This is what summer is about: cotton candy, carnival rides and kids cooling off in sprinklers.
Throw in a variety of vendors, some friendly competition and live entertainment and you’ve got Mechanicville’s 38th annual Family Day.
The event offered a full day of summer fun on Sunday including the 7:30 a.m. Firecracker Run.
In the heat of the afternoon, Jackie’s Country Twisters of Saratoga Springs kicked up their heels on the broiling asphalt to the sound of country tunes.
Genevieve Mulvihill of Mechanicville, who has been at every Family Day since its inception, enjoyed the line-dancing show from her electric wheelchair.
“I love to come every year, and just talked myself out of the hospital so that I could come,” the 69-year-old grinned.
The people, the music and the entertainment bring her back year after year, she said.
Mechanicville’s a nice town, she added. “Very friendly and close.”
On the midway, the most popular ride was the swing that twirls in a circle, probably because they provided a cool breeze on the hot afternoon.
Four-year-old Jayden Welch of Glenville wasn’t waiting in line to ride the swing though. He had his eye on the Bear Affair ride, which offered the younger set a chance to spin inside a compartment shaped like a cartoon bear.
Jayden did his best to look tall as he pressed his back against the measuring stick tacked to the metal fence that encircled the ride. Much to his delight, he was just tall enough to board without an adult. He and his 6-year-old cousin, Vicky Billington, hopped inside a red bear, strapped in and spun happily.
After a quick cool-off in one of the water sprayers stationed around the sunny grounds, the kids were off to a booth where they shot water guns in a race to put out a faux fire.
“Pick a prize,” the woman running the booth invited, after children's turns were up.
Jayden’s mother, Veronica, hoisted him to her shoulders so he could get a clear view of his choices. From the zoo of rainbow-colored stuffed animals, he chose a purple shark, which he promptly used to attack the pink pig his cousin had claimed as her prize.
Teenagers cruised the long line of booths in groups. One bunch formed a circle and played a clapping game, chanting, slapping hands and collapsing into gales of laughter whenever they made a mistake.
Fourteen-year-old Morgan Siegle of Mechanicville showed off her carnival hairstyle, an elaborate up-do held together with curlicues of curling ribbon and twisted pipe cleaners in a variety of colors.
“It’s fairy hair,” she explained, pointing to the booth where she had it done.
A small crowd of patrons of all ages meandered through the grounds, eating carnival favorites like candy apples and browsing booths that offered everything from bandanas to bird houses.
People look forward to Family Day every year, said Pat Topetro, the event’s chairman.
“It brings the community together. People in the area on this day, they’ll have big picnics, their families come in and they have big celebrations. It’s a lot of hard work; we’re sweating, but it’s fun. It’s well worth it,” he said.