(Images in the C-S-E Seen section)
FORT PLAIN — Tuesday’s 4th on the 3rd event drew a large crowd early in the day, excited to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the always-expanding annual festival. New features this year included birds of prey and reptile exhibits — kept separate, of course — and an old-time photo booth, sponsored by Empower Federal Credit Union.
The Fort Plain Community Activity Council throws the annual party, which cost approximately $15,000 to put on this year, including $7,000 for the fireworks display by Alonzo, sponsored by the Big Bang Club. FPCAC Director James Katovitch — who began his day at about 5 a.m. and would wrap up nearly 24 hours later — remained on the go, moving from place to place on a golf cart.
“It’s fun. I enjoy it. It keeps me young,” commented Katovitch of the event, which the Fort Plain Community Activity Council starts planning March 1. Katovitch added of the festival, “because it was in the middle of the week, it was hard to plan,” as about three hours is automatically shaved off the day.
On of Katovitch’s biggest tasks Tuesday was overseeing the 150 volunteers performing various duties, from cooking, to cleaning, to coordinating. “It’s a whole smattering of the community,” said Katovitch of the volunteers, continuing, “a lot of new people came forward to help us with the event this year.”
“I’d like to thank anybody that came to enjoy, because when you put on a festival, you need to have people. The volunteers have made my job that much easier. Every little bit that they do is less that I have to worry about,” said Katovitch.
He also noted that 4th on the 3rd is able to go off without a hitch thanks in no small part to “tremendous support from the village of Fort Plain,” including the Fort Plain Police Department, Fort Plain Fire Department and Village Board of Trustees. He explained, “without their help, we couldn’t do a lot of this stuff.”
This year’s event was held in honor of Dawn Hanifin, the sole founder of 4th on the 3rd. Hanifin, who created the event while working for the village of Fort Plain, was on hand and was touched by the recognition, which included a service in her honor at 8 p.m., featuring a speech about Hanifin’s devotion to the village by Minden Supervisor Tom Quackenbush.
Along with vendors selling just about everything imaginable, various local organizations were on hand, including Sons of AMVETS Post 2000 (raising money to purchase phone cards to send to servicemen overseas), Historic Fort Plain, the Fort Plain Library, the Class of 2015, the Fort Plain-Canajoharie Drama Club, local churches, and more. The birds of prey exhibit, featuring numerous types of owls, a hawk, and various other beautiful creatures was sponsored by Red Maple Farm, of Middleburgh, NY. The reptiles exhibit, featuring an american alligator, scorpions, corn snakes (including two albino ones), a python, and a variety of lizards (such as bearded dragons) and tortoises, was put on by Rhonda’s Reptiles. Both organizations are animal rescue and rehabilitation centers.
At 9:45 p.m., the park was full, many folks having staked out spots for the fireworks early in the day. The fireworks display, one of the best annual displays in Western Montgomery County (and followed by a huge bonfire), served as a fitting end to an explosive day.