FLEISCHMANNS — The Village of Fleischmanns celebrated the Presidents’ Day holiday in hot fashion with a bonfire in the village park on the evening of Saturday, Feb. 18.
Village officials asked local visual artist Miguel Martinez-Riddle to build a bonfire as a means of celebrating the President’s Day holiday period. Miguel was selected because of his expertise in this arena, having served as the resident ceremonial bonfire artist at the nearby magical and historic event venue Spillian for five years. It was during his work at Spillian that Miguel developed a recognizable style for bonfire preparation.
In the past, various attempts to create a celebratory bonfire in the village park were thwarted by wind, ice and drought conditions. Fortunately, the weather cooperated, and this year’s ceremony went off smoothly, with the fire set up on the baseball field section of the Wagner Avenue park.
Wadler Brothers Inc. home improvement store in Fleischmanns continued its tradition of donating pallets and scrap wood to fuel the fire.
“The bonfire was a success thanks to Wadler Brothers Inc. We are grateful for their generosity,” Miguel remarked.
When things got going full force, spectators enjoyed the view from stadium seats in the ball field, and from as far away as Highmount and the Dry Brook Valley, with flames soaring 30 feet into the air, framed by the beautiful Catskill Forest Preserve.
While the bonfire was set up to reflect Miguel vision, he had ample assistance to create the proper atmosphere — and to ensure safety. He expressed appreciation to the volunteers from the Fleischmanns Fire Department, particularly Officer Billy Haines who donated many hours of his in helping with the construction of the bonfire. In a job that came full circle, Billy and other FFD members later manned hoses and worked to contain any wandering embers, safely extinguishing the coals at the end.
Village of Fleischmanns Trustee Yesmin Sarabia organized volunteers and helped with the event, along with Trustees Samuel Gil and Stewart Cohen. Mayor Winifred Zubin was among those in attendance, and greeted the onlookers with hot chocolate and warm cheer. S’mores were provided for the kids.
Looking ahead, one village official noted that, it won’t be long before the “hot” action at the village park will again be provided in the form of Vintage Baseball competition. The Fleischmanns-based Mountain Athletic Club will begin its 2023 “old time’ baseball season on May 20 when the club hosts the Providence Grays.