Will Harrington peered down Main Street. He stood on a patch of grass between the sidewalk and the wide street, anxious to put his digital camera to work.
The red fire trucks had all gone by, with firefighters from Charlotteville, Worcester, Summit, Jefferson, Richmondville and Carlisle offering up the deep rumblings of their horns when the crowd needed a jolt. The girls on roller skates had sailed on by, tossing lollipops to sticky kids sitting on curbs. There were Boy Scouts and banners, local candidates running for office and old men in vintage cars.
“Alright, here she comes,” said Harrington, with a quick glance back to his wife.
He raised the camera to one eye and snapped away. His wife coaxed a little boy to drop his bag of Milky Ways, Tootsie Rolls and Dum Dums and wave. A woman in black slacks and a crisp white button-down giggled at them all, as she tried to stay in step with her squad.
The Harringtons’ daughter walks in the annual Richmondville Days parade every year. She’s a paramedic with Albany Medical Center and volunteers with the Richmondville Volunteer Emergency Squad, as well.
And as much as 63-year-old Will Harrington loves to play the part of proud father at the event each year, he admits the best part of showing up is getting to see all his old friends. It was a refrain echoed by lots of folks at Saturday’s parade, which serves as one of the main hits (just behind fireworks) of the annual weekend celebration.
“Over the years, you see these kids in the parade grow up to drive trucks in the parade,” he said. “It’s something that brings people together who you don’t get to see all the time. Just like the county fair, you know? You don’t see a lot of people, and then you come here and everybody turns up.”
Above the sounds of rumbling engines and muffled country music, Vicki Harrington agreed.
“I love seeing everybody,” she said. “That’s what’s nice, because we were raised here in Cobleskill, which is just down the road, and it’s so nice to get to see friends you went to school with once a year.”
Richmondville Days kicked off Friday night with a chicken barbecue at the firehouse. In addition to the parade, Saturday was chock full of pies, bake sales, rummage sales, fried dough, pink cotton candy strung up by the bag and a silent auction. Kids had a bounce house, sticky wall, ball games, face painting and glitter tattoos at their disposal. The church had a spaghetti dinner, the school a cookout, and fireworks capped off the overcast day.
Today, the rural Schoharie County town will host a pancake breakfast at its firehouse, followed by an ecumenical church service and a pork roast and ice cream social at the Bunn Mill, as well as live music.
Eric Hillenbrand showed up Saturday in a beaded cowboy hat for the yard sales. The 28-year-old, who grew up in Richmondville but now lives in Schenectady with his girlfriend, wouldn’t miss a chance to catch up with old friends back home.
“I like running into people I haven’t seen in years,” he said, leaning against a tree with his husky on a leash by his side. “If you want to see what there is to see, expect to walk about five miles. You walk, you wander, there’s vendors all over. There’s a glass artisan down the road who I hope is here today, and a small guy doing jewelry and oils and other stuff that I haven’t found yet.”
Hillenbrand’s mom, Kim, is a fan of the sausage sandwiches at the firehouse each year and catching up with people she doesn’t get a chance to see otherwise.
“Oh, this is big for Richmondville,” she said. “I mean, there’s nothing else out here. This is big.”