Area residents gather Saturday at Trail Station Park in Gloversville to celebrate the 13th annual Railfest. After a brief opening ceremony, the group Dreamcatchers performed in the gazebo. (Dusten Rader/Express Editor)
By DUSTEN RADER
GLOVERSVILLE — The sound of a train horn echoed through the city Saturday morning as area residents celebrated the opening ceremony of the 13th annual Railfest.
Gray clouds began to make way for blue skies as Railfest Organization Committee members gathered with officials aboard a Fonda, Johnstown, Gloversville Rail Road Company Car to kick-off the event.
The yearly tradition, which brings hundreds of visitors to Trail Station Park in downtown Gloversville and raises funds for a local organization, almost didn’t happen this year. But, thanks to the coordination of government officials, organizers, volunteers and attendees the legacy of this community building opportunity was able to continue.
Railfest Organization Committee member Robin Wentworth spoke during opening ceremonies, thanking the community for cooperation. She also recognized one of Railfest’s founders, Deb Palmieri, who has been involved since its inception.
Sen. Jim Tedisco presented a New York Senate citation to Wentworth and the other committee members before joking that he isn’t superstitious and said this year will be just as successful as others even though its the 13th.
“I think the 13th year is going to be the greatest you’ve had here,” Tedisco said. “An event like this doesn’t last for 13 years and be as successful as it is unless it is a team effort. I want to congratulate everybody for getting the community involved in this event — it’s so important to creating a better quality of life.”
In addition to being a fun event for the community, the proceeds raised are donated to a local organization. This year the Parkhurst Field Foundation was selected as the beneficiary. In recognition, Mayor Dayton King presented Michael Dante (Ralph Vitti) with a key to the city and a proclamation. King proclaimed Aug. 5 as Ralph Vitti Day, recognizing him for accomplishments ranging from an acting career to being one of the few remaining Gloversville Glover baseball players. Vitti will be inducted into the Fulton County Baseball and Sports Hall of Fame Sunday during the Vintage Baseball Game and Field of Dreams Fundraiser.
This year’s celebration offered attendees more than ever before. For adults, the event featured a juried Car Cruise-In, several live bands and a DJ, a performance by the Silver Wolf Tribe Belly Dancers, more than 40 craft and food vendors and raffles. For children, six themed bounce houses were set up in the parking lot, air-brush face painting and a fire truck spraying water. The event culminated in the evening with fireworks.
“This event is truly astounding,” Gloversville Downtown Development Specialist Jennifer Jennings said. “In my role I work with businesses, community groups and individuals to bring attention and interest to the city, and it’s events like Railfest that really have a lasting impact on our community.”