt and Evan Searles; Lustre Kings; Spike and the Boys Band. There was also a horseshoe tournament and bounce houses.
    Also planned was a memorial balloon launch honoring veterans, an “enormous” fireworks display followed by a bonfire and community sing-a-long. Craft vendors were also set up at the park and food items were sold, including a Brooks chicken barbecue.
    Tammy Jones, who was selling food inside the booth at Wiles Park, said they sold 4,000 hamburgers at last year’s event. “The whole town is usually here for this,” she said.

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