When it was first started, the 4th on the 3rd Celebration in Fort Plain was a chicken barbecue and some fireworks. Twenty-seven years later, the event, which takes place annually in Wiles Park, now has 42 booths, 150 volunteers and, according to Jim Katovitch, general chairman of the event, expects to entertain 5,000 people.
“It’s a mini-city for one day,” Katovitch said as the sun beat down and vehicles started to roll into the parking lot Thursday afternoon.
David Bouck has been a volunteer at the event since it started. He has lived in Fort Plain with his wife, Shirley, for 52 years. When he was still a volunteer Fort Plain firefighter, he would make sure the fireworks would go off without issue.
“It’s a nice community event,” said Shirley Bouck, who has also been volunteering at the event for 10 years. “It brings everybody out.”
David Bouck agreed, adding that he enjoyed the camaraderie at the event.
The 4th on the 3rd started its main events at 2 p.m. Vendors had their tents set up. People started to stream in as the hours went by, but the event was halted about 6 p.m. as a storm moved through the area.
It was Christine Lyon’s first time at the event. She lives in Cobleskill and was there with her friend, Tamara Samuels, who lives in Sloansville. Lyon’s 4 year-old son, Tyler, was enjoying his time hopping around in the bouncy castles that were set up.
“He absolutely loves that kind of stuff right now,” Lyon said as she talked with Tamara and waited for Tyler.
Lou Gilson and his wife, Cathy, have had a stand at the event for five years. Their business, Gilson’s Native American Crafts, deals with beads and necklaces and other crafts that are made from animal bone, teeth, claws, shells and antlers. They are both Native American and drove from Delaware County for the event.
Lou Gilson said the event is a good place to share knowledge about their craft and history.
“It gives an opportunity to discuss history, culture and political issues, if they’re interested,” Lou Gilson explained as prospective customers stopped by to ask about the necklaces and what they were made of.
Laura and Rob Mason had a stand at the event for the first time. They own the Mason Jar, which provides freshly squeezed drinks like lemonade.
“It’s been fun,” Laura said. “You get to talk to people all day and hang out.”
For some, the event was also a way to spread valuable messages to the community. There was a stand for the Berkshire Farm Center & Services For Youth, a foster care program with offices in Schoharie and Gloversville.
Pat Armitstead, treasurer of the Central Mohawk Valley Lions Club, was at the event in support of Literacy New York. She was giving away books the Lions Club collected over the year. It was Armitstead’s second year trying to promote reading.
“If you stay here long enough, you get a lot of exposure,” she explained as people looked through the books arranged on desks around her.
Bands continued to play their music in the background. It got cooler during the day as more families arrived with their kids, eager to try the food and maybe even have their pictures taken.
Events later in the day, however, were postponed due to weather.