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Tuesday, February 09, 2016
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File photo - Gathering around a large pyre, summer residents in Mayfield participate in last summer’s Ring of Fire on the Great Sacandaga Lake. Other fires from across the bay can be seen in the distance.


The legend of the Ring of Fire reignited Labor Day weekend

Wednesday, September 01, 2010 - Updated: 2:39 PM


This story originally appeared in the Sept. 1, 2010

Sacandaga Express. This years Ring of Fire takes place Sunday, Sept. 2,

2012 at dusk, around the Great Sacandaga Lake.

By Randy Gardinier

For the Express

From Lake Champlain to Otter Lake, Lake Ozonia to the Great Sacandaga Lake, individuals all have their favorite ways to end the summer. Since 1988, residents and vacationers alike have participated in a “Circle” or “Ring of Fire” on the Great Sacandaga Lake.  

The idea to start a Ring of Fire on the Great Sacandaga came from Mayfield resident Agnes Gilbert. Her first experience with the Ring of Fire was while visiting her son on Keuka Lake in Western New York. Agnes Gilbert had gone with her son for a boat ride on Labor Day eve around dusk. As fires popped up around them, she was taken by the gestures people showed toward each other. This prompted the idea to bring the tradition home with her to the Adirondacks.  

During the summer of 1988, Agnes daughter and a friend made flyers educating the community on the Ring of Fire which they posted in public places around the lake. After the first year, the idea took off on its own and to this day continues to grow. Some local sawmills even provide scrap slabwood free to those who need it for their fires.

Agnes Gilbert passed away in May of this year at the age of 92 after living an active life in her community. She is survived by her two daughters Sylvia G. Parker of Mayfield and Susan M. Hall of Hockessin, Delaware, and her son, Lucian A. Gilbert of Ontario, New York.

Though traveling to Northville by boat for the Fourth of July fireworks is spectacular, this has a more modest beauty all its own. It can be quite a moving experience when people around the lake light up the shores. Hundreds of Fires large and small as well as flares provide a glow from shore to shore on Labor Day eve as friends say farewell to each other and the summer. As neighbors close up their camps and part ways to their winter homes, they let others know they will be looking forward to seeing them again in the spring.

In a verse from a song, written of the event on the shores of the Great Sacandaga, I composed the following words. The Circle of Fire, a sign of fall, a circle of fire fare thee well to all. This Circle of Fire that comes from caring hearts, from people who love this land people from all parts.

Keeping in mind fire safety, the Ring of Fire is a great way wherever you may be to end the Summer with a feeling of togetherness and warmth of a fire on a September evening.

The Ring of Fire is scheduled to kick off at dusk the Sunday evening Sept. 5. Fireworks can be seen at Sport Island Pub in Northville following.


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