By AMY HEGGEN Contributing Writer
---- — ALTONA — Eight firefighters put 350 chicken halves on the grill at 9 a.m. Sunday; by late afternoon, served as part of a barbecue meal, most were gone.
The popular Holy Angels Church Old Home Day draws crowds from around the area every year.
“With the heat and the rain, we still had a very good turnout,” Altona Volunteer Fire Department President Jamie Labarge said.
“It’s something we do for the church every year; we also provide the fireworks at night.”
Cars lined Devil’s Den Road and filled the church parking lot Sunday for the event, as local residents came for the chicken barbecue and other food, live entertainment and family fun.
“If there are any proceeds, it goes to the church,” said the Rev. Gilbert Boisvert, Holy Angels pastor.
Live music included the Strawhatters concert band and the Backroads Band, as well as a bagpiper.
Boisvert said the parade, which featured more than 80 entries, drew the most people.
“It was a great crowd for the parade,” he said.
LOTS OF PIES
This year, a talent show offered a grand prize of $500 and a new camcorder. Altona’s Got Talent featured both children and adult categories.
Old Home Day is run by volunteers who are primarily members of the church. They spent the last week preparing for the event, and many of them also made pies for the home-baked pie raffle.
“It’s not just today, it’s all the prep work,” said volunteer Mary Ellen Tomo.
The volunteers signed up ahead of time for any activity they wanted to help with, and they changed shifts during the day.
Sheila Clark of Plattsburgh has helped out in the game booths for more than 15 years. This year, she worked at the ring toss stand.
“This is my preference because I like to see the little kids,” she said.
Other games included darts, tic-tac-toe and a dime toss. Face-painting, temporary tattoos and balloons, in addition to eight bouncy houses, were big favorites.
Stuffed animals and other toys were given out as prizes for the games.
The food stands, also run by volunteers, served carnival food such as cotton candy and ice cream, hot dogs, hamburgers and french fries. Also available were chowder, sausages, nachos and cobbler.
The volunteers get a free dinner for their efforts during the day.
“That’s one of the perks for volunteering,” Clark said.
As for intermittent rain, it didn’t bother children at the festivities.
“Then the sun comes out, and they’re fine.