Jim Galusha of Thurman fields bids for various donated items up for sale in an auction conducted July 26 at Smoke Eaters’ Jamboree in Warrensburg. Judy Durkin (background) takes notes on the bidding action.
Rousing rock music, lively auction bidding, cold beer, an extravagant fireworks display and lots to do for family members was the recipe for success at the 51st edition of Smoke Eaters’ Jamboree last weekend.
A robust crowd enjoyed the action at the Jamboree, a carnival-like event that’s been considered a highlight of summer for generations of Adirondackers. The event, the primary annual fundraiser for the Warrensburg Volunteer Fire Co., was held July 26 and July 27 — and a larger crowd turned out for both nights, compared to 2012.
Besides the Jamboree’s hot band the AudioStars, headlining the event this year was the auction of new and used goods and services on Friday evening — with Jim Galusha of Thurman serving as auctioneer, as he has for more than three decades.
Whether it was a stay at a local Bed & Breakfast, a dinner for two at a local restaurant or a vintage 45 record player, bidding action was substantial, Fire Co. President Kevin Geraghty said.
“People were generous — A lot of the businesses’ certificates for services went for face value,” he said, noting that 125 businesses and dozens of people donated toward the auction. “The support each year is unbelievable!”
Hiram’s bicycle sparks interest
One of the notable items up for auction was the bright yellow vintage Atlas one-speed bicycle used daily by Hiram Kennedy for over a generation to deliver the daily newspaper in Warrensburg.
Complete with a foot-deep wire basket attached to the handlebars, bulbous tires, flared fenders and lots of rust, this artifact of recent Warrensburg history commanded attention.
“This should have gone to the Warrensburg Museum,” firefighter Rob Nelson said as he brushed dust off its wide saddle.
Tony Trapasso took a look at the bicycle that may have carried well over half a million newspapers during its life.
“Hiram’s the only person that could have ever pumped that bike up Horicon Hill full of newspapers — through snow — without standing up,” Trapasso said.
Barron Dingman, manager for Warrensburg Car Care body shop, bought the venerable bicycle. He remarked to firefighters he sought to restore it and hang it up on the shop’s wall.
Other notable items up for bid were a windsurfing board and trailer, an exhaust pipe for a Ford F350 pickup, a television that had a hole punched into its case, a lightweight walker, a bait bucket, and a small chipper-shedder that might choke on twigs. One true treasure up for bid was undoubtedly a box of recipes — perhaps half a century’s worth — from Hilda Perry of Summit St.
As Galusha started the bidding, he gazed over the crowd.
“Don’t believe a word of what we tell you about this stuff,” he warned the bidders. “You know the drill, if you’re the high bid, you take it home and love it — as is!”
Bidders were generous as they vied for cat litter, bidding six bags up to $25, or for a well-used 25cc weed whacker, going for $125.
The public wasn’t so generous with an decades-old electric organ console. Firefighter Matthew Oliver played a quick melody on the organ to try to entice bidders, but was unsuccessful, as it went for the opening bid of $5.
One of the highest bids was for a half-dozen pallets of architectural stone donated by Champlain Stone, bid up to nearly $800.
Saturday’s edition of the Jamboree featured buoyant music by The AudioStars. The popular party band inspired dozens to crowd in front of the bandstand and dance for hours.
A fireworks show provided visual entertainment for no less than 25 minutes. The town’s bicentennial this year was recognized in a ground display of fireworks — spelling “Happy 200th” set ablaze right before the grand finale of the aerial show.
The crowd’s enthusiasm for the band prompted them to extend the festivities well past traditional closing time. The AudioStars played an extra set and two encores after the fireworks, Geraghty said.
“People really enjoyed themselves,” he said, noting that the midway and rides had more participants than in 2012.
Contributing toward the fireworks display were a dozen enterprises: Alexander Funeral Home, Braley & Noxon Hardware, Camp Echo Lake, Glens Falls National Bank, Jacobs & Toney Meat Store, McDonald’s of Warrensburg, Oscar’s Smoke House, Tops supermarket, Warrensburg Car Care, the local chamber of commerce, and Warren Ford & Mercury, in addition to the town of Warrensburg.
“The fire company thanks the area businesses, who are loyal in their support,” Geraghty said.